Test Taking Tips

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Why Testing

Many companies will include testing in their recruitment. There are many different tests used and the outcomes will guide the recruiters in their selection.

Pre employment testing is widely accepted as being more reliable than unstructured interviews, structured interviews or behavioral interviews. It is viewed as more objective and, when using a validated test, should have a level of accuracy you can depend on.

Multiple choice examination form with yellow pencilSome of the disadvantages are that they are costly, time consuming, hard to schedule with a number of candidates spread over the country, must be properly validated to avoid legal actions and some candidates may not like the testing and check out of the process or a great candidate can just not do well on testing and be dismissed from the list. An example of the latter disadvantage was one of my friends who, straight out of college got tested out of a job at the marketing department of a worldwide food company with as reason he was not “marketing oriented enough” only to go on and write a book about marketing, make a great career in marketing and eventually return to the same company who did not hire him as his employer acquired them and made him the CEO of that business. A major disadvantage is also that the tests usually focus on the future potential of the employee but that would not be a direct guarantee of current performance in the job the company is planning to fill. So choosing a suitable test is important and just using the same test for all positions may not be wise. Finally, like with taking the defensive driving course online, there is always the chance that the candidate will get some help when completing the test at home on their computer.

Types of Tests

There are many tests on the market. Tests that can be taken online, tests that can be done by the company’s hiring manager or recruiter and tests that may only be done under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Then there are tests for your job knowledge, your aptitude towards job related behaviors, your intelligence, your cultural fit, you future potential, your career direction etc.

Questions then come in various forms:

  • Questions with a particular problem to solve
  • Questions about your past, future, behavior or ambitions where you need to answer from a few given choices
  • Questions about your past, future, behavior or ambitions where you need to choose between two statements
  • Questions about your past, future, behavior or ambitions where you need to say true or false
  • Questions about your past, future, behavior or ambitions where you need to show how much you agree or disagree with a certain statement
  • etc.

Some of the more popular pre-employment tests are:

  • Caliper Profile The Caliper Profile is part of a process of gathering information about an individual’s natural strengths, motivators, and potential to succeed in a particular role
  • The Kolbe index The Kolbe A Index measures a person’s instinctive method of operation (M.O.), and identifies the ways they will be most productive.
  • The Predictive Index System This defines the behavioral requirements of the job and identifies the natural behavioral drives of the candidate. This allows for a fit/gap analysis between the job profile and the personality profile of the candidate. It also gives key insights into the candidate’s training and coaching needs to support the onboarding process.
  • The Disc Profile This is is a personality assessment (not test) that provides insights into natural and adaptable behavioral styles in relation to the workplace, leadership, management, sales and other situations and environments.

There are many assessment tools on the market and our Test training page provides some more practice.

 

Tips

Whatever you do, don’t lie. Don’t try to “game” the system, don’t try to predict politically acceptable or favorable answers in an effort to pretend to be someone you are actually not. Remember two things; the tests usually have a build in system to signal if you are answering the questions in an unusual pattern and taking the test goes both ways, if you don’t pass the test that may be a sign that the job would not make you happy when you would start in it.

Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to some questions. I remember as test I took where I could not get any of the math questions solved. No problem, I got the job. You are presented tests made for various positions and not all questions and answers are actually crucial for your position.

Do not have your spouse or a friend take the test for you when it is an online version. This won’t help as the difference between the outcome of the assessment and the impression the interviewers get when meeting you will be striking and raise concerns.

Be honest even if it means that you answer about something that you are not proud of. Like “have you ever envied someone for something”. Truth is that we all have but if you answer no to the question a flag may be raised as that is quite unusual.

Work swift and don’t think too deep, it is just an assessment and the more you answer with your first instinctive response the better the result will reflect who you are. That may or may not help getting the job but at least it makes sure you don’t get selected for a job that would not fit you.

This is a great tip: Read the questions carefully. You’ll be surprised how people tend to skim over questions and provide answers to questions that are not actually asked.

Finally, remember: Be Proud of yourself! You made it this far based on who you are. You  are who you are, you are fine, be genuine and they’ll get that confirmed in your test. The company is not out to get you or to prevent you from joining, they are looking for some objective confirmation of the great impression you already made on them.

Practice

You will need to practice to become familiar with the type of questions they will ask. Don’t go there unprepared as you will be surprised by the unusual questions and loose valuable time to answer. 

A good place to start is the Psychometric Institute from Australia who have some test practice material on their website. 

Another good place to find practice material is Test Prep, it isn’t free but will provide you with an extensive report.

And  a few free sources for test practice are: E Test, SHL direct and Profile for Success

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