Those who have looked for a new career in the last few years know the hiring environment has changed. Previously, one or perhaps two personal interviews were conducted by HR or management representatives. In turn, they would make the decision to hire.

Today, as more jobs can be worked remotely, interviews are no longer enough. Instead, many companies utilize a series of pre-employment assessments. Through a combination of hard and soft skills tests, they can determine the consistency of a candidate as a potential employee.

What Makes Up Pre-Employment Assessments?What makes up these pre-employment assessments depends on the industry — at least for the hard skills tests. The soft skills will most likely be similar across various industries.

By mixing and matching these qualifiers, employers get a rounded picture of a candidate. They get a sense of their personality, how they handle stressful situations, and their level of problem-solving. In addition, since interview guides can be standardized, there’s more consistency to this process.

When the assessments are completed, the employer has a list of top candidates to choose from. At this point, they can select an individual or apply a final pre-employment assessment to all of them. Doing this may determine which candidate has a slight edge over the others.

Hard Skills Versus Soft Skills

Normally, pre-employment assessments are a combination of hard and soft skills tests. Hard skills tests will vary in each industry or, if in a large company, per department. For instance, a candidate for a job in IT programming may be given a hard skills test in creating or troubleshooting code. Someone seeking a position at a manufacturing plant could be given tests on operating certain machinery or driving vehicles like forklifts.

On the other hand, soft skills tests could be similar between industries. These reviews look into a candidate’s personality and how they work with others. It can involve teamwork exercises or scenarios where tensions between co-workers need to be eased. Cognitive ability is another item reviewed in soft skills tests. The goal here is to examine a candidate’s thought processes when presented with certain situations.

Assessments and Technology

The use of analytical programs and even Artificial Intelligence (AI) are a growing part of pre-employment assessments. There are a few reasons for this.

One of these is organization. Companies like Berke (https://www.berkeassessment.com/) have created applications which standardize candidate assessments as much as possible. By recording and compiling all test factors, organizations can discover which candidates fit their needs without going through every piece of paper.

Another is a better way of data gathering. The longer an assessment is, the less likely the candidate will complete it. And if they do, then it might not have all the information needed. By using hard and soft skills test which focus on their strengths, companies have a better idea of who they want to hire.

A third reason is information retrieval through AI. Interview experts say an employer knows if a candidate is right for their company in the first six seconds. However, that’s if they meet face-to-face. It’s harder to make that assumption through a Skype chat or even a phone call.

Hence, the reason AI is becoming a powerful interview tool. Through gaming and video interviews, recruiters can gain a better understanding of the candidate. During the pre-employment assessment, video game play can reveal how well they do at troubleshooting. Video interviews and display the candidate’s reaction to certain questions and the answers they provide.

Through facial recognition programs, employers can determine the interviewee’s emotions as well as mood and stress level. As the interview progresses, they can be alerted to these changes. In the end, how the candidate reacts to certain questions can determine if they move to the next stage of the hiring process.