Pre-employment testing

Pre-employment tests are often used as part of the selection process. Employers believe they offer greater objectivity, reliability and validity than interviews. Often, employers use them when recruiting graduates to help select candidates with the right mix of skills and personal qualities.

Tests help employers:

  • deal efficiently with large numbers of applicants
  • rank candidates
  • note similarities and differences between them.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests assess natural ability or aptitude rather than knowledge or experience. Usually, they are timed, so it’s important to work quickly, but accurately. Read the instructions carefully before beginning – you may not be expected to answer all of the questions.

Types of aptitude tests

Verbal reasoning
Analysing written information
Abstract reasoning
Analysing a problem presented visually
Numerical reasoning
Interpreting numerical and statistical information

Personality tests

Personality tests provide insight into how you might behave in certain situations (for example, how you might approach and solve problems). They help assess whether you’ll be a good fit for the hiring organisation. There are no right answers, but psychologists use your individual responses to develop a profile and compare it to the employer’s ideal candidate.

Common personality tests

Work preferences
How you work best, including how you work in teams and how you gain satisfaction from work
Emotional intelligence
How well you manage emotions and recognise them in your own behaviour and others’ behaviour

Prepare for a test

Make sure you practise using sample tests and get a good night’s sleep before the day of the test.

On the day:

  • read the instructions carefully
  • make sure you understand the instructions and ask if anything is unclear
  • manage your time well by not spending too much time on one question
  • don’t waste time trying to guess what the employer wants.

Sample tests

You can practise using free sample tests on the following websites: