Are there self-administered career tests I can give to potential hires before interviewing them?

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Yes.  There are hundreds of online tests that are inexpensive and easy to administer.  Kenexa “ProveIt” offers over 800 online tests ranging from different levels of accounting to technical proficiency to very common office skills (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, typing tests, math, spelling, grammar, etc.) and testing in a number of different languages, too.  All are well defined and provide instant test scores to the administrating company, as well as benchmark data, and detailed reports.  It really only makes good sense to use testing before investing time in interviewing.  After all, no matter how nice a person is, if s/he does not have the requisite skills to do the job, it is not necessarily kind to bring him/her in and interview him/her.  Even if there is plenty of time to train a new person, having the data on his/her level of skills in required areas as s/he is brought on board will help in developing/obtaining the proper training to bring him/her up to speed most expeditiously.  So, testing still makes good sense.  

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