Five FAQ about Employment Tests

The use of employment tests during the interview/hiring process has become common practice. The reason is that it gives the human resources department a systematic process for evaluating and comparing all candidates, for an open job position, fairly and without discrimination. Even though employment tests are used frequently, and the results reports we receive are informative we still have questions about employment tests. We would like to share our responses to five frequently asked questions (FAQ) about employment testing.

What are employment tests?

An employment test is any questionnaire or test where the purpose is to measure some aspect of a person’s knowledge, skill, or suitability for a job or task. There are two basic types of employment tests.

The first type of employment test is the aptitude, or ability, test. The aptitude test measures how well the test taker will perform certain skills required for the job. Examples are typing, 10 key entry, and data entry.

The second type of employment test is the attitude test. The attitude test measures the test taker’s attitudes or opinions about a specific subject related to the job. Examples are attendance on the job, punctuality, and willingness to cross sell.

What are employment tests designed to do?

Employment tests are designed to help the human resources department evaluate and compare each candidate fairly. It gives the human resources department a systematic way to ask each candidate the same set of questions at the same time during the interview process.

How do employment tests compare candidates fairly and without discrimination?

The employment test compares candidates fairly because it asks the same questions in the same order every time, and it is scored by the same rules each time it is administered. The employment test results help the human resources department match the job requirements with the candidate that comes closest to meeting those requirements.

Most of the hiring processes (applications, reference checks, interviews, and background checks) lack supportive material to state that they did not discriminate. The employment test is an exception. However, this is only true if the human resources department makes sure the employment test being used is validated. A part of the process of validating an employment test is devoted to ensuring that the results do not discriminate against any individual or group. Before purchasing an employment test the human resources department should ask for the validation report and where the paragraph for lack of bias is located.

When should employment tests be used?

Once you have determined that the candidate would be an asset to your company and should proceed to the next step-you should administer the employment test. The employment test will help identify job-relevant characteristics that fall in line with the job description. You should introduce the employment test at the same stage of the interview process for each candidate. For example: after the telephone interview, but before the background check.

How to introduce employment testing to your candidate?

Remember that the candidate is probably nervous so treating them with kindness and respect are a good way to ease some of their nerves. Reassure them that testing is part of the interview process and that every candidate who reaches this stage is asked to test. Tell them that the test results are just one part of the interview process and not the only factor in the hiring decision. Explain a how the test will be administered, how to take the test, and that they can ask any questions they have before the testing session begins.

Do you have a question about employment tests?

If you have questions about employment tests, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us at