Assessing the Situation
If you have applied for a job at a corporation in the last 10 years chances are you had to take some type of assessment during the hiring process. It may have been prompted as soon as you completed the application online or it might have occurred later in the hiring process.
Companies use assessments to weed through candidates. Assessments are used to prioritize which candidates to interview. They don't necessarily kick candidates out of the hiring process. Ever wonder why it might be a few weeks before you hear back from a company about your application? This might be one of the reasons. The candidates that were the best match to the position based on their assessment results are interviewed first.
There are a couple of different types of assessments. Skills assessments and personality assessments. I will explain both of them and how they are used by most companies.
Skills assessments measure competency with computer programs, typing speeds and accuracy for instance. If you don't perform at a certain level that has been set by the company, you will be knocked out of the hiring process. Companies expect candidates to be able to perform these tasks at a certain level as that is what is needed for the job. Hiring someone that doesn't have those basic skills would slow down productivity.
Personality assessments are a bit more subjective. You can't fail a personality test. Everyone has a personality. You can however, not be a good fit for a particular role. Personality tests use a great deal of psychology to develop. They often measure how you like to be motivated or recognized. Do you prefer a fast pace or slow pace? What do you rely on in decision making - facts? opinion of others? your gut? Do you take charge or wait for instruction on a new task? What kind of environment do you thrive in? Companies measure the profiles of their top performers and judge candidates against those profiles to determine which personalities are the best fit.
Many corporations are not only using personality assessments in their hiring process but also in their overall performance management and leadership development strategies. The assessment you take before you are hired may follow you throughout your career with that company. So, definitely take the assessments seriously.
Here are a few tips for taking assessments successfully no matter what kind of position or field you are pursuing.
If assessments really make you nervous, practice taking them. There are plenty of online assessments that are free or not very expensive. Here is a list of 11 online assessments that are available.
Set aside uninterrupted time to take the assessment. Most take under 30 minutes.
Find a quiet space to take the assessment. Some assessments even include videos that you need to watch and answer questions about.
Go with your gut or at least the answer that describes how you are more likely to handle the situation described. You will want to have another option on some questions, choose the closest one.
Personality assessments often ask the same question multiple times, but in different ways. It can feel redundant at times. Pay attention to adverbs of frequency such as always, usually and sometimes. "I always want to be recognized publicly" can cause you to answer differently than "I like to be recognized in publicly".
Don't worry about your results. If you are good match for the position it will show. If you aren't a good match it will save you the heartache of being unhappy in a role that isn't right for you.
Pursuing a new career can be very stressful. Hopefully, these tips will help ease your anxiety over assessments. Feel free to add additional tips or ask questions below.