8 Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Pre-employment tests

8 Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Anyone who has gone for interviews knows that they are not easy. Many job applicants wonder why they have to sit for a pre-employment test when their resume already shows they are qualified. However, the traditional methods of scanning resumes and face-to-face interviews offer limited insights into a candidate’s potential to succeed on the job. Research indicates that up to 78% of resumes contain misleading statements, while 46% contain actual lies. Pre-employment tests are therefore designed to evaluate and measure whether you fit the role you are applying for. The hirer wants to know if you have the potential to succeed in the job.

While the test you attempt will be specific to the role you are applying for, you will also be assessed on your characteristics, and your ability to demonstrate behaviors valued by the company such as communication skills, leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

There are different types of pre-employment tests used to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a role.


“The mouth does not eat if the feet do not walk and the 
hands work.”
-African Proverb-


8 common types of pre-employment tests

1. Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are used to determine if you have the skills to succeed in a given activity. They are used for job placements, and college entry programs and also help people get an idea of where their interests and aptitudes can take them regarding their careers.

Aptitude tests evaluate specific skills that you are likely to use in the course of your work, such as numeracy, problem-solving, logic, verbal ability, and reasoning.

Aptitude tests come in different formats (online or paper-based) and are normally timed to assess how you think, process information, and work under pressure.

Types of aptitude tests

    1. Logical reasoning: To determine your ability to think logically (i.e. recognize patterns or relations between images & shapes, or identify sequences, analogs, and structures).

    2.  Numerical reasoning: To determine your ability to deal with and interpret numerical data such as percentages, averages, ratios, etc., as well as analyze and draw conclusions from graphs and tables.

    3. Verbal reasoning: To determine your ability to comprehend written passages, understand language, and make deductions from available facts.

    4. Diagrammatic reasoning: To determine your ability to interpret flowcharts and diagrams logically.

    5. Abstract reasoning: To determine your ability to identify and interpret non-verbal and non-numerical patterns.

    6.  Inductive reasoning: To determine your ability to solve problems by identifying patterns and analyzing data from a set of specific observations.

    7.  Situational judgment: To determine your ability to think critically and make appropriate decisions in a range of workplace situations.

How to prepare for an aptitude test

Though you will not know the exact questions you will be asked, practicing will ensure you are familiar with the various types of questions. Practice daily and learn how to manage time.

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell them, 
‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
-Theodore Roosevelt-

Do you want to practice for your accounting aptitude test? Follow this link to assess timed revision tests as well as pdf downloads.

2. Personality tests

Employers use personality tests to identify candidates with personality attributes that match their businesses. They assess your beliefs, work ethic, communication style, and leadership skills, as well as how you respond to various situations. Through personality tests, employers can identify if your character traits are suited for a specific role and the likelihood of long-term success in that position.

Common types of personality tests

(i). The DISC test: Determines your dominant traits based on four personality types: Dominant(D), Influential (I), Steady(S), and Contentiousness (C). Employers use this test to determine if your professional behavior and working style are suitable for the job’s daily activities.

    1. Candidates with a high ‘D’ score are the doers who strive to push projects forward. They prefer leadership positions and to be involved in decision-making.

    2. Candidates with a high ‘I’score are good at convincing others but will also want to make others happy to win their favor. This trait can be relevant in sales work environments for example.

    3. Candidates with a high ‘S’ score are good organizers and contribute greatly to the stability of a team, especially if other teammates are more spontaneous and like to take risks.

    4. Those with a high ‘C’ score are detail-oriented and seek to do their best to meet company expectations.

This test normally has 12-30 questions and you are required to choose one description that applies to you the most and another that applies to you the least.


“There are two types of people who will tell you that you 
cannot make a difference in this world: 
those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you 
will succeed.”
-Ray Goforth-


(ii). Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI)

This test is designed to identify a person’s personality type, strengths, and preferences. Employers use this test to assess how you relate to others and what you seek concerning their environment. The test provides employers with your  preferred way of working by determining your  inclination to one of the two traits in the following  groups:

    1. Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)

    2. Intuition (N) vs. Sensing (S)

    3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

    4. Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

Depending on what you prefer, you can have one of the 16 possible types of personalities (counselor, inspector, mastermind, giver, craftsman, provider, idealist, performer, champion, doer, supervisor, commander, thinker, nurturer, visionary, and composer).

This test consists of 93 questions, with two sentences for each question and you are required to choose the sentence that best describes you.


“Big jobs usually go to those who prove their ability to 
outgrow small ones.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson-


(iii). Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

The HPI is used to predict job performance by helping employers strengthen their employee selection, leadership development, secession planning, and talent management process.

HPI uses seven primary scales (i.e. adjustment, ambition, sociability, interpersonal sensitivity, prudence, inquisitiveness, and learning), six occupational scales (i.e. service orientation, stress tolerance, reliability, clerical potential, sales potential, and managerial potential), and 42 subscales to evaluate if your personality is a good fit for a specific role. There are 206 true/false questions administered online and scored instantaneously. It takes 15- 20 minutes.

“Work is good, as long as you don't forget to live.”
-African Proverb-


(iv). The Caliper Profile (CP)

The CP is used to measure your personality characteristics and motivations to predict on-the-job behaviors and potential. It consists of 180 multiple-choice questions that measure 22 robust traits and can be either paper-based or online. You must answer all the questions otherwise the test will not be scored if some questions are left blank. The questions can be in several different formats, with most questions requiring you to choose one statement that either best or least describes your views or beliefs.

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll
 have a harvest if we don’t give up.”

-Galatians 6:9-

(v). The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire is used to assess how your style and preferences align with a specific job role. Employers use SHL to determine candidates with the most suitable style and personality profile for job requirements. There are untimed 104 questions, that take between 25-40 minutes to complete. Each question consists of four statements and you are required to choose one statement that best describes you and another that least describes you.

How to prepare for personality tests

Since personality tests do not measure your skills or knowledge, you do not need to study for them. However, it is good to review sample questions to get a better idea of the nature of tests to expect. Reviewing questions will also give you an insight into specific traits that you could work to your advantage.

If you are applying for a specific role, research to determine the ideal profile for that role.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” 
-Vincent Van Gogh-

3. Job Simulation tests

Job simulation tests assess your skills to determine how you will perform in actual work settings. Employers use different types of simulations in different stages of the hiring process to evaluate specific aspects of a candidate’s abilities (i.e. work ethic, competence, emotional intelligence, etc.,) in an objective and measurable way so they can hire the best candidate.

The test formats vary and can include presentations, online assignments, role-playing, or in-person tests.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
-Albert Einstein-

4. Specific Skills Tests

Specific skills tests are used to determine if you have skills specific to a highly specialized role. They measure your ability to perform the duties listed in the job description by assessing both technical and soft skills.

The test has a variety of questions in different formats (multiple-choice and open-ended questions) relevant to the role.

The best preparation for tomorrow is to make sure today's work is superbly done."
-African Proverb-

5. Written tests

Written tests are used to assess your skills, abilities, and knowledge on various matters related to the job you are applying for. The format depends on the type of job and can take place during the interview or online before the interview.

Types of written tests

    1. Personality test.

    2. Aptitude test.

    3. Communications skills test.

    4. Creative thinking test.

    5. Problem-solving test.

    6. Hard skills test.

Written tests last between 40 and 60 minutes.

“Believe you can and you’re already halfway there.”
-Theodore Roosevelt-

6. Emotional intelligence tests

Emotional intelligence tests are used to determine if you can perceive, evaluate, and manage your feelings and those of others. The test helps employers uncover important skills about candidates such as:

    1. Ability to express feelings and opinions.

    2. Approach to conflict resolution.

    3. Communication skills and preference.

    4. Work ethic and job dedication.

    5. Strategies for managing job pressure and stress.

    6. Level of maturity and responsibility.

    7. Adaptability, teamwork, and empathy.

Methods of measuring emotional intelligence include:

(i). Revenue Baron’s EQ-I: This is a self-report test designed to evaluate the competencies which consider problem-solving, stress, awareness, tolerance, and happiness.

(ii). Seligman attributional style questionnaire (SASQ): This test measures both optimism and pessimism.

(iii). Multifactor emotional intelligence scale (MEIS): This test measures a candidate’s capability to understand, identify, and make use of emotions.

(iv). Emotional competence inventory (ECI): This test uses a self-assessment questionnaire as a basis to measure an individual’s abilities in different emotional competencies.

"You will enjoy what you've worked hard for — you'll be happy, and things will go well for you." 

-Psalm 128:2-

7. Physical ability tests

This test is used to measure if you have the physical abilities to perform job-related tasks requiring manual labor and physical skill. They measure strength, muscular flexibility, and stamina. Examples of physical ability tests include:

    1. Muscular power, endurance, and tension tests.

    2. Cardiovascular endurance tests.

    3. Flexibility and balance tests.

‘‘You must judge a man by the work of his hands’’
-African Proverb-

8. Cognitive tests

These tests measure your reasoning, accuracy perpetual speed, and skills in arithmetic, reading comprehension, and knowledge of a particular job or function. Employers use these tests to determine how well you will do your job.

“Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time 
we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.”
-Galatians 6:9-


Employers are no longer relying only on traditional methods (resumes and interviews) to know candidates as they do not yield the best insight. Structured job interviews are subjective and serve as poor predictors of job performance. Employers, therefore, use pre-employment tests to make better-informed hiring decisions. Pre-employment tests also reduce the time spent reading resumes and conducting interviews, thereby reducing the time and costs associated with hiring.

“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
 he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.”
-Proverbs 12:11-

If you are a job seeker, take time to prepare for pre-employment tests if you want to succeed. Below are some tips to follow:

    1. Research the job and identify the industry and domain.

    2. Seek clarification from the hiring team on the delivery format and duration.

    3. Practice with mock pre-employment tests.

    4.  If the test is online, confirm the system requirements and if the test requires a webcam or microphone.

    5. Stay calm during the test and focus on questions you know first and then move back to the questions you do not know later.

    6. Read the questions carefully and think about why the employer is asking certain questions to give meaningful answers that demonstrate your skills for the job.

    7. Be true to your professional self.

For nothing will be impossible with God.”
-Luke 1:37-

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pre-employment tests,pre-employment tests,pre-employment tests

pre-employment tests,pre-employment tests,pre-employment tests

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