What You Need to Know About Criteria Assessments

We know that taking assessments can be a bit intimidating. To help you understand what to expect on a Criteria assessment, we created this page as a resource and reference that can help to ensure you put your best foot forward.

candidate taking test on phone

Who is Criteria?

Criteria is an assessment company that helps organisations find and hire awesome candidates just like you. Criteria assessments are scientifically validated to help both organisations and candidates alike find success in the workplace long-term.

What is a pre-employment assessment?

At their core, pre-employment assessments are used by employers and recruiters to reliably and objectively assess candidate’s abilities, skills, personality traits, or behaviour. Many businesses use multiple different types of tests in their hiring process to get a clearer and more complete understanding of your unique value and how you could fit into their organisation.

These assessments also make the recruitment process more fair by making sure each person that applies for a position is evaluated using the same objective criteria.

How can I prepare for these assessments?

Before you begin any assessment, the number one thing you can do to get ready is make sure you’re well-rested, focused, and comfortable so you can perform well on the assessments.

Visit this page to learn more about how to prepare for the assessments.

Why Am I Taking These Tests?

If this is the first time you’ve been asked to take a test to apply for a job, it’s normal to have a few questions about why they’re important. And this is a great question to have! Since more than 80% of employers use some type of pre-employment assessment, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to take one eventually when you’re looking for a new job. However, there are many different types of pre-employment assessments, each one assessing valuable attributes that impact on-the-job performance – even when the questions themselves don’t seem directly relevant to the role.  

At the end of the day, these assessments exist to help ensure that you’re a great match for the role. Now let’s explore the different types of pre-employment tests, including what they’re measuring, and how you can use them to ultimately help you get the job.

Personality Tests

Different people thrive in different environments – extroverts light up the room at a party, while introverts would rather cozy up with a great book. Similarly, different personalities excel in different ways in the workplace. Personality assessments are designed to make sure your personality is a solid match for the job you’re applying for. A job that is well-suited to your personality is more likely to result in higher performance and heightened job satisfaction in the long run.

You may subscribe to the philosophy that a job is merely a job, and that how you feel about that job at the end of the day doesn’t really matter much as long as your bills are paid. But finding a job that meshes well with your core personality traits is quite beneficial. When you’re more satisfied with your job, you lower your risk of burning out, are typically more productive, and there’s good chance that you’ll stay with the job longer. All of these things are just as good for you as they are for any company that’s looking to hiring you.

Keep in mind that there is no way to “fail” a personality test. This is because there’s no such thing as a “bad personality” – it’s simply that a personality that isn’t well-suited for a particular job. Criteria’s personality assessments only look at work-relevant at personality traits. The personality assessment results just tell a prospective employer how you are likely to behave and interact with others. The results don’t depend on having any special knowledge or skills, so there’s no need to study beforehand.

Skills Tests

Can you back up that skillset you’ve got on your CV? Skills tests assess your current knowledge or abilities in a particular subject matter.  You’ll only be invited to complete tests on skills or knowledge that are core to the role you’re applying for. In general, these tests evaluate basic skills like computer literacy, or your ability with specific software, like Microsoft Excel or Word.

Wondering if you’re allowed to study for this test? Sure! Skills testing assesses your current knowledge or skills in specific areas of expertise, so if you feel it would be useful to ‘brush up’ on your skills before completing the test, you are free to do so.  However, please note that you may not use any reference materials or other assistance while completing the tests.

By taking a skills test, you prove that you’re capable of meeting the required skills for the job. Strong performance on this type of test increases a hiring manager’s confidence in your abilities. So long as you have the necessary skills, these tests are easy as pie!

Emotional Intelligence Tests

Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, is more than just the latest hiring fad. Having high EI is invaluable and directly related to success across different career path. Emotional intelligence is your capacity to understand your own and other’s emotions, and to use emotions to enhance thought.  This includes your ability to recognise different emotions, use emotions to solve problems effectively, understand different emotions, and to manage emotions appropriately.

If a job requires a lot of person-to-person interaction, companies are more likely to give an EI assessment. Research indicates that by determining a person’s ability to understand and use emotions, prospective employers can identify candidates who are more effective when working with and managing others. Criteria uses an ability-based assessment of emotional intelligence with three interactive experiences.

Because EI is an intrinsic ability that doesn’t rely on any specific knowledge, it’s not a test that can be studied for. The best thing you can do to prepare is to ensure you’re in a comfortable, distraction-free environment, and that you read the instructions and check example questions carefully before you start the assessment.

Aptitude Tests

Cognitive ability testing assesses your general cognitive capacity – also known as “general mental ability” or simply “aptitude.” Aptitude assessments measure your ability to think critically, learn, and solve problems through verbal, math, and logic questions. Their results are predictive of how well you will acquire, organise, retain and apply information in a working environment. Research consistently shows that these skills are commonly linked to job performance across a broad range of jobs. In fact, cognitive aptitude is considered to be the single strongest predictor of future job success.

While an assessment like this may seem intimidating, measuring cognitive aptitude actually helps to actually level the playing field when you’re trying to get hired. The scores are purely objective. And since every candidate has to take the same test, these assessments reduce hiring bias in the companies that use them. Plus, the science is so well validated that by excelling on these tests, you’re able to set yourself apart from other candidates from the start of the application process. Aptitude assessments can help get your innate abilities recognised for a role that you may have otherwise been passed over based on your resume alone.

Workplace Alignment Assessments

Is the organisation you’re applying to a good match for your personal ethos? Workplace alignment assessments take inventory of the things you value most – in other words, the things you feel are most important in an ideal job – with the values that are endorsed by an organisation. The level of overlap between a person’s values and the organisation’s values has been empirically linked to loyalty to and desire to stay with an organisation.

This type of assessment measures how aligned a candidate's work preferences are with the organisation by ranking different characteristics of your ideal job from most important to least important. For example, you may value a steady and secure work environment more than the ability to work on a variety of tasks. This doesn’t mean you don’t value variety: just that you value a steady and secure work environment more. We recommend that you follow your initial reaction when ranking the items, as this will give the most accurate response. After you finish the assessment, your responses will then be compared with what organisation offers (as perceived by its employees or management) to determine the degree of match.

Because the assessment is not a pass or fail test and is not designed to assess any prior learning or skill, there is no need to study beforehand.  We recommend reading the instructions carefully before you start the assessment and ensuring you are in comfortable, distraction-free environment.

Workplace Attitude Assessments

There are two different types of attitude assessment that you may be asked to take by a prospective employer, depending on the job you’re applying for. The first involves your beliefs towards workplace safety, while the second focuses on various work-related issues, including reliability and honesty.

So, are you a risk taker, or do you tend to proceed with caution? Depending on the type of job you’re applying to, your belief and attitudes towards safety at work may have a significant impact. The Workplace Safety Profile helps employers understand whether you are likely to have a high, typical or low focus on safety at work. Dedication to safety in a work environment is critical for certain positions in order to mitigate and manage safety risks. This type of assessment allows an organisation to identify candidates that are well suited to its safety requirements and conditions.

The Workplace Productivity Profile, on the other hand, measures reliability and trustworthiness of prospective employees. It’s a different type of assessment that helps organisations mitigate risk by hiring people who are more conscientious, likely to follow rules, and have strong work ethic. This test helps companies avoid hiring people who participate in counterproductive workplace behaviours like lateness, fraud, or theft. It’s often used for more entry-level roles, or for positions where candidates will be handling sensitive information, money, or entering private residences.

Because these two types of assessments are designed to identify your attitudes and opinions about a number of work-related issues and situations and do not require any prior education or skill, there is no way to study for them. Just read the instructions and questions carefully before giving your honest answer.


Regardless of what kind of assessment you’re asked to take, rest assured that all of Criteria’s assessments are scientifically validated to measure your job-relevant skills and abilities. Our mission is to make the world of work more fair, equitable, and rewarding for everyone, and the way we design our assessments reflects these ambitions.