Pre-employment tests: What every job seeker should know

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, May 20, 2012

(ARA) – With the economy strengthening, today’s job seekers have more of an opportunity to find a job than in years past. However, that hardly means that companies are taking the decision to hire lightly. With still unprecedented numbers of applicants vying for each open position, companies are putting a greater emphasis on choosing the best of the group, and they are armed with more weapons than ever to do just that.

A heightened quest for information on prospective employees, coupled with the increased ease to administer assessments, means that job seekers are more and more likely to face some form of a pre-hire evaluation as part of the hiring process.

“Pre-employment assessments have been one way to help companies make sense of who they have in the pipeline,” says Brian Penner, director of assessment and selection at Prudential Financial. “More and more companies have developed a strong appetite for measuring how people think and act – just think about Facebook to see the value in this. Pre-employment assessments provide information on difficult-to-measure human behaviors that give employers the ability to easily compare one candidate with another in an objective way.”

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Penner notes that it is important for job seekers to remain confident if asked to take an assessment. “The good news is that assessments cost money, which should signal to you that the company thinks you’re important enough to invest in.”

Additionally, Penner shares his top seven tips for job seekers if they are asked to take an assessment as part of their application process:

* Most assessments today are online and allow you to take the assessment wherever your computer has connectivity to the Internet. This means convenience, but it also means that it is critical that you plan ahead so you can work in a distraction-free area.

* Get sleep the night before. Being well-rested and alert are the building blocks for success.

* Be yourself. It is easier to be yourself than someone else. Don’t guess who they want you to be. Remember, you’ve been invited to take the assessment because of your skills and experiences. Those who try to be someone different during the assessment don’t fare as well and come across with contradictory results.

* Stay relaxed, and as contrary as it may seem, try to have fun with the assessment. There are usually a number of factors that go into the hiring decision and assessments are just one piece of the puzzle.

* Some tests are timed. In these cases, work quickly and accurately. Instructions will tell you if you’re penalized for a wrong answer. If not, leave yourself time to guess the correct answer when time is running out.

* Research the employer. See if you can get information on the hiring process. Try to find practice tests.

* Lastly, almost all assessments measure more than one thing. This means if you mess up one section, don’t give up. Keep trying. Your performance on the entire assessment is what counts and everybody already knows that you’re not perfect, so don’t get frustrated in the middle of the test if you feel you’ve done less well on one part.