Pre Employment Testing Applications You May Not Know

Pre Employment Testing has evolved over the last few years and yet we still see most employers using a similar approach to hiring as they did forty years ago.

They may use online adverts and job boards instead of newspaper adverts but outside of that it’s not changed that much.

We understand more about human behaviour today than we ever did. We know that skills, qualifications and work experience are poor predictors of performance. Yet we still rely upon these as much as we ever did.

Traditionally Here’s What Pre Employment Testing Looks Like

  1. We quickly rough up a job description. Usually this is a description of the job that has just been vacated unless of course its a new role completely.
  2. A job advert is then quickly written up. The carelessness of these is often reflected in the poor quality of candidates. Employers often just measure the effectiveness of their job advert in the number of applications received.
  3. We then gather CVs and Job application forms. However we only do this after putting candidates through some hoops. It is a common practice to make the application process laborious and time consuming.
  4. We usually ask an office junior to read through all the CVs and applications and create two piles. One pile is to be considered and the other pile is to be rejected.
  5. From here on in we need only look at the long list, which comes from the “to be considered pile”. Unfortunately we may have already rejected our best candidate.
  6. Finally a line manager, familiar with the job creates a short list for interview. We have still only used the application form and CV to make this decision. And yet we know that these are poor predictors of performance.
  7. Some may decide to do some telephone interviews. These can be helpful and efficient. Some may even use Skype and conduct video interviews.
  8. And at last we have some face to face interviews. We may even have two or three of these before we reach a decision.
  9. Even after the interviews the decision making process can often take weeks. Not because its a time consuming process but because life gets in the way and we get on with our day job.
  10. Eventually we decide to offer the job to someone. By this point we may have spent three months or more. To great surprise employers often find that candidates are no longer interested in the job because they have received an offer from someone else.

So what could be done differently?

Well pretty much everything but for this article we are just going to explore a couple of the biggest problems

What You Think You Want

What an employer thinks they want in a new candidate, is usually a very random experience. There is very little rigour or process applied. Employers tend just go with experience and a gut feel.

Usually it is based around a long list of skills and specifications. Again we already know that these specifications are poor predictors of performance.

What You Can Actually Accommodate

Employers are usually oblivious to the actual work environment they provide. So if you don’t know what you’ve got, how will you know if your new employee will thrive in it.

What Is Already Working

In terms of personality, employers have no idea what is already successful in their environment.

Who Is Interviewing

Employers presume that they are completely objective but it’s pretty apparent that the entire process is very subjective. And when employers try and bring more objectivity into things, we end up with longer checklists and more and more irrelevant specification components.

Let’s be honest is there really any difference between three years work experience and four years. Does it guarantee that the person with four years will be better at the job? Of course not.


If employers want to see better results then they need to change some big things.

They have to know what work environment they are actually offering. You see some personality types will thrive in one and die in another. This has nothing to do with qualifications, work experience or qualifications.

They then need to know which candidates have the personality types that is likely to thrive in their given work environment.

Employers need to be aware of the personality type of the interviewer and how that may impact on the outcome. At the very least they need to be aware that no one is objective and that all humans are subjective. An understanding of personality will explain what to look out for and will help you remain more objective.

These are just some of the changes we need to see in pre employment testing.