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Pre-Employment Test   | 2 Min Read

Which Test ? - A Guide to Choosing the Most Effective Pre-Employment Assessments

Written By puranjaya_singh
When using any assessment, employers need to step back and ask themselves one basic question before giving it to a potential employee: Is this test predictive of future job performance? Using well-validated, highly predictive assessment tools can give employers and hiring managers a significant boost when trying to select candidates who will become high performers for the organization.

However, all assessment approaches are not created equal. And some will not offer a significant return on your investment. Knowing which types of assessments will be most effective in accomplishing the specific objectives you have identified for your organization will enable you to select a tool with a measurable impact on the bottom line.

Extensive research has been done on the ability of various hiring methods and measures to actually predict job performance. A seminal work in this area is Frank Schmidt and John Hunter’s meta-analysis of almost a century’s worth of workplace productivity data, first published in 19981 and updated recently2. The table below shows the predictive validity of some commonly used selection practices, sorted from most effective to least effective, according to Frank Schmidt’s latest analysis that was shared by him in November 20133:

Most Effective Hiring Practices

Which assessment tools should you use in your hiring process?

  1. If your hiring process relies primarily on interviews and reference checks, you are choosing to use a process that is significantly less effective than it could be if more effective measures were incorporated.
  2. There is no better predictor of job performance than cognitive ability. If you are going to use just one assessment tool as part of your screening process, choose a cognitive ability test.
  1. While personality tests do add value to the hiring process, relying solely on them to make hiring decisions is not very effective. Personality assessments are most informative when used along with other tools.
  1. Finally, the most effective hiring practices are ones that employ a combination of three assessment tools to make hiring decisions – cognitive ability test, personality test, and a structured interview. A hiring assessment process that combines these three tools has a greater than 70% chance of accurately predicting job performance and thus will provide you with the greatest return on your investment.

Dr. Puranjaya Singh is an eminent psychologist and has been instrumental in creating assessment backbones for enterprises across multiple industries in India. Under his tutelage as "Advisor and Chief Psychologist," Mettl is shifting the paradigm in new age talent measurement frameworks. This is the second article in the  ASSESSMENT 101 series that has 3 parts.


1 Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262 – 274.

2 Schmidt, F.L., Oh, I-S., & Shaffer, J. (2013). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: An update 10 years later.

3 Schmidt, F.L. (2013). November 6, 2013 address to Personnel Testing Council Metropolitan Washington (PTCMW) chapter.

Topics: Pre-Employment Test

Originally published May 02 2019,updated June 29 2019

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