Is It Legal for Employers to Require Pre-Employment Tests?

Many organizations and recruitment agencies now employ what's called pre-employment testing to identify the best candidates to fill their positions. Although testing is no replacement for a comprehensive interview or other traditional selection, it can complement and enhance the process. However, this begs the question: Are pre-employment assessments legal? Let's look at the legal issues surrounding pre-employment testing.

Are Employers Allowed to Give Applicants Pre-Employment Assessments?

In general, yes—with a few caveats. But the legality of pre-employment testing really is dependent on the type of assessment being used, how the test is given, and what's revealed during the test.

Pre-employment testing is legal as long as the applicant is given prior notice that the assessment is being used and that the results will be considered in the hiring decision. The test should also be professionally developed and is administered according to the developer's intended use, which is finding out the potential of the employee or applicant.

When is Pre-Employment Assessment Illegal?

Pre-employment testing has the ability to give you the edge when choosing a candidate for job openings by ridding the process of unnecessary ambiguity. Instead of basing your hiring decisions on a set of general criteria, you can choose applicants that come closest to matching your company’s employment needs and values.

Pre-employment testing is legal in all 50 states.

However, there are some employment assessment tools that are not legal to use. For example, if you are looking to screen out applicants with disabilities, medical histories, or other protected statuses, you must take great care not to violate any discrimination laws.

If you require your applicants to complete any assessments that are illegal, such as a credit check or a test that will discriminate based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, the results cannot be disclosed. This means that you won’t be able to use the outcomes in determining the next steps of your hiring process.

Common Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Pre-employment assessments come in many different shapes and forms, each designed to provide a snapshot of a person’s abilities and skills. A few of the most common types of pre-employment tests include:

1. Personality Tests – There are many different types of personality tests. Some are designed to discover your personality type, while others will evaluate your emotional intelligence, such as being able to read and react to other people.

2. Cognitive Ability Tests – Cognitive tests are designed to measure an individual’s memory, decision-making abilities, math, and reading and writing abilities.

3. Work Simulations – There are a number of work simulation tests that you can use to determine how a candidate will handle hard work and stressful situations. Some of the most common work simulation tools include managerial simulations or situational judgment tests.

4. Workplace Assessments – Workplace assessments are used to determine how well a candidate might fit into the company and how they might perform on the job. For example, personality and interest tests can be used to see how well a person matches your company’s work environment.


The use of psychological tests in employment has been a controversial topic for many years—and rightfully so, given the history of discrimination and bias. However, with the right psychological test and knowledge of best practices, pre-employment testing can be a very useful tool in helping you choose the right person to hire.

If you want to get the top talent for your company, you need to take pre-employment tests very seriously. With the help of Kandio, you can hire great talent through the use of our FAANG style interviews and career skills assessment. We bring you the best assessment possible crafted by some of the most capable experts across the globe. Try Kandio for free and hire great talent now!

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