Using pre-employment assessments to prevent poor employee onboarding

88% of organizations believe that they have a poor employee onboarding process.*

Why? Because we lack the insights we need to help our new employees become shining stars. We don’t know their skill gaps or how they react in certain situations. That’s why it’s difficult to estimate how to help them throughout the onboarding process.

A very long ramp-up time, high levels of stress, high turnover rates. Reduced productivity, engagement and potentially losing people that are extremely valuable to your company. These are only some of the ways a poor employee onboarding experience can hurt your business.

The better you know a person, the faster you’ll be able to get them up and running. In this blog, I’ll tell you all about how using pre-employment assessments can prevent poor employee onboarding:

This is why you should be using pre-employment assessments

There are multiple reasons for using pre-employment assessments, and for each company those reasons are different. However, there are three main ways in which the use of pre-employment assessments can be very beneficial:

  • Save time. The use of assessments will allow you to narrow down your talent pool. This way you can devote your time, energy and resources to reviewing candidates that are suitable for the open job role.
  • Prevent mishires and improve hiring quality. Pre-employment assessments can be used to assess both hard and soft skills of the applicants. This way providing you with all the relevant information at the very beginning of the funnel.
  • Remove bias from interviews. Once all the relevant information is already gathered, it can be used to create a structured interview process that is bias free.

Now you know the reasons and benefits of using pre-employment assessments. So, let’s dive into the 3 most popular types of pre-employment assessments.

3 types of pre-employment assessments

The hiring process as a whole can be considered as a sort of a test for candidates. However, when talking about pre-employment assessments, I’m talking about standardized tests. The following are the most commonly used pre-employment tests to assess candidates.

Job knowledge tests

This implies that the candidate is being tested on specific job related knowledge and elements. This way it is possible to assess a candidate’s technical or theoretical expertise in a particular field. An example of such a test could be a Python test for a software engineer position. During a Python test, the candidates would be asked to solve coding problems in Python as well as to find and fix bugs in a Python program. This way showcasing their knowledge about coding.

Measuring theoretical and practical knowledge such as this is of course beneficial. However, a job knowledge test focuses purely on track record rather than actually measuring someone’s potential. This is especially dangerous in a labour market in which jobs are rapidly changing in terms of responsibilities and required skills. Being aware of someone’s potential and ability to acquire new skills is absolutely essential to be able to create an effective onboarding process. Why? The job knowledge test results alone won’t necessarily tell you who’d be the best candidate for your company or how to onboard them.

Personality & behavioural tests

These types of tests promise to offer insight into whether a candidate’s personality can translate into job success. Traditional personality questionnaires & behavioural tests, even though considered one of the most popular types of pre-employment assessments, are my least favourite. Let me tell you why. Each of us is different, in terms of who we are, what we like, what we don’t like and how we act on a daily basis. And that’s the beauty of it all – we are each a unique individual with unique personalities. 

In case you didn’t already guess – that’s exactly why I don’t believe in using traditional personality questionnaires or behavioural tests as pre-employment assessments. Because neither the Big five model, nor Myers-Briggs Personality test can measure and assess every single personality that is out there. Additionally, there is a high chance of social desirability bias creeping in during the process – as candidates are more likely to select answers that they believe you want to receive.

 “Until we test them scientifically we can’t tell the difference between that and pseudoscience like astrology.”

/Simine Vazire, a personality researcher at the University of California, Davis.*

Modern versions of personality & behavioural tests, such as neuroscientific games, can offer valuable insights into candidates’ cultural fit and how their personality can translate into job success. P. S. When it comes to neuroscientific games – there is no room for social desirability and cultural bias to creep in!

Cognitive ability tests

These types of tests focus on measuring someone’s general mental capacity. General Cognitive Ability (GCA) is the #1 most important trait determinant of job performance. It has the highest validity and also the lowest application costs. It is also the best predictor of job-related learning. Cognitive ability tests are a perfect example of GCA, and thus the best predictor of future job performance. 

This is how using assessments creates a better onboarding experience

Using assessments at the beginning of the hiring funnel will not only help you avoid making mishires, but also prevents poor employee onboarding experience. There are three ways using assessments can help with onboarding:

  • Avoid mishires while simultaneously improving hiring quality in a bias free way
  • Predict and prevent performance issues before they start
  • Integrate new team members the right way

Avoid mishires while simultaneously improving hiring quality

By introducing assessments at the beginning of the hiring process, you will be able to sort through the candidates more efficiently while simultaneously increasing your chances of hiring someone great. Someone who has the most relevant skills, personality and attitude. However, that does not mean that this person has no room for improvement or skill development. 

So, once you’ve made a hiring decision, having all the insights from the pre-employment assessment can help you prepare materials and an onboarding process that is suitable for the needs of this new hire. Without this information, you would be blindly guessing and assuming what are the areas of improvement and strengths of the new hire. This way focusing on the wrong things, and eventually, wasting not only your time, but also the time of your new employee.

Predict and prevent performance issues before they start

Not only do assessments help you identify strengths and weaknesses of each new hire, assessments also allow you to take a peek into the future. For example, if someone is hypercritical, you can already be prepared for that and maintain open communication by giving clear guidelines & direction about their job responsibilities and so on. This way you can prevent potential future performance issues even before they start.

Integrate new team members the right way

While employers have plenty of clear set strategies for identifying technical competencies they look for in new hires, identifying whether a candidate will be a good cultural fit for the company still proves to be challenging. Your team is what makes it all work. That’s why knowing whether someone is a good fit for your team, it is crucial to examine how their personality and skills fit the overall team dynamics. These new additions to your team should understand the goals and values of your company. As this is what will lead to employees that are productive, happy and determined. Once you have a clear picture of who your new team member is and in what ways they compliment your already existing team composition, it will be easier to integrate them into your existing team. 

Use case: Equalture’s neuroscientific assessments

We are Equalture, here to help you to attract top quality candidates while simultaneously boosting and improving your onboarding experience through gamification.

Unique candidate profile to prepare for onboarding

Each employee brings a special set of skills, knowledge, and talents to the workplace that contributes to the overall success of the company. That’s why we offer you a Candidate Profile. This way providing you with a structured, standardised, and data-driven overview of the insights you wished to collect for each candidate on a specific job. Not only this will allow you to hire the best talent, but also have insights into how to onboard them.

overview of an Equalture candidate profile, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, industry and team benchmark and past experience
Equalture’s Candidate Profile

Knowing whether someone is adaptable and flexible upfront can help you tailor the onboarding process accordingly. If you know beforehand that someone is less flexible then this can help you devise a plan on how to coach this person. In contrast, if someone is highly flexible, you know that the onboarding process for this individual can be more fast-paced than for others. By truly knowing your new employee, you can offer what they need to become successful. Do you want to know more about how to help someone improve their soft skills? 


An understanding of these behaviors will help you (and the new employee) adjust expectations and minimize stressful situations. This way both sides will be able to establish realistic & attainable goals for the present & the future. 




Are you ready to jumpstart a new hire’s performance by personalizing the onboarding process?
Get in touch with us & we’ll be more than happy to show you how!

Cheers, Anete

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