The hiring process involves a series of steps designed to screen out unsuitable applicants and choose the best candidate for the job. A growing number of companies are utilizing talent assessment, also called pre-employment assessment, to determine whether or not an applicant is a good fit for the job. These assessments help predict a candidate’s on-the-job performance and behaviours. They also provide an objective platform to benchmark all candidates against.


Talent assessment may include one or more of the following types of tests:

  • Verbal reasoning: The applicants are provided with a passage to read followed by several “True”, “False” and “Cannot say” multiple choice questions.
  • Numerical reasoning: The applicants are provided with a statistical table with facts and figures and asked to answer multiple choice questions. They may use a rough sheet to do the calculations but are not permitted to use a calculator.
  • Checking tests: These tests are designed to measure the applicant’s ability to compare given information quickly and accurately.
  • Calculation tests: These tests are designed to measure the applicant’s ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide quickly and accurately.
  • Inductive assessment: Also referred to as abstract reason or diagramming style tests, this test is designed to measure the problem solving skills of the applicant. Candidates who perform better than others in this test tend to have greater conceptual and analytical capacities.
  • Personality questionnaire: These questions are designed to assess an applicant’s behavioral preferences, such as how they like to work, and how they deal with problems, feelings and emotions.
  • Motivation questionnaire: The questionnaire is designed to understand which situations may increase or decrease the applicant’s motivation and job satisfaction. The idea is to determine how conditions in the workplace could affect the applicant’s motivation.
  • Situational judgments: These tests are designed assess the applicant’s ability to choose the most appropriate course of action in a workplace situation. They help the interviewers understand how the applicant would handle situations that they could encounter in the job they are applying for.


After the applicant has taken the test, he or she may either be told their results immediately or they may never be told; it depends on company policy. Pass or fail is only a relative term and a company can set its own criteria depending upon what kind of employee it is looking to hire. A company should define what kinds of results they would hope to see from their ideal candidate. Assessment parameters may differ between different roles for the same company as well.


Talent assessment tests are based on case studies of hiring and retention and analysis of employee data. The results of the test give the company an indication of how closely the candidate matches the company’s hiring specifications. Most companies conduct talent assessments, or choose an agency to do so for them, as a part of the screening process to decide which candidates to interview. This ensures that only the right applicants are interviewed for the job. This is the reason they are so crucial to the hiring process.


As part of The Headhunters recruitment process every candidate we interview has taken our custom Workstyle and Performance Profile (WPP) assessment. The WPP is a behavioural assessment which gives you a snapshot of person’s default settings at work. It focuses on seven dimensions affecting a person’s workstyle e.g. Calm vs Reactive, Conventional vs Open-Minded. Both the candidate and the hiring manager are given separate reports based on the assessment, highlighting job fit considerations and potential areas for coaching and development. View a sample WPP Hiring Manger Report.