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As a provider of pre-employment tests and technical skill assessments, we receive plenty of questions about pre-employment tests every day, one of which being, “What are the different types of pre-employment tests?” In this post we will define each type of pre-employment test and the benefits behind each one. First, let’s identify each kind of pre-employment assessment:

  1. Rubik's CubePre-employment (entry-level) skill assessment
  2. Aptitude test
  3. Personality test
  4. Cognitive test
  5. Proficiency Test

Why use any type of pre-employment test?

Any employer or hiring manager will tell you there are plenty of reasons to use any of the above tests, some of which will umbrella the entire group.

Interviews and resumes

While interviews and resumes are an important part of the hiring process, they don’t provide the opportunity to gauge how well an individual will fit into a workforce. It’s too easy for candidates to fluff up a resume or act their way through an interview. Consequently, each type of test is designed to identify how well an individual can perform while on the job. Of course, each test examines different metrics and attributes to provide that information, which makes each of them unique.

wooden hour glassSpeed up a time-consuming process

The hiring process is tough and will often put the hiring manager in a challenging, time-consuming position. To expedite the process, pre-employment tests provide quantifiable results. Results are used alongside interviews, applications, and resumes—giving the hiring committee data to compare each candidate. That ultimately makes pre-employment tests a critical, time-saving tool in the decision-making process.


Lastly, new hires are expensive. In fact, onboarding a new employee costs approximately $4,000 according to That doesn’t include the new salary, workspace, equipment, training, or whatever may be needed for a new hire to perform their job. All of that equates to thousands of dollars and if the new hire doesn’t work out, that can be a huge loss of revenue. Pre-employment tests are meant to prevent such losses, helping companies identify the best candidate who will have the most significant and long-term impact on the company.

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The different types of pre-employment tests

Pre-employment (entry-level) skill assessment

These technical skill assessments are designed to identify the specific skills and knowledge of an employee at the entry-level. These tests are industry-specific, and in some cases are specific to the company. They are specifically used to ensure that an applicant has the knowledge to become an impactful member of the hiring company’s workforce. Keep in mind, tested knowledge ranges from technical skills, safety procedures, naming conventions, and more. Skill assessments are not only used in the hiring process but to also identify additional training opportunities for employees.

You can learn more about pre-employment tests offered by NBS here.

Aptitude test

Aptitude tests are often confused with pre-employment skill assessments. However, these tests are designed to determine the probability of a person’s success in areas they are not yet trained. To put that simply, they’re used to measure how well an individual can learn specific skills. These tests are used across all industries and have proven to help employers hire and train valuable employees.

Smiley FacePersonality test

Personality tests are relatively self-explanatory. They are designed to identify an individual’s personality traits. That may sound a bit crude, but the objective is to help employers gauge how well an individual will fit into their workforce and work environment. Generally, these tests do not focus on traits like humor or fear. They focus on characteristics that employers desire in an employee like honesty, confidence, persistence, etc.

Cognitive test

Like aptitude tests, cognitive tests identify a candidate’s ability to learn. However, these tests are not designed to gauge an individual’s ability to learn specific skills. Instead, these tests are more general, measuring things like memory, perceptual speed, math skills, reasoning, and reading comprehension. Too often these tests are mistaken for a test that measures an individual’s intelligence. At NBS, we believe that intelligence has many aspects, much more than a test can identify. Cognitive tests simply help determine how well someone can learn.

Proficiency Tests

Proficiency tests determine a candidate’s proficiency in certain areas.This may sound similar to skill assessments but the areas tested are not necessarily technical skills. They assess more general areas like speaking a foreign language, writing, or math.

Partner with NBS to build your superior workforce

At NBS, we offer a wide variety of pre-employment technical skill assessments. Our tests are designed to be fair and accurate, identifying a candidate’s true knowledge and skills. With our test results, employers gain quantifiable data to add to their hiring process, ensuring that their hires are impactful and worthwhile. We also offer our 21st Century Skills for Workplace Success Test,  which measures soft skills.  Some of these areas include Speaking and Listening Skills, Work Ethic, Self Presentation, and Attendence.  A blueprint for all of the duty areas covered on this assessment can be viewed here.

Contact NBS today for all of your pre-employment testing needs!