Best practices in online candidate testing

Testing in the recruitment process is one key step. HR professionals know that finding the right person for the job is a hard and tricky process. Matching the company’s needs with the applicants needs is the outcome of a long journey: testing, interviewing and saying “yes” to the offer. But until that fateful “yes”, the candidate has to prove that he is indeed the right person for the team.  

Digitize Your Pen & Paper

The journey of employment testing has undergone many changes. The biggest one is that pen & paper testing is no longer a viable choice. Testing is now computer based. Another milestone in it’s development is the arrival of online testing platforms, which make the recruiter’s job so much easier: they are time, money and resource saving. With just a laptop and a secure internet connection candidates can take the test from the comfort of their home. Meanwhile, the HR representative has a clear overview over the applicant pool and the test success rate. Looking at this fast evolving trend, an online testing platform is so much more than just that. It supplies invaluable insight on the current state of possible employees out there.  Moreover, the amount of applicants (successful or unsuccessful) will shed light on the skill sets they have, abilities, language knowledge, technical aptitudes and cultural awareness. Based on these percentages companies can align their people development plans accordingly and aim the job campaigns to a specific group.

Choosing the right testing tool

So you’ve screened hundreds of CVs and decided that a part of them will go through a testing phase. In multi-layered companies the testing process is already decided upon depending on the nature of the job. This is where the test type is chosen (may it be an ability test, knowledge or an English skill test). But what do you do when the job encompasses a multitude of skills or abilities? Choosing a relevant test is critical at this point;  especially for entry-level employees who might have the theoretical preparation but little practice. Applying numerical, logical and critical thinking/reasoning assessments is a good way to test strategic thinking, budget management or decision making.

Create your own tests to ensure cultural fit

Checking to see the degree of technical or business skills might appear as easy, since it takes the form of a GMAT, GRE or language test. These trials have been normed, validated and applied on various lots. The real trick is for cultural and personality fit! Adhering to company values & goals ensures that personal career goals are in sync with the overall company development. “Testing” for a personality fit is sometimes an unclear task, as people have different approaches to work situations and office politics. But some events (like an office argument, management changes, strict deadlines) can be put to the test with questions & case studies (based on real-life situations) that portray how the applicant would react under those circumstances. This is where HR professionals can be creative in the process of test development! Even the most ridiculous sounding question will challenge the applicant to get out of the comfort zone and think outside the box.

Make online testing user-friendly

An important aspect is that every candidate is unique. They might have graduated from the same university but their tactic is in no way the same. Aspiring professionals (as all professionals to be more precise) expect to be treated with respect and a strong sense of fair play. Online testing, especially when it’s done remotely, needs to be clear and user-friendly. Creating a “how-to” or a tutorial before the start of the real test certifies that candidates will know exactly what to do and where to click “next”. Time is an important factor. If there is a time constraint, a small clock/timer on the top of the page will guide them in respecting that constraint. Remember that testing, even after years of college, is still stressful and anxiety strikes the strongest of people! One key benefit of online testing is providing a familiar environment for the candidate to relate to – in front of the laptop or tablet.


Feedback and recruitment process timeline are 2 variables that greatly reduce stress levels (on both sides). The candidates know exactly when he will receive an answer, and the manager can tell when he’ll have his next team member.

The foundation of any recruitment endeavor sits strongly rooted in transparency, fairness and communication. To get the best talent on the market is not a difficult task when mutual respect and open discussions pave the way for a healthy business relationship.