Common Workplace Assessment Tools for Employees and Job Applicants


Hiring good, quality people is part work, part art, and part luck. It is also something we rather not be doing as it takes more time and effort than it is worth to go through thousands of applications and resumes.

If your company needs more staff, you need a quick way to evaluate your potential candidates so your company can get back doing what it does best and profit from its investments. This is where workplace assessment tools come into play.

Workplace assessment tools help your company make successful hiring decisions and foster worker productivity while maximizing your company’s profits up to about $10 per hour per employee or over $10 million annually. Available in convenient online and offline formats, these tools help determine how well a person will perform a job given a set of measurement criteria. You just need well-designed tools that meet for your needs.

To be effective, workplace assessment tools must:

  • Offer a clear definition of performance for the job in question.
  • Effectively measure key candidate characteristics that influence job performance.
  • Possess a standardized, consistent format that ensures that all candidates are assessed in the same way.

While every assessment provider has their own brand names for these tools, they all fall within one of these common types.

  1. Qualifications Screens – Qualifications questionnaires assess how specific candidate characteristics measure up against the needs of the job screening out anyone who does not meet the minimum requirements, experience, schedule availability, educational degrees, or citizenship.
  2. Structured Interviews – Face-to-face, by phone, or over the internet, structured interviews evaluate employee responses to pre-defined questions built around the job.
  3. Job Simulations – Job simulations drop your employees and potential employees into real word scenarios to evaluate their reactions, skills, insights, and instincts.
  4. Knowledge and Skills Tests – Knowledge and skills tests evaluate specific skills such as computer programming or accounting laws.
  5. Talent Measures – These measure “natural” personal characteristics that are associated with success in certain jobs such as problem-solving skills, work ethic, leadership characteristics, and interpersonal style. Talent measures are the best predictors of superior job performance.
  6. Culture Fit and Values Inventories – Similar to talent measures, these tools assess how well applicants fit in your company’s culture and work environment.
  7. Background Investigations – Background investigations gather information on a candidate from third party sources, and include employment verification, criminal-record checks, and reference interviews.
  8. Integrity Tests – You can avoid costly hiring mistakes by using integrity tests to assess the trustworthiness of your employees and applicants, especially in jobs where theft or shrinkage has traditionally been a problem.
  9. Drug Screens – These tests check your employees and job applicants for past drug use by analyzing a physical specimen from the candidate (e.g., hair, urine).
  10. Physical Aptitude Tests – Physical exams assess physical abilities such as strength, endurance, dexterity, and vision.

These ten workplace assessment tools work best when multiple tools are used in a linear fashion, with the most inexpensive and least time-consuming being used first. Candidates move to later steps only after they pass the previous assessment step.

Like any other tool, workplace assessment tools can do substantial damage if they are poorly designed or implemented. Improper use of assessment can lead to lost time, lost revenue, and even legal action.

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