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Talent Assessment | 10 Min Read

How to Choose the Right Pre-employment Testing Software

Adoption of Pre-employment Assessment Tools

Best-in-class organizations are 45% more likely than all others to use pre-employment assessment tools as part of their hiring process.

Aberdeen Group

‘Pre-hire Assessments: An Asset for HR in the Age of the Candidate’ highlights the increased adoption of pre-employment testing software in recruitment. Traditional candidate screening methods were proving to be cumbersome and ineffective. Not only HR professionals needed to invest time, but the candidate experience was equally poor. Hence, to improve the quality of hires and provide a seamless experience in times of a candidate-driven market, employers began implementing pre-employment assessment tools before hiring.

Almost 90 percent of firms that test job applicants say they will not hire job seekers when pre-employment testing finds them to be deficient in basic skills.

American Management Association

The main aim of organizations is to have a strong correlation between job performance and pre-employment assessment tools to have a higher return on investment. While technology might not predict every aspect of a prospect, it offers a stark improvement compared to traditional modes of pre-employment testing, such as resume screening, gut-based hiring, reference checks, etc.


Businesses that employ pre-employment testing software are 13% more likely to onboard new hires who meet performance goals in a year. Similar firms have experienced having employees who are 17% more likely to be engaged at work. Such correlations have led to the adoption of pre-employment assessment tools in the HR space.

How to Choose the Right Pre-employment Testing Software

Choosing the right pre-employment assessment testing software can be a daunting task, especially with a host of available solutions. However, to make your search simpler, we have created a checklist to help you zero in on just the right one:

  • Customization and Ability to Create Questions
  • Multiple Pre-employment Testing Methods
  • Simulators to Test Real-world Skills
  • Seamless User Experience
  • Online Proctoring
  • Ease of Use
  • 24×7 Support

Skill Library and Exhaustive Question Bank

Skills are the currency of the future. Understanding your current needs is good, but knowing the future demands is crucial to stay relevant in a complex and uncertain world, undergoing continual business disruptions. Thus, a partner who offers you a broad spectrum of upcoming skills and points out the ones that become obsolete is important. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is interacting with other socio-economic and demographic factors to create a perfect storm of business model change in all industries. New categories of jobs requiring new skill sets are emerging, partly or wholly displacing others. The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will change in most industries and transform how and where people work. 

Additionally,  to ensure that your questionnaire aligns with your needs, choose a pre-employment testing software with an in-built and exhaustive question bank, covering a host of skills, ranging from different roles, functions and industries. Having a pre-built library to cater to urgent demands can provide a vendor an edge over others. The platform should not only be restricted to a few question types. Class-apart pre-employment assessment tools allow you to upload both knowledge and application-based question types.

Knowledge-based questions analyze a candidate’s ability to learn and remember facts, terminologies, and any other details without understanding the concept. They include question types such as multiple-choice questions, short and long answer questions, diagrams, upload type questions, etc.

Application-based Questions
Application-based questions enable candidates to apply their learning to a real-life problem or situation, different from the one intended at the time of learning. They include question types such as front-end, back-end, case study simulators, etc.

Analyze your needs by asking the following questions:

  • What are the skills needed for a particular job opening?
  • Does the vendor provide the required skills?
  • If not, how fast and easily can they cater to your needs?
  • Are the questions mapped to the skills?
  • How relevant are the questions?
  • Does the question bank assess both knowledge and application-based skills?
  • Does the question bank have sufficient questions for technical and non-technical roles?
  • Do you have the option to upload different question types such as graphs, equations, complex formulas, audio or video formats, etc.?

Customization and Ability to Create Questions

There’s an imperative need for a versatile and customizable pre-employment testing software platform that suits everyone’s needs. Such a platform allows organizations to either pick a custom-built test from its vast library or helps them to create their test by either using standardized questions or providing an option to add new items, depending on a job-specific competency framework. While looking for pre-employment testing software, ensure that the providers have SMEs who help you customize your questionnaire as per competency and sub-competency requirements. 

In addition to customization, a good assessment platform allows you to create your own questionnaire, ensuring that you can add unique items to the assessment. Such a platform enables you to upload your questionnaire either one-by-one or in bulk using an excel sheet. While uploading your questions onto the platform of the pre-employment testing software, you can select the option to randomize the questions. This feature generates tests wherein questions are randomly arranged for different test takers to avoid any instances of cheating while maintaining the uniqueness and integrity of the test.

Consider the following questions before selecting a pre-employment assessment vendor:

  • Do you get the functionality of customizing and creating your own questions?
  • How proficient are the SMEs in understanding and articulating your requirements?
  • What help do you get from their SMEs in assessment customization basis your internal competency frameworks?
  • Does the platform allow you to upload bulk data?
  • Can you randomize questions effortlessly?

Multiple Pre-employment Testing Methods

A good assessment vendor provides a host of pre-employment assessment tools that efficiently addresses your concerns regarding evaluation of behavioral, personality, aptitude and expertise of job prospects.

Ask the following questions while zeroing in on the right vendor:

  • Do you get assistance in selecting the most appropriate assessment mode?
  • Which skills does a particular assessment target and assess?
  • Does the pre-employment assessment tool measure workplace relevant personality traits and behaviors?
  • Does the pre-employment assessment tool keep a balance between validity and predictability?
  • How is the test administered?

Simulators to Test Real-world Skills

Virtual simulations go a long way in effectively measuring the hands-on skills of job prospects which otherwise may not be assessed in a personal interview. Practical knowledge is what enables new hires to face complex workplace challenges, find patterns in missing information and come up with innovative solutions. Hence, organizations must look for pre-employment assessment tools that have in-built simulators.

Before onboarding a pre-employment testing vendor, contemplate on the following: 

  • Can you assess a candidate’s ability to choose the best possible response to issues presented via emails?
  • Does the assessment push the candidate to analyze, rank or select the most effective response when faced with situational judgement?
  • Does the test surface relevant information, issues and recommendations as candidates attempt business case studies?
  • Do pre-employment assessment tools judge candidates in applying knowledge in coding and developing something afresh?
  • Does the provider cater to back-end and front-end coding, database simulator, Javascript Suite simulator, etc.

Seamless User Experience

A great pre-employment testing software is the one wherein all the communications can be held in a single platform, the one where hiring managers can schedule interviews and assessment rounds while keeping a track on the candidates’ progress on a single dashboard. This feature automates screening, scheduling, assessment and selection process, thus significantly reducing the turnaround time of a recruitment cycle. A highly advanced pre-employment testing software hosts a video interview tool that makes hiring hassle-free via virtual and pre-recorded video interviews.

Gather the following information while automating your recruitment process:

  • Does the platform have a clean dashboard?
  • Can the interview rounds be scheduled along with setting reminders?
  • Are HRs able to track the progress of bulk candidates?
  • Can you define competencies while setting a video interview questionnaire?
  • Are you able to collaborate with the candidates in virtual interviews?
  • Does the dashboard clearly depict a hiring funnel and analytics?

Online Proctoring

Highly evolved pre-employment assessment tools have advanced anti-cheating measures that provide a highly safe and secure environment to conduct pre-employment tests from any part of the world. Remote proctoring technology is based on the use of artificial intelligence that skillfully detects any instances of impersonation or malpractices that test-takers would employ to get a job.

While selecting an pre-employment test and proctoring vendor have clarity on the following items:

  • Does the provider have a candidate authentication process?
  • Does the platform have a secure browser to bar navigation, screen sharing, etc?
  • Can the AI detect background noise, presence of another electronic device or distracted eye movements?
  • Do you have the option of manual proctoring to observe and interact with prospects?
  • Does the test report have a test review log that has a list of all the red flags?


Ease of Use

Good pre-employment testing software is extremely user-friendly, easy to navigate and comprehend for HRs, hiring managers and prospects. They make recruitment and selection data-driven, objective, easier and faster. While the HRs can schedule hiring rounds, send reminders and set questionnaires, the candidates can take the test by clicking on the test link. 

Consider these aspects before choosing a pre-employment testing software:

  • Can you manage applicants and create custom workflows easily?
  • Is the platform user-friendly for the prospects?
  • Can you create assessments on the platform without needing much help?
  • Do you have the ease of navigating from one section to the other?
  • Are the results easy to consume and share?

24×7 Support

Customer support is one of the most important aspects while shortlisting pre-employment testing software. Especially for organizations shifting from traditional face-to-face interviews or pen-and-paper assessments, some guidance and direction is needed to help them grasp the online platform. Providing round the clock support to the customers would instill confidence and faith in them on the product offerings. Even though service providers are expected to support their clients at all times, not many meet their expectations. 

It all boils down to considering specific points while selecting a pre-employment testing software:

  • Do they have a customer support team and account managers to solve your problems?
  • Do they provide 24X7 software support during their journey?
  • Is the provider reachable via phone, chat, or email for clarification on any queries?
  • Do they assign a dedicated account manager to keep you updated?

In the end, it is the after-sales follow up that differentiates any product, being able to have someone who can talk to you easily, in helpful and respectful terms. With Mercer | Mettl, we have probably experienced the best customer service from any tech company. Mercer | Mettl has two exceptional things- its software and the more important product, its staff, which is truly an asset.

Dr. Fuad Said
MD, Internal Medicine, Jordan Hospital

Benefits of Using Pre-employment Testing Software

The use of pre-employment testing software in recruitment has addressed several challenges that employers face with traditional hiring. Some of them are listed below:

Saves Time and Cost

Traditional hiring methods were cumbersome as they involved multiple rounds of interviews. As per the mutual availability of prospects and department heads, scheduling in-person interviews was a hassle for human resources. Additionally, for positions not based locally, candidates needed to commute for face-to-face interaction or pen-and-paper tests. The time invested by HRs in arranging multiple rounds and the traveling time can now be substantially reduced with pre-employment assessment tools.

The cost involved in pre-hiring, hiring, and onboarding is too high to risk shortlisting a bad hire. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it can cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary to replace them. This is one of the major reasons companies employ HR technology to make their hiring cost and time-efficient. Organizations that have invested in pre-employment testing software get a higher return on investment.


Eliminates Human Bias

The decision-making in the traditional hiring process was primarily gut-based. Resumes are not always the best judge of skills, especially when a prospect chooses to exaggerate. Such a façade may not necessarily surface in a telephonic or face-to-face interview. Pre-employment testing software has eliminated intuitive hiring based on first impressions and mere good communication skills.  Sharing how pre-employment testing software should be used within a system of multiple assessment methods, SRI Selection Research International president Barry Kozloff says, “Tests are very good at initially screening people in or out of jobs on basic job requirements.”

Once you have a pool of candidates that meet some minimum competency requirements, further assessments can be very beneficial in selecting the best talent and the organization. Testing is very economical, especially in cases where a large number of applicants need to be evaluated.

SRI Selection Research International

Makes Hiring More Structured

Pre-employment assessment tools enable candidates to undergo an unbiased skill evaluation in a manner that can be duplicated for every candidate applying for that job role with minimal involvement of HR and hiring managers. Easy navigation for candidates and a streamlined approach to hiring makes the recruitment structured for organizations. Hence, a more structured hiring approach helps establish a standard process to onboard the best talent in a scalable manner.


Facilitates Data-driven Hiring Decisions

A pre-employment assessment tools report contains all the details on a candidate, such as assessment performance, interview performance, job suitability, behavioral alignment, skill proficiency, etc. and compares it to set benchmarks for the job to decide whether the candidate should be hired. These comprehensive reports are used by recruiters to compare a large pool of quality candidates and decide to hire or reject them.



Pre-employment assessment tools provide a holistic view of a job prospect’s skills, knowledge, weaknesses, strengths and the work environment needed to thrive. Such crucial information can then be used to make informed hiring decisions that can positively impact any organization’s business trajectory.

How is the Assessment Tool Employed?

Pre-employment assessment tools offer equal opportunity to job prospects, with the same questions and evaluation of traits necessary to perform the role. Different types of pre-employment tools such as behavioral, cognitive, personality, coding, etc. test various aspects of a prospect. They are an efficient and effective means of recruitment and selection. An assessment tool can be employed in the following manner:

An assessment tool can be employed in the following manner

Competency Framework Creation

The first step to employing pre-employment assessment tools is a competency framework creation. This involves an in-depth study of the job description, followed by focused group discussions and visionary interviews to undertint the job role. Consequently, subject matter experts and in-house research teams work on the job description for creating a competency framework based on the job level and role.

Assessment Tool Mapping

In the second stage, competencies are mapped to different pre-employment assessment tools: psychometric, situational judgment tests, coding simulators and more, depending on the job requirement. At least two tools are employed for a holistic evaluation of the job prospects.

Question and Difficulty Level Selection

A good pre-employment testing software allows you to choose questions from a vast question bank, along with the functionality of creating your customized questionnaire. You can select each section’s or question’s difficulty level, put grading logic and analyze exposure levels.

Online Assessment Configuration

A good pre-employment testing software lets you decide the order of various sections and set the time for the candidates to complete a particular section. While configuring, employers can set-up custom registration fields. Anti-cheating features such as browsing tolerance and live or manual proctoring can be enabled during this stage.

Report and Benchmark Configuration

The assessment reports provide a detailed analysis of job prospects. Employers can refer to the global or organizational benchmarks against which the test scores can be compared. The extensive reports cover strengths and areas of improvement, using which individual development plans can be created later. The reports provide individual and group-level insights that assist employers in making better people decisions.

How Can Mercer | Mettl Help

Mercer | Mettl’s pre-employment assessment testing software fulfills all your hiring needs by providing a host of pre-employment assessment tools for a holistic evaluation of prospective employees.



Our precise assessments have been curated for every job role and level by an in-house team of experts who assist organizations with the best possible solutions for their hiring needs. Our inventory contains a host of pre-employment assessment tools such as:

Psychometric Assessment

Predicts cultural fitment and workplace-relevant personality traits

Behavioral Assessment

Simulates workplace situations and captures a candidate’s response

Cognitive Ability Test

Measures reasoning and logical thinking skills

Coding Tests

Measures technical skills with role-based simulators and coding assessments

Role-based Assessments

Evaluates job knowledge across industries and functions

Spoken English Evaluator

Analyzes the ability to listen and articulate clearly

What Makes Mercer | Mettl Different

A Vast Skill Library

Mercer | Mettl’s assessments are based on an exhaustive list of competencies and sub-competencies. Our experts map these competencies to the skills required for a particular job role and level. At Mercer | Mettl, we don’t only work on older skills. Our research team relentlessly works on trending and new-age skills, which employers must test, going forward. This gives us an edge over others, enabling us to create world-class skill-based pre-employment tests.

Customized Assessments

Mercer | Mettl helps you create competency frameworks from scratch, also allowing you to create customized assessments as per your existing skills. Our consultants work closely with hiring managers and other stakeholders to curate customized assessments. You can set the difficulty level of sub-skills or sections and create pre-employment assessment tools, specially designed as per your requirements.

An Exhaustive Question Bank

With nearly ten years of experience working with corporates and educational institutions in the assessments ecosystem, Mercer | Mettl has developed a vast library of question banks. Our repository contains over 20000 questions mapped to around 3000 skills spanning across white and blue collared roles. Our platform supports a wide range of question types such as MCQs, guesstimates, diagram-based questions, simulators, media upload type, etc. Additionally, we have a repository of pre-built tests that can be implemented easily. 

Online Proctoring

Our AI-backed advanced automated online proctoring offers a comprehensive suite of anti-cheating solutions that include live monitoring, manual invigilation, secure browsers, and browsing tolerance to minimize cheating instances. As the world moves to the remote work model, which might just be the new normal, with many companies opting for it permanently, employers may require proctoring features. This will eliminate impersonation and ensure that only the best in the lot get shortlisted. Our advanced proctoring features flag various instances such as another electronic device, distracted candidate, presence of another person or absence of the candidate, etc. 

Agile Customer Support

Mercer | Mettl’s support team is available round the clock across time zones. The team can be easily reached out via chat, email or phone. The support team hand-holds organizations moving to digital mode of assessments, patiently understands their queries, duly considers suggestions, and resolves all the concerns, ensuring that they experience the best customer service.

Originally published September 18 2020, Updated August 11 2021

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

About This Topic

Pre-employment tests, also known as pre-hiring tests, are online and offline assessments to ascertain candidate fitment for a particular job role. The assessments can be conducted to measure a candidate's technical skills, aptitude, personality traits or on-the-job behavior.

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