Pre-Employment Tests: Boost Hiring Efficiency by 74%

See how some pre-employment assessments can cut weeks from your time to hire.

When you’re hiring, you want one thing: a productive employee who fits the role. What you don’t want is a wonderfully crafted resume that hides an unskilled job candidate, or a glib interviewee who turns into a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

If you don’t get this right, your hiring efforts will consistently run into two massive problems. First, you’ll waste time in your process down a rabbit hole of calls, interviews, screenings, and scorecards that amount to murky HR palmistry. Second, you’ll still let bad hires slip through.

Take heart. Based on two million data points, some pre-employment tests can improve hiring efficiency by 74%. They’re built on deep research and screening, and rigorously verified, delivering hard, predictive data that slices the fat of time and frustration from your process.

Use them, and you’ll cull the 90% of bad-fit candidates early, so you don’t waste valuable processing time on them. You’ll also get new hires who come pre-qualified and verified in the skills you need most, with drastically reduced turnover and Netflix-level productivity.

Let’s dig into how to test for employment in a way that gets results.

Screen your candidates with proven pre-employment tests

 Let The Hire Talent screen your job applicants for the exact job skills your roles demand, like problem-solving, communication, interpersonal skills, and others — to prequalify your candidates automatically.

What Are Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment testing is a standardized tool that verifies a job candidate’s skills, abilities, and qualifications during the hiring process. Pre-employment assessments can measure transferable skills like problem-solving, hard skills like math or software, or a candidate’s general integrity.

These tests let employers and hiring teams sort through large numbers of job seekers more efficiently, to make smarter hiring selections in less time.

Is Pre-Employment Testing Effective?

Pre-employment testing is the most effective way to ensure new employees have the right skills and qualifications and create a tight job fit. It’s far more effective than hiring based on a resume, cover letter, and responses to interview questions, which yields a shockingly high bad-hire rate of 46%.

Without Pre Employment Tests: 46% Fail Rate

Here are a few ways traditional hiring falls short:

  • 46% of new hires fail in 18 months
  • Only 19% of new hires reach unqualified success.
  • 82% of hiring managers know their hiring process isn’t working.

With Pre-Employment Tests: Up to 90% Higher Success Rate

By contrast, based on data from over two million hires, pre-employment testing has been shown to outpace traditional hiring in several eye-popping ways:

  • 74% increase in hiring efficiency
  • 50% drop in hiring costs
  • Up to 90% better chance of a good hire
  • 57% reduction in workers’ comp claims
  • 37% decrease in turnover
  • Reduce time to hire from average of 27 days to 7 days

Pre-employment assessments are an objective, effective predictor of job performance. Without them, there’s a strong chance you won’t hire the best candidate. Instead, you’re more likely to hire the most skilled resume or cover letter writer, or the most charming interviewee.

Pro Tip: Reference checking is another proven way to hire better candidates, but only if it’s done right (and almost nobody does it right). See our article: Reference Checking: How HR Experts Do It

pre-employment tests

Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Pre-employment tests are finely calibrated tools designed for a wide variety of business purposes. They can assess a candidate’s overall potential, examine specific skills, and even probe personal attributes like honesty, agreeableness, and diligence.

Here are the most common skills assessments and aptitude tests:

  • Attention to detail: This pre-hire assessment identifies the type of detail-oriented job candidates who can improve a company’s workplace productivity and efficiency.
  • Communication: Scores potential employees on their written and oral communication skills, which underpin their teamwork, critical thinking, leadership, and productivity.
  • Cognitive ability: Finds candidates with excellent, logical decision making skills — an especially strong predictor of workplace success.
  • Emotional intelligence: This pre-employment test scores a candidate’s ability to manage their emotions, communicate effectively, work well with others, and fit into an existing team and workplace culture.
  • Integrity: Measures fundamentally important attributes like honesty and responsibility, which underpin a company’s ethics.
  • Leadership skills: Finds candidates with strong people skills and communication skills who are able to teach, lead, and coach others. This skill strongly maps to improving efficiency and productivity.
  • Math skills: These three different pre-employment assessment tests score candidate math ability at three main levels, covering job titles from entry-level admin roles to programmers to CFOs and financial analysts.
  • Microsoft Word: Makes sure your candidates can create, manage, and edit MS Word files, format text and layouts, and perform basic word processing quickly.
  • Personality: Identifies candidates who are more likely to enjoy their jobs, thus reducing turnover. 
  • Problem-solving skills: Finds job candidates who think creatively to solve complex and troublesome business problems.
  • Reasoning: This pre-hire assessment tast scores applicants on their ability to think logically and make thoughtful decisions based on evidence and data rather than on emotion.
  • Sales skills: Identifies candidates with the outstanding sales skills necessary to drive revenue for a business.
  • Drug screening: Uncovers signs of illegal drug use and abuse. 

You can use any of the pre-employment assessment tests above individually or bundled with other tests to screen applicants for certain skill sets.

pre-employment tests

Benefits of Pre-Employment Tests

Because of their standardized, predictive nature, pre-employment tests confer a broad variety of benefits. By adding an objective dimension to the hiring process, they remove human bias, allow for more efficient hiring operations, and enable organizations to make better hiring decisions. 

Well-designed pre-hire assessment tests can:

Predict Job Performance 

Pre-employment aptitude tests can raise the cost of a great hire by 90%. That’s consistent with research in the Lou Adler book Hire With Your Head, that shows a fact-driven hiring process can increase hiring success by up to 90%.

Reduce Hiring Biases

The traditional hiring process is plagued by bias. White-sounding names get 50% more job interviews, and males are more likely to be selected in screenings than females. Even with training on how to hire without bias, hiring managers still fail to hire objectively. Pre-hire assessments bring objective data to your candidate pool before you sit down in the interview room with them.

Scale Your Hiring Process

Corporate hiring is a notoriously slow, cumbersome process that involves a large number of stakeholders weighing in, often with different agendas. These inefficiencies cause 71% of hiring team leaders to mis-hire, because of inefficient interview scheduling, screening, and evaluation. Objective pre-employment tests standardize and streamline the hiring process.

Reduce Your Time To Hire

A survey of nearly half a million new hires by The Hire Talent demonstrated a reduction in time to hire from an average of 24 to 30 days down to five to 10 days. That represents a 74% faster hiring process. By providing fast trustworthy data, pre-employment aptitude tests can narrow down your applicant pool more quickly, letting you spend more time assessing the few candidates who best fit the job.

pre-employment tests

Slash Hiring Costs

Spending less time on your hiring process improves another key metric too: costs. Pre-employment assessments cut hiring costs by 50% vs. the traditional hiring process, by more quickly weeding out the bulk of poor-fit candidates and identifying the top performers in your field of applicants.

Improve Employee Retention

Skills testing for employment helps you select candidates with the right skill sets and mental attitudes, increasing the likelihood they’ll remain with the organization. A survey of nearly two million new hires by The Hire Talent shows a 37% decrease in turnover compared to following ordinary hiring best practices.

Lower Workers’ Comp Risk

One pre-employment skills test in particular — the IntegrityFirst test — was tracked across 1.5 million hiring data points. Researchers found a 57% reduction in workers’ compensation claim costs among job candidates who passed the test. An assessment like this can quite literally make your company a safer place to work.

Pre-Employment Testing Best Practices

While administering pre-employment tests is a relatively simple process, it’s not quite as easy as flipping a switch. For example, since there’s a wide variety of new hire assessment tests, it’s important to select a test targeted to the position you’re hiring for. Likewise, proper test administration is crucial.

Here are a few best practices for pre-employment assessments:

pre-employment tests

When to Test Your Candidates

Test your job candidates early in the hiring process. This lets you zero in on your top options before you spend precious time processing resumes, applications, cover letters, and interacting with (and interviewing) candidates who don’t come close to a fit.

The table below shows how testing early in the application process can slash your processing time.

Application processing 0.5 78 8
Resume screening 0.5 78 8
Screening call 0.5 78 8
First interview 1 155 15
Second interview 1 155 15
Third interview 1 155 15
Background check 0.5 78 8
Reference check 1 155 15
Decision 0.5 78 8
Total Hours 6.5 1008 98

Select the Right Assessments

For the most accurate results, it’s vital to choose the pre-employment test that’s relevant to the job at hand. A math test can be a useful screening tool for a job in the accounting department, while a communication skills test is a good fit for roles that need writing skills, like HR jobs, public relations, and marketing.

Administer Through a Fair, Simple Interface

The platform you use to administer a candidate screening test matters almost as much as the test itself. The testing interface should be easy to distribute and easy for candidates to use, and should collect answer data in a secure, reliable way. It should also grade answers automatically, both to save time and to remove hiring bias. A test that fails in any of these areas can harm your employer brand.

Trust the Results

As long as you’re using a pre-employment assessment backed by research (The Hire Talent’s full selection of tests are underpinned by more than 2 million data points) you can rely on the results. While the tests can’t replace other hiring-related activities such as personally interviewing resumes and candidates, the hard, objective data they provide offers a bias-free decision-making tool.

Ensure Validity

The Hire Talent’s assessments are meticulously designed and tested with large sample groups. The results are then compared to other proven survey tools, with questions adjusted and statistically analyzed to ensure freedom from bias, and finally compared with actual job performance outcomes. 

pre-employment tests

Are Pre-Employment Assessment Tests Legal?

Pre-hire aptitude tests for employment are legal. There are no federal, state or local laws prohibiting their use. In fact, failing to test candidates can amount to hiring negligence. That’s because hiring without testing is prone to human bias and discrimination that can violate important DEI initiatives.


Here are answers to frequently asked questions about pre-hire employment tests.

What is The Most Common Pre-Employment Test?

The most common pre-hire assessment tests are the attention to detail test and the integrity test. Both of these key assessments accurately predict employee performance and reliability, which directly map to a company’s productivity and profitability. 

Are There Downsides to Pre-Employment Testing?

Some employers and employees argue that the results of pre-employment assessment tests can be vague, but that concern can be overcome by partnering with a reputable testing company that offers valid, statistically reliable tests. 

How Do Pre-Employment Assessments Work?

Pre-employment testing from a reputable company such as The Hire Talent is easy to administer and cost-efficient. Tests provide a level playing field that give an organization objective job candidate data, ultimately leading to better hires.  


Pre-employment assessment tests are the most accurate predictor of job performance. By pre-qualifying your candidates early in the hiring process, they prevent you from spending valuable time on applicants who don’t fit the job role. This in turn lets you devote more resources to selecting between the pool of candidates who are the best match for the role you’re hiring for.

Across more than two million new hires, pre-employment assessments have been shown to create a 74% improvement in hiring efficiency, a 37% decrease in workers’ comp costs, and up to a 90% improvement in hiring success.

Related Pre-Employment Tests


Aptitude and People Skills Test


Hire Employees with the ability to rapidly learn and use logic to come to the best conclusions


Verbal Reasoning Test


Hire Employees Who Readily Understand Complex Topics


Logic Test


Identify & Hire Candidates with the Strongest Logic, every time.