Using Pre-Employment Testing to Screen Job Applicants

The hiring process can be complicated as you assess applicants to find the best one for your vacant position. You might consider screening people who apply for positions to narrow your selection and help you find the best candidates for the job.

Pre-employment testing may include a variety of different evaluations. These analyses can check cognitive aptitude, basic and specialized knowledge, skill sets, motor and physical abilities, intelligence, grammar and language skills, personality, and ethics. For example, if you have a position that requires a specific skill set or personality, you can use tools tailored precisely for the job you are trying to fill.

Pre-employment testing can also evaluate the ethics and integrity of job candidates to eliminate people who may be potential risks due to negative attitudes and personality traits. You can also include drug and chemical testing in your screening.

Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing

Employers who use the standard screening process of collecting resumes and applications and hold holding job interviews can miss many important details about candidates, but resumes and job applications can be deceptive, and interviews may not be a reliable indicator of a candidate’s future job performance. Employers who screen applicants can experience a number of benefits.

– When you analyze applicants prior to making a hiring decision, you can save time because you will be more likely to hire the best person from the start. Making hiring mistakes results in lost time and even lost revenue as you struggle with employee problems, potential customer service issues, and extended training time.

– Checking people prior to hiring also increases productivity, because you are more likely to hire better workers with a higher work ethic.

– You may find that your overall employee moral increases with pre-employment testing.

Choosing the Type of Screening

If you decide you want to use pre-employment testing in your hiring process, explore the different packages available to ensure that you choose one that fits your needs.

– Evaluations vary according to industry, so choose one that checks for issues applicable to your employees and type of business.

– Explore the scoring model of any evaluations. Check to see how valid the results are and how the tests certify results.

– Check the questions to ensure that they are not offensive or too personal. Questions should not violate Equal Employment Opportunity laws.

Moving forward with this type of screening will require time for scoring and then analysis of the scores. However, you should find that you can process a large pool of candidates much more quickly and efficiently when you analyze and test aptitude, skills, and personality. In the long run, your business should benefit from this screening process, because it helps you find the ideal employees to fill positions in your company.

Dealing With Gaps In Employment

There are some simple strategies that can help you deal with gaps in employment.

How to Handle the Questions

The best way to handle a time gap of more than 2 years would be to be honest. If you took time off for personal reasons, for example, say so – but try not to give too many details. Usually, any information that you provide will be accepted if the gap was a long time ago. Recent gaps in employment generally require more explanation.

You can try using different types of resume formats (depending on your situation) to cover the gap.

Functional Resume- Software professionals who have vast experience in several technologies frequently use this resume style. Job seekers who have minimum experience also prefer this format. Job seekers who adopt the functional resume style systematize it by adding their specialized skills and functions. This resume style is purely functional, stating employment dates, company names, and position titles.

This style also works well for homemakers who are returning to work after awhile. Functional resumes are not used as frequently as the chronological style, but if well drafted, it can cover up any gaps in employment and can be used as a marketing tool.

Chronological Resume- This format is also called the default format, as this resume type is organized in reverse chronological order starting with job titles, names of the employers, employment dates and achievements within a time period of 10-15 years. This style is the best bet for those who have lots of experience in one field and who don’t have many employment gaps.

This resume style is well accepted, as it is usually short and concise, with details well specified. Conservative career professionals or job seekers who are searching for openings in the international job market also use this format.

How to Include the Explanation

If you prefer using a functional resume, you should include a short explanation for the gap in your cover letter. Including a legitimate explanation always helps – just make sure that you mention it in passing and don’t get too detailed unless you are asked about it later.

If you have a big gap and don’t mention it in your cover letter, then many recruiters may discard your resume thinking that you are not serious about your career. If it’s a minor employment gap, recruiters generally will understand, but if you had a more complex issue resulting in a larger gap, then it is better to specify it during the interview on your own.

The biggest concern for an employer when they see gaps in employment is whether this issue is an indication of your probable future absence. How you address any gaps in your employment will usually determine whether you will get the interview or not – so be prepared.

3 Core Pre-Employment Screening Tools

In the pre-employment screening process, HR practitioners use different tools to make sure they could choose the right candidate. In this article, I will lay out three pre-employment screening tools with brief explanation:

– Psychometric testing: The root of psychometric testing comes from the analysis of different family members and their styles and behaviors. These tools which used to analyze family member behaviors were gradually revised for personal development purposes and later on employment screening purposes.

There are no right or wrong answers for the psychometric testing result because the world is different and everybody is different. For instance, some people might like to look at things from the big picture point of view while other people would like to look into at things by breaking it down into parts. There is nothing wrong to do so for both approaches.

The power for using psychometric testing for employment purposes come from the fact that these psychometric testing organizations have done researches and collected norms that show certain industry and certain position would fit the best for individuals who possess certain behavior trait. Furthermore, these psychometric testing organizations could then integrate an organization’s core competencies and specific position requirement into the psychometric tools. That’s how these tools claim to be able to help you to find the job candidate best matches with the organization and position requirement.

– Ability testing: While psychometric testing tools could assess a job candidate’s fit for the position from the mindset point of view, ability testing tools could assess a job candidate’s specific skill sets. Nowadays, ability testing tool organizations become more and more creative. Language test, typing test and various different testing tools for a specific skill were developed for different job type and industry.

– Background check: By doing different background check such as criminal record check, credit history check, civil litigation check, reference check and education verification, you can assess the job candidate’s integrity as well as their general fit for your organization. Reference check result could also be used to understand the job candidate’s previous work performance and cross check the results from ability testing, psychometric testing and interview.

Make sure you understand the specific tools you are using for your screening process. Each specific tool is designed for a different specific purpose. To make sure you achieve the best result, make sure you could integrate and consolidate all the results from these screening tools to make the hiring decision.

The Employment Compromise Agreement

An employment compromise agreement is a legal and binding agreement between an employee and an employer following the latter’s employment termination. Under the terms of the deal, the employee would receive a specified and usually hefty amount of cash as a form of severance pay. S/He, in return, agrees to drop any legal claims or cases that could be filed before the Employment Tribunal.

As an employment tool, employers use an employment compromise agreement as a shield against unlikely instances and claims specifically during redundancy situations. For their part, employers should comply with specific legal requirements especially when making any redundancy. If the employer fails to deliver the requirements, a claim could be filed by the employee before the employment tribunal. Any claim awarded to an employee by the tribunal would significantly cost the employer, thus, it is very rare for any employer to fail meeting requirements in an employment compromise agreement.

For any employment compromise agreement to be valid, the following simple requirements must be met: the agreement should be in writing; it should identify an adviser; it should relate to particular complaints held by the employees; all the requisite conditions should be met; the adviser should carry a professional indemnity insurance; and the employee must have received appropriate legal guidance and advice from an independent employment solicitor before he signed the contract. The solicitor is even made a signatory of the document as a proof that legal advice was appropriately provided to the employee prior to signing the agreement.

What are the logical benefits of such agreement? First, certainty is provided for both the employee and the employer. The employee would know the exact amount he would receive from the deal, while the employer may rest assured that no legal claim would be filed by the employee against the business. Second, a hefty amount of money is paid to the employee as a form of compensation for the job loss. The amount involved is usually higher than a redundancy or dismissal package. Lastly, the employment compromise agreement minimizes risks of possible problems related to employment.

An employee is not obliged to sign this agreement. He has the option whether to accept the deal or not. However, in a redundancy situation, refusal to sign the agreement may result to a lesser amount of settlement. The package that comes with a compromise agreement is usually much higher than a statutory redundancy entitlement.

The employee is required to hire an employment solicitor for the matter. Solicitors are qualified to give legal advice to employees who are considering an employment compromise agreement. The law specialist should clearly explain to the employee all the legal terms and technicalities of the document. The employee must fully understand every term and clause included in the employment compromise agreement.

The payment involved should be made in about seven to 14 days following the formal signing of the employment compromise agreement. As for the cost of the legal advice, the employer has the responsibility to shoulder all expenses that come with the drafting and signing of the agreement.

Why Employers Should Not Rely on Resumes

For some employers, making hiring decisions based solely on an applicant’s resume can be a major mistake, from the viewpoint of safe hiring. A resume is an applicant’s marketing tool, in which the disclosure of or withholding of important information is entirely at his or her discretion. Many job hunters even use resume writing services, and while there is nothing wrong with using a service to prepare a professional looking resume, there is certainly the potential that these services can embellish the information on an applicant’s experience. The service’s goal is not necessarily honesty; it is to get the applicant an interview. Employers, however, need the facts in order to make the best hiring decisions.

What are some of the dangers in using a resume?

First, job applicants often feel compelled to reveal things about themselves that an employer does not need, or legally should not, know. Resumes often reveal volunteer affiliations, hobbies, interests or memberships in groups that reveal such prohibited information as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age. For example, a resume may reveal a person does volunteer time with a church, or belongs to a group that is clearly associated with a particular race or nationality.

The problem is the Federal EEOC and states’ rules prohibit an employer from obtaining or using such information. Having this information in the form of a resume in the employer’s file is not a good practice in the event the employer is ever the subject of civil litigation or a government investigation into their hiring practices. By using an application form, an applicant cannot volunteer irrelevant information an employer should not possess.

Conversely, resumes may not give an employer all the information needed to make an informed hiring decision. With a proper application, an applicant cannot skip over jobs he or she would rather not mention. An application can allow an employer to spot unexplained employment gaps. Also, job applicants typically do not self-reveal their criminal records in a resume.

In addition, it is much easier for an employer to prescreen candidates using a standardized application. An employer trying to screen a large number of resumes can more easily compare applicants.

Finally, an application form can contain critical elements that an employer may want to convey to the applicant, or critical questions that an employer may want to ask, such as whether the applicant has a criminal record.