<< back to Student Resources

Pre-Employment Testing

Since employers often spend thousands of dollars on the recruiting process, many are now requesting that applicants complete an array of tests as part of the application process. These assessments, excluding drug tests, are usually administered after your initial interview and are used to 'measure' some or more of the following competencies:

Customer Service • Teamwork• Leadership • Intelligence • Integrity • Reliability • Basic Literacy • Safety • Drug use • Honesty • Technical Skills • Problem Solving • Sales potential • Mechanical Aptitude • Verbal Ability • Math Ability • Job-related knowledge • Attitude toward technology • Ability to learn • Flexibility of thought • Assertiveness

The tests most often take the form of multiple choice, short-answer questions, or problem-solving tasks. There is no way to study and, for some assessments, there is no correct answer. Sometimes the tests are administered via a website or telephone, but generally they are given by pencil and paper prior to setting up an interview.

Contrary to what you might have heard or believe, these tests are only part of the hiring process. The organization is not trying to trick you and does not use the results as the only criteria to make a hiring decision. You may be asked to complete one or more tests during the recruiting process. The most common forms of testing are:

  • Psychological or Personality - Tests that attempt to measure a candidate's preferences and general abilities
  • Aptitude - Tests that measure I.Q.; employers use them to determine learning ability
  • Drug Testing

More About Drug Testing

Drug testing is fast becoming commonplace in the selection of personnel. While too expensive to be used in pre-selection of all employees, candidates should understand that they may be asked to take a drug test. Questions about civil rights have surfaced since the recent publicity about these tests, but employers have established that it is within their rights to see that the workplace is free from hazards

The seriousness of a positive test result should not be taken lightly since having this on a record may be very detrimental for future employment consideration. Policies in companies differ. Re-testing for false positive tests may be routine, and re-testing 60 days, six months or one year later may be allowed. Some companies refuse any retest and a rejection is permanent.

What can applicants do regarding drug testing?

  • Ask for reasons for rejection.
  • Report any prescription drugs or medications taken before testing.
  • Know the policies on re-testing.
  • Find out what type of laboratory testing is done to ensure fair and accurate procedures.
  • Be aware that undue interest or reluctance to test may be interpreted negatively.

What should applicants not do?

  • Attempt to smuggle in a drug-free sample... often 'observed' testing is used.
  • Plan to dilute sample at test site ... Many companies use the 'Tidy Bowl' type colored disinfectants.
  • Hope that enough time has passed since last usage. Learn the facts about residual differences and time spans.
  • Hope the courts will rule against it before it becomes a problem for you.
Diversity Resources
Students with Disabilities