Candidates, Sharpen Your Pencils!

Today’s employers are using as many tools as are available to them to ensure that they hire the right person for their open position. And this includes assessments.

18422968_1650968671583188_6528419708736447747_oQuick, easy and inexpensive to administer, assessments are used by companies to identify people with the traits and skills required for particular jobs. Research has shown that they are also extremely predictive, even more so than years of experience or education.

A Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Ace the Assessment,” tells us that recent research shows that “about 76% of organizations with more than 100 employees rely on assessment tools such as aptitude and personality tests for external hiring; and that figure is expected to climb to 88% over the next few years.”

There are a variety of assessments in use today, all used to analyze different things. In an article entitled, “Handling Pre-employment Screenings and Assessments,” provides a comprehensive list of assessments and what they are designed to measure.

Today’s employers are looking closely at three critical areas:

Competence is usually gauged with a more traditional aptitude test. IQ tests, and tests that measure specific skills or knowledge fall into this category. These tests present problems to solve, with clear right or wrong answers.

Work Ethic
It goes without saying that companies are looking to hire employees that are trustworthy, hardworking and reliable. They also want to determine whether or not candidates will fit in with the company culture and work well with others. To get a snapshot of these traits, self-reporting personality tests that reveal typical patterns of behavior are often used.

Emotional Intelligence
A high emotional intelligence quotient is on every employer’s wish list, regardless of the position. Many psychological studies demonstrate that high emotional intelligence correlates with job performance and leadership potential. EI is measured through psychological testing, which looks much like a personality test but is designed to analyze interpersonal views and tendencies.

So we know what employers are looking for when they conduct assessments, but how can you put yourself in the best position to do well?

  1. Practice. Taking tests is a skill, one that can be improved upon with practice. In preparation, take some on-line personality and aptitude tests, get familiar with the vernacular, and develop a comfort level with the process.
  2. Do Your Research. What are the requirements of the position you are applying for? What is the company culture? What is their mission? Keep all these things in mind when you take your assessment.
  3. Know Yourself. If you’re tired in the morning, take your tests in the afternoon. Does caffeine make you jittery? Don’t drink a huge cup of coffee before you sit down for your assessment. Give yourself the best shot possible – make sure you are centered and focused.
  4. Be Yourself. It truly is the best, most important piece of the puzzle. Employers want an accurate picture of who you are. Don’t try to be something you aren’t – nobody wants a bad fit.
Assessments are important and they are here to stay, so prepare yourself for the possibility that you will be asked to take a test of some sort. Relax, do your best, and be yourself!