Why Pre-Employment Tests are So Important


When you interview a potential candidate for a new role within your organisation, you’ll most likely discuss their previous work experience, their career aspirations and education. However, you may be forgetting to ask one of the most important questions: are you fit for the role?

These days, it’s becoming more and more common for employers to ask this question and externally evaluate a potential candidate through the use of a pre-employment assessment, or job screen. This process ensures that the organisation has a clear understanding of the potential employee’s physical and mental abilities to ensure that they are suitable for the role they have applied for. This type of screening is especially useful when filling roles that are traditionally exposed to a higher level of risk, be it physical, environmental or situational.

What is a functional pre-employment assessment?

With musculoskeletal injuries and subsequent workers’ compensation claims on the rise in Australia, it makes sense that employers are now looking for ways to ensure a new candidate is physically able to perform the demands of the job for which they have applied.

A functional pre-employment consists of a series of tests that are designed to mirror the physical requirements of the role that the candidate is applying for. This type of assessment can test an individual’s range of physical skills such as strength (particularly in manual handling), stability, as well as identify any previous injuries that could prevent a candidate from performing their day-to-day tasks. Knowing all of this is extremely important when working in a physically demanding role.

Things that are commonly assessed as part of a functional pre-employment

  • The condition of a worker’s musculoskeletal health, including any injuries that may affect their ability to safely perform the inherent requirements of the role
  • Overall posture and postural fatigue
  • The range of muscle flexibility and joint movement
  • Functional movement technique, including bending, lifting, squatting, using stairs and ladders, and reaching
  • Manual handling evaluation
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Blood pressure

Advantages of a pre-employment screening

A good employer supports the health and well-being of their workers and has a strong duty of care to reduce safety risks in the workplace. One of the ways that you can do this is to run pre-employment medicals. We’ve briefly mentioned some of the advantages earlier in this post, but here are a few more that are worth mentioning:

  1. You’re legally required: Some jobs have legal obligations that need to be met, such as the national standards for Commercial and Heavy Vehicle driving or the Queensland Coal Board medical, to name a few. Assessing certain risks will ensure your employee is not at increased risk of injury to themselves or others.
  2. Reduces WorkCover claims: New employees have a significantly higher chance of sustaining a workplace injury, especially within their first few months onsite. Functional assessments are a great tool to assist you with job matching which in turn reduces the likelihood of a new employee sustaining an injury. This will help you avoid costs associated with WorkCover claims and absenteeism.
  3. Risk management: This is a vital step to preventing injuries from occurring in the workplace. For example, if you know someone is suffering or has suffered from a back problem, hiring them to lift heavy loads daily will exacerbate the issue. By having an understanding of the risk that a particular job may pose to an employee, you are better equipped to make modifications and changes to the role. Alternatively, you may look at creating a more frequent job rotation or assigning the individual to a different area where the loads are lighter.

Employ the right person, sooner

In the hiring process, it’s essential to take the time to assess each candidate’s functional health in order to manage their risk of injury in your workplace. Remember, it’s in your best interest and the interest of your potential employee to participate in a pre-employment assessment to help save on time and costs associated with hiring the wrong person for the job.

Whether you’re a large or small business, Bodycare can assess an individual’s ability to meet those inherent requirements of a job. Contact us today for a pre-employment screening assessment.