360 Talent Solutions

How to Take a Pre-Employment Assessment

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Pre-employment assessments have emerged as a pivotal tool in the hiring process. These assessments, used by a growing number of companies, are not just a means for employers to identify the most suitable candidates; they are also a gateway for job seekers to find their ideal role, team, and work environment.

A recent study revealed that over 60% of companies use some form of pre-employment assessment, with the primary goal of predicting a candidate’s performance and potential fit within the organisation. This statistic underlines the significance these tools have gained in contemporary recruitment strategies.

The purpose of these assessments ranges from evaluating technical skills and cognitive abilities to understanding a candidate’s personality traits and work preferences. As a candidate, completing these assessments may seem daunting at first. However, their role in matching you with the right job cannot be overstated.

At the heart of making the most of these assessments lies one crucial principle: honesty. While it might be tempting to tailor your answers to what you think employers want to hear, the true value of these assessments – for both you and potential employers – is realised only when you respond with sincerity and self-awareness.

In this article, we delve into why honesty in pre-employment assessments is not just a moral obligation but a strategic approach to ensuring that the job you land is not just a job, but the right fit for you – a place where you can thrive, grow, and contribute meaningfully.

Join us as we explore the multifaceted role of pre-employment assessments in your career journey, from opening doors to unexplored opportunities to guiding you towards a role that aligns with your strengths, values, and career aspirations.

Table of Contents

What is a Pre-Employment Assessment?

A pre-employment assessment is a tool used by employers during the hiring process to evaluate job candidates. These assessments help determine whether candidates possess the skills, competencies, personality traits, and work styles that align with the company’s requirements and culture. The primary goal is to predict a candidate’s performance in a specific role and ensure a good fit for both the organisation and the individual.

Pre-employment assessment have become a cornerstone in modern hiring processes. Their role extends far beyond traditional job applications and interviews, offering a more rounded view of each candidate.

A Look at the Types of Assessments:

  • Skill Assessments: These focus on the specific technical or professional skills required for a job. For example, a programming test for an IT role or a writing task for a content creator position.
  • Cognitive Ability Tests: These are designed to evaluate abilities like problem-solving, critical thinking, and the capacity to learn and apply new information. They’re not about knowledge but rather how you process and use information.
  • Behavioural Assessments: Aimed at understanding a candidate’s work style, preferences, and temperament, these assessments offer insights into how a candidate might fit into a team or company culture.

Each type of assessment serves a specific purpose. Skill assessments ensure candidates have the practical abilities needed for the role, cognitive tests gauge their potential to handle complex tasks, and behavioural assessments reveal if a candidate’s work style aligns with the company’s ethos.

In the UK, where the job market is increasingly competitive, these assessments provide a more comprehensive picture of a candidate’s capabilities. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a significant number of UK employers now incorporate these tools into their recruitment process to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their hiring decisions.

Why They Matter:

 Pre-employment assessments help bridge the gap between a candidate’s CV and their actual ability to perform in a role. They offer employers a safeguard against the common pitfalls of hiring based solely on interviews and CVs, which may not always present the complete picture.

For candidates, these assessments can be a window of opportunity. They allow you to demonstrate your skills and potential in ways that might not come across in a traditional interview setting. For instance, a candidate may excel in a practical coding test, showcasing abilities that a CV or interview might not fully capture.

Furthermore, these assessments play a crucial role in ensuring a good job fit – which is as crucial for the candidate as it is for the employer. A good fit means a higher likelihood of job satisfaction, engagement, and long-term success in the role.

Understanding the nature and purpose of these assessments is the first step in leveraging them to your advantage. As we move on, we’ll discuss why approaching them with honesty and authenticity is key to unlocking their true potential in your job search.

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The Importance of Honesty in Assessments

When it comes to taking pre-employment assessments, honesty is more than a moral imperative – it’s a strategic necessity. The effectiveness of these assessments in determining job fit hinges on the authenticity of your responses. Here’s why being truthful is crucial:

  1. Accurate Representation of Your Abilities:
  • Honest answers provide a true reflection of your abilities and personality. Exaggerating skills or tailoring responses to what you believe employers want to hear can lead to a mismatch between your capabilities and the job’s demands. This misalignment could result in job dissatisfaction or underperformance.
  1. Ensuring Job Satisfaction and Engagement:
  • When assessments accurately reflect your skills and working style, they increase the likelihood of being matched with a role that genuinely suits you. This compatibility is key to job satisfaction, engagement, and long-term success. A study by the University of Oxford found that workers are 13% more productive when happy, underlining the importance of job satisfaction.
  1. Identifying the Right Cultural Fit:
  • Honesty in behavioural assessments is particularly crucial in determining cultural fit. Each company has its unique culture, and aligning with this culture is vital for your well-being and career progression. Research indicates that employees who fit well with their organisation, coworkers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organisation, and showed superior job performance.
  1. Long-term Career Success:
  • Being truthful in assessments can guide you towards roles where you can thrive and grow. This alignment not only benefits you in the short term but also sets the stage for long-term career success and development. According to the CIPD, aligning people’s work with their skills and interests can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
  1. Building Trust with Potential Employers:
  • Honesty in assessments can also foster trust with potential employers. It demonstrates integrity and a commitment to transparency, qualities highly valued in any professional setting.
Executive Taking a Pre-Employment Assessment

Assessments and Self-Discovery

Pre-employment assessments are not just tools for employers to gauge candidate suitability; they are also powerful instruments for self-discovery and personal growth. Here’s how these assessments contribute to a deeper understanding of oneself:

  1. Uncovering Hidden Strengths and Areas for Development:
  • These assessments can reveal strengths you may not have been consciously aware of, as well as areas where you could improve. This insight is invaluable for personal and professional development. The British Psychological Society reports that self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence, which is crucial for career success.
  1. Clarifying Career Goals and Preferences:
  • Understanding your work style, preferences, and motivations can help clarify your career aspirations. For instance, if an assessment reveals a preference for collaborative environments, you might thrive in team-based roles rather than solitary tasks.
  1. Enhancing Self-Awareness:
  • Increased self-awareness through these assessments allows you to make more informed career choices. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that employees who are self-aware are better able to find roles and organisations where they can be most effective.
  1. Facilitating Lifelong Learning:
  • Recognising areas for improvement can guide your learning and development efforts. This understanding can shape your ongoing professional development, ensuring that you’re constantly growing and adapting in your career.
  1. Aligning Personal Values with Organisational Culture:
  • Behavioural assessments often include aspects of values and culture fit. Understanding your own values and how they align with potential employers can lead to more fulfilling and meaningful work.

When taking these assessments, approach them with an open mind and curiosity about yourself. View them as an opportunity to learn more about your unique qualities and how these can be applied in a professional context.

A man taking a Pre-Employment Assessment

Aligning with the Right Role and Team

A key benefit of pre-employment assessments is their ability to align candidates with roles and teams where they can truly excel. Here’s how this alignment impacts both the candidate and the organisation:

  1. Matching Skills with Job Requirements:
  • These assessments evaluate your skills against the specific requirements of the role. According to a report by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, mismatches in skills alignment can cost UK businesses up to £2.2 billion annually in lost productivity. Accurate alignment, therefore, not only benefits you but also the organisation.
  1. Complementing Team Dynamics:
  • Beyond individual capabilities, assessments can determine how well you would fit within a team. For instance, if a team needs a creative thinker or a detail-oriented executor, your assessment results can indicate your suitability for these roles, enhancing overall team efficacy.
  1. Ensuring Compatibility with Managers:
  • Compatibility with your direct manager is crucial. The Chartered Management Institute highlights that managerial relationships significantly impact job satisfaction and productivity. Assessments can help predict how well you’ll work with potential managers, setting the stage for positive and productive working relationships.
  1. Reducing Turnover and Boosting Engagement:
  • When candidates are placed in roles and teams well-suited to their skills and work style, they are more likely to be engaged and committed. A study by Gallup found that high employee engagement leads to 21% greater profitability for businesses.
  1. Cultivating a Positive Workplace Environment:
  • The right alignment contributes to a positive workplace environment. Employees who feel their skills and talents are being utilised and appreciated are more likely to contribute positively to the workplace culture.

Finding the Right Company Culture

Finding a role that aligns with your values and personality is as crucial as matching your skills with the job’s requirements. Pre-employment assessments play a pivotal role in determining if a company’s culture is the right fit for you.

  1. Understanding Organisational Values and Ethics:
  • A key aspect of these assessments is to gauge if your personal values align with those of the organisation. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) stresses the importance of value alignment for employee engagement and job satisfaction. When your personal values resonate with the company’s, you are more likely to feel connected, motivated, and loyal.
  1. Aligning with Work Environment and Style:
  • Whether you thrive in a fast-paced, innovative environment or prefer a structured, steady workplace, assessments can help determine the right organisational fit for you. The Institute of Leadership & Management notes that a mismatch in work style preferences can lead to job dissatisfaction and stress.
  1. Enhancing Job Satisfaction and Retention:
  • Being part of a company with a compatible culture enhances job satisfaction. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation reports that employees who fit well with their organisation’s culture have higher job satisfaction and are less likely to leave, reducing turnover costs.
  1. Contributing to a Healthy Workplace Atmosphere:
  • When you are in sync with the company culture, you’re more likely to contribute positively to the workplace environment. This harmony fosters a supportive and collaborative atmosphere, benefiting the entire team.
  1. Fostering Long-Term Career Development:
  • Being in the right company culture can also influence your long-term career growth. The CIPD highlights that organisations with a culture that supports learning and development can provide more opportunities for career progression.

While taking these assessments, consider your own work values and how they might align with potential employers. This understanding is key to finding not just a job, but a career path where you can thrive and grow.

2 professionals looking at the behavioral assessment

Tips for Taking Pre-Employment Assessments

Approaching pre-employment assessments can be daunting, but with the right mindset and strategies, they can be an invaluable step in your career journey. Here are some tips to help you make the most of these assessments:

  1. Prepare Mentally and Physically:
  • Ensure you’re rested and focused before taking the assessment. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that a relaxed and alert mind significantly impacts performance on cognitive and behavioural assessments.
  1. Understand the Assessment Type:
  • Familiarise yourself with the type of assessment you’ll be taking. Whether it’s a skills test, a cognitive ability test, or a personality questionnaire, understanding the format and expectations can help reduce anxiety.
  1. Be Honest and Authentic:
  • Answer questions honestly to ensure the assessment accurately reflects your abilities and personality. The British Psychological Society advises against trying to ‘game’ the system, as this can lead to placements that are not genuinely suited to you.
  1. Reflect on Your Skills and Experiences:
  • Take time to reflect on your skills, experiences, and work preferences. This self-reflection can help you provide more thoughtful and accurate responses, as recommended by the Institute of Leadership & Management.
  1. Don’t Rush, But Don’t Overthink:
  • While it’s important to take your time, avoid overthinking your answers. Your first instinct is often the most accurate and reflective of your true thoughts and feelings.
  1. Use It as a Learning Experience:
  • Regardless of the outcome, view the assessment as a learning opportunity. The feedback can provide valuable insights into your strengths and areas for development.
  1. Stay Positive and Open-Minded:
  • Approach the assessment with a positive attitude. Even if it leads to a conclusion that a role isn’t the right fit, it’s better to discover this in the early stages.
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Final Thoughts

Pre-employment assessments are much more than a procedural step in the hiring process. They are a bridge connecting you to opportunities that resonate with your skills, values, and career aspirations. Approaching these assessments with honesty and self-awareness is not just beneficial; it’s essential for finding a role where you can truly thrive.

The value of these assessments lies in their ability to provide a clear and objective view of your potential fit within an organisation. They are tools for self-discovery, enabling you to understand and articulate your strengths and areas for growth. By participating in these assessments, you are not only presenting yourself to potential employers but also gaining insights that can guide your career trajectory.

As the job market continues to evolve, pre-employment assessments will play an increasingly vital role in the recruitment landscape. They stand as testament to the importance of aligning personal abilities and aspirations with organisational needs and cultures, paving the way for more fulfilling and productive professional relationships.

We invite you to share your experiences and thoughts on pre-employment assessments. Have they helped you find a role that truly suits you? What insights have you gained about yourself through these assessments? Join the conversation and let’s discuss how these tools are shaping the future of recruitment and career development.

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In Partnership With Humanostics

360 Talent Solutions Ltd is an Associate Partner of Humanostics® , a PI Certified Partner authorised to use the science, assessment software, and curriculum of management workshops of The Predictive Index.

In partnership with Humanostics, we provide companies in the UK and across Europe access to the assessment tools provided by The Predictive Index.

Take the 6-minute PI Behavioral Assessment™ today.  Once you have completed the 6-minute assessment, I will send you a Full Behavioral Report by Predictive Index.

How Can We Help

From supporting the growth of leading pharma companies over the past 10 years, I have learnt that when it comes to predicting future performance, technology is key:

  • Education, years of experience, and references all have low predictive value. Yet, we rely on these for screening early in the recruitment process.
  • Cognitive and Behavioural Assessments, have much higher predictive value, and when combined with interviews, provide the most effective method for predicting future performance.

For me, hiring without the use of psychometric assessments is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing … and no picture on the box. It’s not fun, it takes longer, and when you are almost finished, you realise you have pieces missing.

Take the assessment today and start measuring more to improve your recruitment.

If you are interested in learning more or are ready to incorporate behavioral data into your recruitment process, please contact me today, I will be happy to help.

Let’s get started!

Dave Crumby

Founder at 360 Talent Solutions

Certified Predictive Index Practitioner 

Potrait of Dave Crumby in a suite
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