Pre-employment Assessments: Evaluating Candidates’ Technical Aptitude

A substantial part of interview time for prospective new employees is devoted to understanding their behavior and attitude towards their work and growth. This helps the employer understand whether the new employee would match the company culture and display the right conduct in line with the vision of the employer.

This is not enough, though. The technical expertise of the candidate is a crucial factor in the decision-making process. For instance, a research associate needs to know the subject thoroughly and have the necessary educational credentials as well as related academic achievements like published research. It is not enough to know that the person is a good collaborator or a self-starter. For such roles, it is equally important to assess the aptitude for the specific job role.

Why is it important to evaluate your candidates’ technical aptitude?

Let us take the example of technical roles where the employer expects a certain degree of technical expertise from the employee. Sadly, a large number of applicants misrepresent their technical skills or work experience in their resumes.

Instead of going by what is written on the resume, it is always prudent to carry out the appropriate assessments of technical skills prior to offering employment. Also, a test of technical aptitude can help the employer to shorten the list of applicants in a fair and objective manner.

What are pre-employment assessments?

Depending on the role for which an applicant has applied, several assessments are carried out before rolling out an offer. Some of them like personality tests, emotional intelligence tests, or tests of risk-taking ability are used to judge the mental makeup of the applicant. For technical roles, though, cognitive aptitude tests and technical skill tests are required. These are used to judge whether the employee can fulfill the job requirements.

The pre-employment assessments for technical roles would include some or all of the following, depending on the job role:

  • Front-end development
  • Back-end development
  • Full stack development
  • Database management
  • Data science
  • DevOps
  • Testing and quality assurance

Mistakes made in technical aptitude evaluation during the screening period

While organizations might think that pre-employment technical aptitude tests will ensure that the right person gets hired, some common errors might creep in while designing and administering the tests.

  1. For positions that require experience, the applicant might have fallen out of the habit of giving tests. The pressure of a test environment might result in suboptimal answers. For such positions, the employer should supplement the tests with a detailed interview where the applicant is given an opportunity to talk about past projects and the learning from them.
  2. There could be outliers at both ends of the spectrum during aptitude evaluation. An applicant who impresses during an evaluation might not do as well in a real project environment. Conversely, someone who does not do well on an evaluation might turn out to be a valuable contributor or leader on the job.
  3. One size might not fit all during technical aptitude. The aptitude tests must be suitably tailored according to the job skills and work experience required for a particular role. If this is not done, and a standard test is administered for all applicants, the test could turn out to be too easy or too difficult with respect to the job role.
  4. It is not uncommon to find applicants using support or even cheating during pre-employment tests. This is wrong on two levels. First, the candidate might get

selected and cause business losses later. Second, it would dilute the ethics of the company. If the hiring company does not take steps to prevent this, it can result in the wrong candidates getting selected.

How pre-employment tests help companies get more accurate results

The increased use of technology is one way for companies to avoid mistakes during pre-employment tests. The use of artificial intelligence is making several aspects of hiring more efficient, including pre-employment tests for technical roles.

The increased reach would ensure that good candidates are not left out of the screening process. Data-driven judgments and hiring decisions would rule out bias in the selection process. A robust remote proctoring software can prevent applicants from using unfair means during such pre-employment tests. These measures can ensure that the pre-employment aptitude tests help the company filter out unsuitable candidates.


The experience and instinct of the hiring team are useful in ensuring that the best candidates get selected. This needs to be supplemented with technological interventions that can improve human intelligence and also iron out the human flaws of the hiring team. This reduces the time taken, makes the process more efficient, and produces far better results for the hiring company.


COGBEE is an AI-enabled smart and collaborative candidate screening and interviewing platform. Its intelligent screening mechanism enables talent acquisition teams to comprehensively conduct the entire recruiting process.