It’s easy to stretch the truth in a job search. We’ve seen candidates exaggerate their proficiency with a certain program and even lie about their education. Most employers still check references and verify key information, but many have taken it a step further adding pre-hire assessments to their screening process. These tests cover everything from personality to sales and technical proficiencies. Employers want to make smart hires and identifying candidates who are the right fit is an important part of that process. Here is some advice on how to prepare for some common pre-hire assessments that you might encounter in your job search:
Research and prepare for your test; practice if possible.
Some common pre-hire assessments include: Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, Adobe Creative Suite, Sales Aptitude, Personality, Problem Solving, Motivation & Leadership, Financial Modeling, and HTML. If you’ve claimed to be proficient in Excel but actually haven’t used it in a while, brush up on some key functions using an Excel tutorial or by researching key functions online. The goal here isn’t to learn something from scratch, but to get in the right frame of mind to be tested by having a practice run.
Understand what the test is gauging.
Personality assessments typically gauge things like problem solving abilities, resilience, and leadership potential. You want to be mindful of your answers. It’s hard to practice for a personality test, but you do want to think about what your responses say about you. Do your answers indicate that you’re someone who is a natural problem solver? Do you like to take on additional responsibilities? Are you reluctant to leave your comfort zone? Are you an introvert being screened for a sales or customer facing role? If so, your answers may reveal a career mismatch. This is what employers want to know ahead of time.
Be aware of time limits and scoring.
Understand how your assessment is scored and make sure you know how much time you have to complete it. We’ve seen candidates who didn’t realize their assessment was timed and only managed to answer a handful of questions in the designated time limit. Don’t let a technicality like this bump you from consideration. Being able to take the test under the designated parameters is part of the screening process.
Take the test at a time when you’re at your best.
If you’re not a morning person, then don’t take your assessment in the morning. The time of day that you take your test is an area that you can control, and one that can work in your favor. Most pre-hire assessments will be valid for a designated time, and you typically have the ability to choose when to begin. Pick a time of day that you’re at your sharpest.
Pick a quiet place, free from distractions.
Where you take the test impacts your ability to be successful. Choose a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted or have to contend with a lot of background action. Interruptions will impact your thought process, concentration, and state of mind.
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