How Do Pre-Employment Tests Impact Candidate Experience?


    With recent research showing that a positive candidate experience makes a candidate 38% more likely to accept a job offer, candidate experience in recruitment is more important than ever. 

    In the wake of the Great Resignation, employers are struggling to secure top talent to fill key roles. It’s clear that focusing on candidate experience is an important way to improve the likelihood of securing the best candidates for the job. 

    So, how can in-house recruiters improve candidate experience? You may be surprised to learn that the key to unlocking a great candidate experience isn’t just ensuring a smooth application process and friendly communications. Candidate experience also can be impacted by pre-employment testing. 

    What are pre-employment tests?

    Pre-employment tests are assessments that applicants for a role undertake as part of their job application. These tests offer a standardised and objective way for recruiters to evaluate the candidates’ skills, knowledge, cognitive ability, or even personality type in order to make informed hiring decisions. 

    Here are some examples of pre-employment tests that recruiters might provide to applicants:

    Situational judgement tests (SJTs)

    Situational judgement tests are psychometric tests that present candidates with everyday work-related situations and ask them to select their responses from a list of possible answers. This allows recruiters to measure their soft skills, practical intelligence, and common sense, all of which indicate how they will perform in a particular role. Recruiters may choose to use off-the-shelf SJTs which provide generic workplace scenarios or create bespoke tests that are specific to the organisation or role.

    Logical reasoning tests

    Verbal reasoning tests and logical reasoning tests are two types of logical reasoning assessments that are often used to evaluate candidates’ ability to understand and interpret information and solve problems. While not tied to a specific job role, these tests are a good way to measure applicants’ cognitive abilities.

    Job-specific aptitude and knowledge tests

    Other pre-employment tests often used in the hiring process are job-specific tests. These evaluate a candidate’s skills and knowledge at specific tasks linked to the job they are applying for. For example, for office workers these tests might include a Microsoft Office test or a typing test, while people applying for call centre jobs might undergo a town names or online chat roleplay test. 

    Why candidate experience matters

    Candidate experience refers to how job seekers feel about your organisation throughout and after the hiring process. This includes all the interactions they have with the organisation, including seeing the advert, the job application, receiving communications from the employer, interviews, feedback, and their eventual job offer or rejection. 

    Candidate experience matters because it defines a person’s first impression of your organisation and all their future interactions. It impacts:

    • Whether a great candidate accepts your job offer
    • How smoothly the candidate assimilates into their team
    • The type of review of your organisation they leave on social media or job boards
    • Whether the candidate recommends the employer to other customers or future job seekers
    • The success of your employer brand

    In fact, 50% of applicants will even boycott a company after a negative candidate experience. To understand the real impacts of poor candidate experience, just look at Virgin Media. A few years ago, Virgin Media estimated that bad candidate experience was costing them over $5 million annually due to the candidates boycotting the company and cancelling their subscriptions. They re-evaluated candidate experience instantly. 

    It’s not just big corporations like Virgin Media that need to worry about candidate experience; every business, even small ones that rarely recruit, needs to give it some focus. 

    With many employers currently competing for top talent, ensuring that job seekers have a wonderful candidate experience is crucial. For in-house recruiters and hiring managers, candidate experience during recruiting needs to be a top priority. 

    How can pre-employment tests improve candidate experience?

    If your organisation offers pre-employment testing, this is another touchpoint in the hiring process that can have a major impact on candidate experience. Here’s how skills tests can create a better candidate experience for job seekers.

    Speed and efficiency 

    Efficiency and speed are essential to positive candidate experience; if job seekers perceive the hiring process as long or inefficient they are unlikely to continue their application. In fact, research shows that 60% of job seekers have abandoned a job application because of its length and complexity.

    The interview process is often to blame for long and inefficient recruitment. On average, it takes two to three interviews with an employer to make a decision about the right candidate; the average interview process takes 21-23 days. 

    However, the more that recruiters drag out the hiring process and demand multiple rounds of interviews, the more likely job seekers are to accept an offer elsewhere. This is especially true if communication is lacking in between stages of the application process, which can be off-putting for job seekers.

    Fortunately, pre-employment testing can speed up recruitment by reducing the number of interviews needed and making those difficult decisions far easier. A quick skills test can take only 10-15 minutes of the candidate’s time and gives recruiters instant results so you can make informed and data-led decisions.

    With aptitude tests, the hiring process doesn’t have to last weeks or months — candidates can receive a response quickly and efficiently, ensuring a positive candidate experience even if they don’t get the job.

    Feedback and learning

    Another aspect of the recruitment process that contributes to a great candidate experience is the opportunity for learning and feedback. While especially in high volume recruitment it can be challenging for recruiters to offer personalised feedback to all candidates, the introduction of skills testing can actually facilitate this.

    With job-specific skills tests, whether they be clerical, IT, accounting, or even logistical skills, candidates get the opportunity to learn from the process and brush up on their knowledge. You may choose to give applicants feedback about their strengths and weaknesses on the tests, allowing them to learn from the experience. 

    For example, maybe you loved a candidate’s experience but weren’t impressed by their IT skills. This could be invaluable feedback for the candidate who might choose to go away, do some upskilling and apply for another one of your roles in the future. Even if they don’t join your talent pool, simply providing feedback on an application can make applicants feel valued and improve the candidate experience. 

    Equality and inclusion

    Another way in which pre-employment tests can benefit the candidate experience is by bringing increased objectivity to recruiting. Instead of basing decisions about whom to interview or hire on CVs and cover letters alone, a practice which can be influenced by unconscious bias, standardised skills tests are more equal and inclusive to all. 

    Does this impact candidate experience? Absolutely. When candidates recognise that their applications are being treated objectively and fairly they are more likely to have a positive perception of the organisation’s recruitment process. They won’t worry as much about their interviewers’ biases impacting their application, knowing that skills tests bring objectivity and standardisation to the process.

    Seamless transition into onboarding

    Finally, skills tests can have a positive impact on the candidate experience by smoothing the transition from the application process into training and onboarding for the role. After completing tests that are relevant to the job description, candidates are in the right frame of mind for further training for the new role. 

    Thus, a great candidate experience quickly becomes a great employee experience for everyone who joins your organisation. 

    Ready to enhance candidate experience using skills tests?

    There’s no downside to using skills tests in recruitment. In-house recruiters and hiring managers get to enjoy faster, cheaper, and more accurate recruiting while applicants get to enjoy a fairer, more efficient, and more educational application process. 

    If you’re interested in implementing skills testing or want to learn more about how skills tests work, visit Skillsarena. With more than 20 years’ experience improving the hiring process through psychometric testing, Skillarena are ready to transform your candidate experience.


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