Finding the most qualified candidate for a job is seldom easy. Even when you think you’ve found the perfect candidates, they sometimes don’t succeed as you thought they would. Through pre-employment job simulations, recruiters can find out whether the seemingly perfect candidate will actually do well on the job.

Job simulation tests present real-life work scenarios that assess how well a candidate would perform if on the job. Simulations engage candidates in environments that recreate what they would encounter in real life. Like an astronaut in training has to master a space shuttle simulator, candidates can demonstrate their skills and expertise while navigating a job simulation.

Job simulations can apply to many different industries and functions, including call centers, manufacturing, finance, banking, and even simple office tasks. Say you’re looking for someone to run your company’s social media accounts. You can assess the candidates’ skills through MS Office and Digital Literacy simulations to make sure they are well versed in these competencies. Through these assessment tests, you can better determine if a candidate truly has the skills needed to succeed.

Some of the benefits of implementing pre-employment simulation tests include:

  • Higher engagement. The recruiting process isn’t always easy and can even be quite stressful and/or dull. Through job simulations, candidates can experience what a day on the job is like and will get a better idea of what the role entails, increasing their level of understanding and engagement.
  • Better accuracy. Since job simulations test how a candidate would apply his or her skills to an actual work situation, they showcase how the candidate will perform in real life. The scores of a simulation test more accurately predict whether the candidate will be successful or not.
  • Increased objectivity. The task of recruiting is mostly subjective—candidates write resumes and cover letters in their own words, boasting about their skills, while recruiters read those resumes with their own personal preconceptions. Job simulations objectively evaluate how a candidate applies those skills to real work situations, reducing the level of bias toward a particular candidate.
  • Lower costs. If time is money, then the time spent recruiting, hiring, and training adds up. The cost multiplies when candidates don’t perform as expected and have to be replaced, making the recruiting process quite costly. Assessment and simulation tests save you money by helping you hire the right candidate the first time.
  • Workforce assessment. Job simulation tests are not just for pre-employment assessments. You can conduct employee evaluations that include job simulations to assess your current workforce’s skills and abilities. This can help you determine where extra training is needed.

Of course, as with most things, job simulations have a few downsides. Establishing job simulation testing in your company does incur a cost. It may be eventually offset by money saved from smarter hiring, but it still needs to be budgeted for. Candidates may also be nervous while taking the job simulation tests, which can affect their responses and inaccurately assess their abilities. Some candidates learn quickly on the job, so while their job simulation test scores may not be very high, they could still prove to be excellent employees who learn while doing.

They can’t replace a recruiter’s experience and judgment, but together with the information gleaned from a candidate’s resume, references, and the all-important interview, simulations can provide independent, objective data about current skills and abilities that can prove invaluable. In context with all of your other sources of information, it can make your decision clear.

Have you used job simulation testing as part of your recruiting process? Do you think it effectively helps assess a candidate’s skills and job potential?

Eric Friedman, Author

Eric FriedmanEric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.

A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.

To learn more about Eric and eSkill, visit the company website at, or contact him on LinkedIn.

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