Work from home is skyrocketing and interestingly, the global pandemic is not the only reason for its popularity. According to a survey, one in four Americans will be working remotely in 2021 and around 36.2 million Americans which is 22% of the workforce will be working remotely by 2025. This surge in “working from home” or “remote work” is due to its numerous benefits both for the worker and the employers. Employers can benefit from a talented pool of workforce that extends beyond the boundaries. In addition to this, the cost of business operations also reduces due to reduced onsite expenditures.
However, hiring a remote worker is not as simple as it sounds. Standardization of hiring processes and evaluation methods before onboarding remote workers can help in choosing the right candidates. For example, there are different types of pre-employment tests for remote workers that can help you evaluate the potential of a candidate before you extend a job offer.
Choosing the right pre-employment test can bring a lot of benefits such as:
- Assessing the actual level of skill and aptitude because some candidates may lie in their resumes (almost around 30%) but various types of pre-employment tests maximize your chances of making reliable assessments.
- Pre-employment tests lower the turnover rate, thus improving the chances of investing in the right person.
- Aptitude, skill, personality type, time management, problem-solving, and other similar tests can help you determine if the person is a perfect cultural fit for your organization before you make a hire.
However, all these benefits depend on how well you can administer these tests.
Let’s have a look at some of these pre-employment tests, their suitability for various positions, and benefits.
Types of Pre-employment Tests for Remote Workers
1. Integrity Testing
As advised by Warren Buffet, an organization should always look for an employee with a high level of integrity. This is because it directly affects one’s behavior and attitude at the workplace. When it comes to remote work, you already know that a remote worker is working without supervision, so the importance of this trait increases manifold. Are they honestly reporting their hours of work to you? Are they someone you can trust and share with them access to the company’s most valuable resources? The one thing that can help you in this regard is integrity testing.
An integrity test is a specific type of personality test designed to assess a candidate’s potential to remain honest, dependable, and trustworthy.
You can take a few actions to measure this trait at any time during your hiring process.
a) Ask Explicit questions (also called overt integrity questions)
This involves asking direct questions that help you identify if the individual you are hiring is trustworthy, honest, and fair in their business dealings. For example, the following questions will help:
- Would you report a colleague to your supervisor if you know that they are involved in some kind of misconduct?
- Tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult problem that raised ethical concerns.
- What do you think about plagiarism?
- Do you think you always try to follow the rules even when they are not in your best interest?
b) Ask Veiled Questions
The veiled question is an indirect question that can be incorporated somewhere within your application filing process or interviews. For example:
- True or False: I don’t like people dictating me to do something.
- True or False: I find it very difficult to make relationships with the people around me.
- Tell us about a time in your professional life when you did not compromise on a rule although the outcome was not in your favor.
- Do you think that in a specific situation it was better to hide the truth from your supervisor?
c) Use Integrity Testing Tools
Several pre-employment assessment tools offer integrity tests. You can consider this option by subscribing to such an assessment tool if it is challenging to prepare customized integrity tests internally. It is also worth mentioning that sometimes the integrity test is already embedded in the personality test that these hiring tools offer.
Out of all the various types of pre-employment tests, we consider integrity testing a must have.
2. Communication Skills Test
Language proficiency tests are essential for many job roles because they are directly related to work efficiency and productivity.
For example, an English language proficiency test is taken when you hire remote workers internationally. In almost every job role, whether it is a sales position, coordinator, management, HR, or content writing, language proficiency is necessary at varying levels in terms of writing, listening, speaking, and reading.
Now, the question is how do you test language proficiency?
- You can send certain questions to your applicants and ask them to record a video response to these questions. This is a good technique to measure conversational ability.
- Reading or writing can be tested using your custom questionnaire incorporated in a job application. If you are hiring a writing specialist, blogger, or copywriter, ask them to provide a work sample or complete a sample writing test.
- If you need your candidate to be able to answer messages or emails or create presentations, analyze their cover letter and email correspondence.
- An online test using any testing tool can also help you to efficiently test for the language skills.
3. Typing Tests
If you are hiring for a job role that requires typing skills, a typing speed and accuracy test becomes crucial. Usually, a data entry, note-taking, translation, transcription, or a clerical job requires fast and accurate typing. This can be assessed using an online typing assessment tool.
Some useful applications to help you measure this skill include Typist Test Pro, ISV Online, Selective Hiring, Mettle, ThriveMap, etc.
Using the above tools, you can ask the applicant to type different text samples to measure accuracy and speed. For example, a transcriptionist is asked to listen to a communication between two individuals and write as per their understanding. The scores can be formulated by combining average typing speed, keystrokes per minute, and typing accuracy. This score can help you assess if your new transcriber will be able to transcribe quickly without making many mistakes.
4. Customer Service Skills Tests
If you are hiring a remote worker for a job role that involves customer handling, you can use customer service skills assessment tests. Ask your candidate to provide answers in written or video form.
Some sample questions to test this skill may include:
- Have you ever had a remote customer service job? What did you find the most challenging?
- What do you think is the most important skill when it comes to communicating with customers remotely?
- How do you ensure that your home office offers a good working environment to communicate with customers?
- How do you keep yourself active and motivated while working remotely?
- Can you describe a time when you had to deliver bad news to your client?
- What is your viewpoint on handling an angry customer?
- Have you ever dealt with a very difficult client where you decided to escalate to your manager? How did you manage it?
- What would you do if your customer tells you about some major issues with your product/service and you don’t know all the answers?
- How do you manage a huge call volume?
- What is your opinion about “the customer is always right”? Why?
5. Programming / Coding Tests
Nowadays, if you look at the remote job platforms, a huge portion of the jobs are for software programmers. One reason is that 53% of the developers in a survey said that remote working is a priority for them when looking for a new job. Also, hiring developers who work remotely can be more cost effective and deliver better quality because you can reach top-class programmers from anywhere in the world.
However, if you are hiring a computer programmer, resume details that highlight the candidate as a programming specialist will not suffice and there is also a possibility that you don’t have that technical know-how to evaluate a programmer. For this, you can conduct a programming language skills test by using any online coding testing tool.
6. Personality Tests
To gain valuable insights into the interaction style, personality traits, and behavioral tendencies, personality tests may offer great help. These tests are valuable because a person’s personality remains relatively stable throughout an individual’s lifetime. The most common traits measured through these tests include conscientiousness, soft skills, emotional intelligence, extroversion and introversion, teamwork, cultural fit, work ethic, motivation, adaptability, etc.
Some common types of personality tests include but are not limited to:
7. Cognitive Ability / Aptitude Tests
Just like IQ tests, cognitive ability tests predict the general level of intelligence. This includes measuring an applicant’s ability to solve problems, think logically via verbal, numerical, and spatial questions.
Candidates with high cognitive aptitude have the superior vocabulary and communication skills and we know that is what most hiring managers want in their remote workers.
You can use any online cognitive ability testing tools and ask the candidate to fill them out along with sending their resume. This will minimize the screening stages and save time.
8. Tech Savviness
This is important to consider because a remote worker is connected to you via technology, constantly using the internet and a variety of applications. Occasionally they come across situations where they have to handle technical problems as well. Hiring a tech-savvy candidate will help you save time and money, even if you are not hiring for an IT position.
This ability can be tested using a few questions:
- What software have you used before including communication/collaboration tools?
- What is your level of efficiency in basic computer applications such as Word / Excel / PowerPoint?
- How did you manage to submit a task with a deadline when you lost your internet connection or your software got corrupted?
When evaluating the various types of pre-employment tests, you must consider testing technology skills of remote workers who are in non-technical job roles.
When you are working on remote talent acquisition, assessing the skills and competency virtually becomes challenging. However, if you are aware of how to leverage tools and technology, and design your hiring process specifically for remote workers, you can reap all the benefits associated with remote hiring. The various types of pre-employment tests and questions that we have introduced above can be used as a reference when building your assessment questionnaire. Be sure to look at our Forbidden Interview Questions list to avoid asking illegal questions during an interview.