Using Psychological Evaluations Online Before You Hire

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated April 25, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many human resource professionals understand that education, work experience, and references from prior employers can be essential screening factors in the hiring process. However, hiring an applicant who is qualified in those areas may not guarantee compatibility. In the modern workplace, personality traits, ability to compromise, and psychological well-being could be beneficial factors to consider when hiring.  

Often, an employee may work on projects and complete professional goals alongside a team within the company. A positive interview and personal experience do not necessarily guarantee that someone is a team player or that the person will fit in with the company culture. This type of situation may result from personality differences and may be avoided by using an online psych evaluation as part of the hiring process.

Conversely, candidates applying for a position might not have the traditional qualifications listed in the job description. However, a personality and psychological assessment may indicate that with training, they could fit in well with what you are looking for in an employee.

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Online psychological evaluations are valuable for hiring managers

What is a workplace psychological evaluation?

Many businesses evaluate prospective employees beyond the professional certifications required for open positions. They might consult the applicant's résumé, conduct face-to-face interviews, and contact previous employers. Businesses often want to determine an individual's past behavior, emotional health, and how they may act in the role they're applying for. 

However, employers may also want to learn more about a potential employee's personality, knowledge, skills, and ability to think critically and make healthy decisions.

Psychological evaluation tests are tools that may help measure those qualities in a job candidate. There are often tests written by psychologists developed especially to measure the suitability of applicants for specific positions. They are not mental health tests.

While some are written tests administered by hand, many may be available online. Services like Indeed often offer free or low-cost online evaluations and other online screening tools to applicants and employers using the platform.  

With the information gathered from an online screening test, employers may predict an individual's workplace performance, their ability to communicate and cooperate with fellow employees, and how they may react to direction from management. These tests are not looking for a mental disorder such as anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or an eating disorder. 

Organizations might administer the same assessment to every potential candidate in the interest of equality and fairness. The assessment tests may not always measure the outcome mathematically. Some evaluate a wide diversity of intangibles, like fine motor skills or the ability to handle stressful situations effectively. 

Often, the aim is to assess a candidate's potential strengths and areas where they still have growth opportunities. The administering party may also ensure that the tests are not used to discriminate based on race, sex, nationality, religion, disability, or age. 

How are pre-employment test results used?

After a test is used to narrow down the proper candidates for a position, an employer may set a time for personal interviews to allow the candidate to answer questions and speak to their strengths. Interviews could allow openness to communication and give insight into factors like the applicant's past life experiences and school or work history to judge the applicant's suitability and determine how they might fit in the company.

Tests can also be used when supervisors conduct evaluations assessing the employee's work performance and when making decisions about the employee's ongoing suitability for the job.  Managers may use the results to establish a professional personal development plan for the employee. 

Suppose the results indicate that the employee is no longer competent in the role. In that case, that personal development plan may include strategies for helping the employee improve or moving them to another role they're better suited for within the organization.

Types of psychological evaluations for employees

There are several types of employment tests and resources available online to be used by managers to avoid bias in choosing a candidate to hire and to determine the likelihood of whether a candidate will be successful in the role:

  • Personality Tests: Personality tests often assess traits that may be helpful in predicting how an individual will behave in certain situations. The questions may be repeated with different wording to eliminate the possibility of dishonesty and to ensure the test-taker is paying attention.
  • Skills Tests: Skills tests may assess a candidate's potential job performance and the ability to learn the skills necessary for the job. These questions are often designed to reveal if the candidate will be successful in the job if hired.
  • Cognitive Tests: Cognitive tests may measure a person's ability to reason, reading comprehension level, speed and accuracy in responding to questions, memory capacity, and mathematical understanding. These tests could also include testing the knowledge of a detailed job description.
  • English Proficiency: English proficiency tests can determine a person's proficiency in writing, reading, and conversing in English.

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  • Emotional Intelligence Tests: Emotional intelligence (EI) tests might survey a person's ability to understand their own emotions and the emotions of others. This test could reveal their ability to work well with colleagues and the public. It may also reveal if a person can handle problems and frustrations professionally.
  • Physical Exams: Physical exams are generally assessments to determine if a person is physically fit and healthy enough to do a job featuring physically demanding tasks.

Some potential employees may be concerned that a psychological evaluation may reveal mental health concerns, but that is not the design or goal of these assessments. A psychological evaluation is not an anxiety test, depression test, addiction test, or eating disorder test. It is only meant to assess whether a candidate is a good fit for a role.

The benefits of psychological evaluations online

Some employers find themselves in a position where each resume they receive is comparable to the rest, or every interviewee brings similar skill sets and abilities to the job. Or perhaps they encounter job applicants who are skilled at interviewing but not necessarily qualified to do the job. Human resource professionals may anticipate and adapt to these sorts of circumstances. 

Therefore, current best hiring practices for many critical positions often include a psychological test and a personality test to assess the candidate's psychological compatibility with other individuals, general aptitude for the position, intelligence, and compatibility with the company's culture. 

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Online psychological evaluations are valuable for hiring managers

How to perform a psychological evaluation online

Several online services may support the hiring process as a specialty or as part of a more comprehensive offering. The tests and evaluations may be developed by psychologists and might cover a candidate's ethical inhibitions or personality type. Such a service can make general recommendations about team composition, such as whether a goal-oriented manager can effectively work with a process-orientated specialist.

If you're seeking online personality tests or psychological evaluations, search online to find what's available for your company or industry. Some job search boards also offer their own psychological or skill-based tests and support for employers.

Counseling for employees

If you're a prospective employee and are nervous about having to complete a health or psychological exam or test when applying for jobs, you might benefit from discussing your worries with a psychologist. Often, therapists are trained to offer insight into personality types, healthy behaviors, and socialization. They can also help with an existing mental health condition such as depression or eating disorders. 

If you're applying for a job online, you might also try therapy online with an online therapist. This treatment modality is often more available, affordable, and flexible than in-person therapy for getting immediate help, which might require a long commute to an office. You can choose the time and place you receive care through online counseling. Additionally, studies show that internet-based therapy is often more effective. One study showed that 71% of online therapy participants preferred it to traditional methods. 

Online therapy can also be beneficial for treating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions while helping to prevent the consequences of mental illness – like suicide*.  

If you're a prospective employee or employer who thinks counseling could benefit you, whether in your professional or personal life, consider signing up for an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. Counseling can be a brave first step to taking control of your personal growth, mental health, and wellness. 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 to talk to someone over SMS. Support is available 24/7.


If you strive for a hiring process that is auditable and efficient in matching the correct candidate to a role that fits them, online psychological evaluations may help. Hiring a candidate who isn't compatible or capable could be a risk monetarily and productively. These are some of the mistakes HR departments are often responsible for avoiding, which is why utilizing every hiring tool available, including employee psychological tests, may be essential.
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