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How to Implement Attention to Detail Skills Tests in Your Hiring Process

Pre-employment tests for attention to detail.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Although the numbers vary by company and position, on average 250 resumes are received for every corporate job opening. At that rate, hiring managers need weeks to process resumes and cover letters. When an applicant uploads their resume to a site like Indeed.com, they’re up against fierce competition, as hundreds of thousands of other resumes get posted each week.

A high number of job applications creates a tremendous backlog and wastes valuable time and resources, which is why recruiting managers have the unenviable task of filtering out unqualified applicants and narrowing down their choices as fast as possible. By screening candidates using standardized evaluation practices, pre-employment testing can considerably reduce time-to-fill and increase the quality of new hires.

As pre-employment tests can rate applicants by measuring skills, intellect, personality or other attributes, most hiring managers find them highly beneficial. Read on to learn more about the importance of attention to detail pre-employment tests and their use in the hiring process.

In this article, we’ll cover:

What are the Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing?

Pre-employment tests are useful tools for speeding up the hiring process and weeding out potential bad hires, with the goal of making more informed hiring decisions. While early-stage interviews provide some information, pre-employment tests provide reliable and unbiased scores that can be used to make data-driven decisions. Plus, they can provide a great ROI and be simple to use and implement in the hiring process.

Employee evaluation tests will shed light on employee strengths and predict future performance indicators when used as part of the broader hiring process. In order to properly measure candidate aptitude, suitability, and fit, most organizations use at least one type of standardized pre-employment test in their hiring process, and many rely on a combination of tests that complement each other, with each test being selected based on the position that needs to be filled.

Pre-employment tests that assess cognitive talents, hard skills, and even soft skills all have a significant role in hiring processes. While the benefits of attention to detail are well-known in both the private and public sectors, it can be one of the most important abilities to measure.

It is vital for employees to avoid costly mistakes as a result of overlooking critical details, but not all mistakes are created equal. An employee working for a bank is significantly more likely to make serious and financially measurable mistakes than a house painter. Some positions simply do not require the same level of attention to detail skills. A janitorial position doesn’t typically require the same detail orientation level as a medical worker.

Why Should Attention to Detail Tests Be Used?

Because attention to detail and work quality are typically linked, it’s regarded as an important ability that almost all employees should have. The benefit is found in accurately identifying errors and mistakes to avoid costly mistakes that could cost far more than the cost of a bad hire.

Although it is possible to learn and improve attention to detail, hiring managers can be advised to identify candidates with this skill, before hiring them.

Although some parts of attention to detail are visible during the interview (error-free resume and cover letters, filling out required documentation without spelling mistakes, etc.), the reality is that attention to detail is a trait that takes time to measure, making it a time-consuming activity to be performed in an interview setting. But there are other options. Attention to detail pre-employment tests can reveal far more than simply reviewing a resume and conducting a 30-minute interview.

People who manage money, sensitive information, and delicate relationships with clients and government authorities may require meticulous attention to detail in an office or retail context. Employees will almost certainly require great attention to detail if getting the intricacies of a task wrong costs the company money, time, or reputation.

How to Implement Attention to Detail Tests

To begin a pre-employment evaluation process, the employer must first identify which tests are required and then either select a pre-made test or develop a custom-tailored test based on the needs of the job position. Employers should also track the usage of the test, including scores and watching for any signs of adverse impact.

With many pre-made attention to detail pre-employment tests available, implementation is quite easy and does not consume too much time. While some companies may opt for an in-person assessment, other companies that allow remote work may opt for an online version. There are ways to deliver these tests online, including remote or online proctoring, which is when a screening test is administered online and the candidate can be supervised in real-time.

Candidates who perform well on attention to detail tests will be able to process textual and numerical data and arrive at the correct solution, without overlooking subtle nuances that can make a significant difference. Testing a potential new hire’s ability to notice details can be helpful if they’re applying for a position where data entry accounts for a large part of their daily responsibilities. There are attention to detail tests that focus on recognizing textual errors and also tests that focus on numerical errors. Because not all job positions require the same type or level of attention to detail, hiring managers should consider the position when determining which type of attention to detail tests to use.

How Much Weight Should Attention to Detail Tests Carry?

What if an applicant receives an extremely high score on a test? Is this the only relevant metric? Perhaps, but how can employers be sure they’re making the best selection possible? Should candidates who received a lower score on the test be automatically disqualified?

If an applicant fits all other requirements, a strong attention to detail test score could be the deciding factor in whether or not they are hired. However, perhaps relying on a single score too heavily isn’t always a good idea.

Many characteristics of a candidate’s aptitude, behavior, and skills should be taken into account while making the recruiting decisions. It’s best to use a variety of tests that have been designed by expert researchers, including industrial organizational psychologists who follow the guidelines of the EEOC and US Department of Labor. Many tests can complement attention to detail tests, such as grammar and spelling tests, typing and data entry speed tests, as well as reading comprehension tests. Employers should consider test results as one of several factors as part of the hiring decision, including interviews, references and other related experiences, as needed.

Regardless, it all ultimately depends on the position that management is attempting to fill. In terms of clerical work in the public sector (government, school districts, court systems), attention to detail is a crucial skill to have.


Implementing pre-employment attention to detail tests to determine if applicants are appropriate for the position can be extremely beneficial. All organizations, including the public sector, can find them helpful, as they are sure to help to reduce the risk of bad hires, improve the bottom line, reduce turnover and maintain employee satisfaction.

Pre-employment tests are used to avoid bias while hiring. While they do provide hard data to work with, test results should not be the sole deciding factor, as other factors have their place too. Soft skills, such as teamwork, should be taken into account too. Employees with strong attention to detail skills usually have a healthy level of perfectionism, focus, and good observation skills, among other attributes, all of which are reflected in their attention to detail score.

EmployTest specializes in developing pre-employment tests for the public sector (government), companies and nonprofits – to learn more about our process, download a free sample of our attention to detail test.