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Design a Pre-Hire Test to Select the Best

Test competencies, not personality to select quality candidates.


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We conducted in-depth interviews with HR professionals, subject matter experts, employees, and managers to better understand how to design pre-hire tests to contribute to better candidate selection.

Your Challenge

  • Organizations struggle with hiring the best quality candidates.
  • Candidate pre-hire testing can seem daunting due to the possible legal implications, variety of choices on the marketplace, and the lack of time to carry out testing by HR and managers.
  • Many view designing a pre-hire test as an onerous exercise.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Instead of using the variety of personality assessments on the market, focus on competency-based testing.
  • Know that candidate pre-hire testing is not a solution for poor hiring practices. A comprehensive selection process must be in place in order to make sound hiring decisions.
  • Avoid legal implications by testing competencies that are necessary to the job or job group.
  • Don’t try to test everything at once. Prioritize the competencies that will be tested, and use other parts of the selection process (like the interview) to glean additional information.

Impact and Result

  • Understand the importance of designing the candidate pre-hire test. This ensures it is tied to competencies required on the job.
  • Put the candidate selection process in order before implementing a pre-hire test or risk spending time and energy on gaining data that is not useful in the decision to hire.
  • Choose the most important and testable competencies to evaluate in the pre-hire test.
  • Validate the pre-hire test to ensure it is functioning according to its purpose.

Research & Tools

1. Design a pre-hire test

Evaluate candidates more thoroughly before hire.

2. Document the inputs to creating a pre-hire test

Build the test based on competencies that are necessary for the job role or job group.

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