What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Employment tests, talent assessments, pre-employment testing… the tests used to find new employees go by many names. However, they all describe the same thing – a selection of tests designed to help employers find the right people for each available job role. They come in many guises and can all reduce would-be interviewees to a bag of nerves.

What many job applicants don’t realize is that skills testing can be just as beneficial to them as to an employer. But how? We explain this here in 3 simple steps on how Employment Tests are essential in the hiring process.

1) They put time on your side 

There is usually limited information contained within a job advert so how do you know if the position is for you? As we spend a third of our lives at work (never mind the travel time added on), most of us would agree we’d like to spend our time doing work we enjoy.  

It’s recommended that you do some research into the company you are applying to, to ensure you are aware of its values and direction. However, sometimes all the research in the world cannot guarantee you are a good fit until you reach the interview stage or even the job itself.  

Skills testing helps filter out those who are unsuitable for the role they are applying for. It could be they are not suitably qualified or do not have the personality traits the employer is looking for.  

If you as a candidate are not selected for interview following the tests, you can assume you’ve saved time. Perhaps that role was not best suited to you after all.  


2) They allow you to focus on your skills 

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Depending on the company and position, you may be required to take one or more of these tests:  

  • Aptitude tests based on numerical and verbal reasoning  
  • Core skills tests to suit the role you are applying for  
  • Vocational tests to identify the required skills for your industry  

These tests are an opportunity to see if you do have the skills and abilities you would need if you got the job. If you fail, you can move on to your next job application. That’s far better than being given a role you are unsuited to and wasting time in a job you dislike.  

What’s more, if you are unsuccessful due to mark from the test it allows you to consider whether you need to look at ways to help improve that skill.


3) They give you a head start  

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Skills testing usually takes place before an interview. Therefore, if you get through the tests you are required to take, you know you have the skills the employer is looking for. This should give you confidence when you’re called for an interview. 

Chances are, you have already surpassed many others who have applied for the same position as you.

Before you attend the interview, think about the tests you completed:  

  •  Which areas were focused on?  
  • Which responses did you give?  
  • What did the employer seem to be looking for in those tests?  

 Knowing you must undertake such tests is often daunting. Interviews are anxiety-inducing at the best of times. If you know you will be faced with pre-employment tests as well, you would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed.

 However, there are some tips you can follow that will help you perform to your best ability. Read on to find out more.

a) Do your research

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Most employers will give some indication of what you will be required to do ahead of time. Check your email, letter or invitation to find out as much as you can. You could also ask for further information – this shows a keen approach and one that demonstrates your willingness to prepare for what lies ahead.

Most people will not prepare, so by doing some work ahead of time like this, you may already be increasing the odds in your favour.

b) Be honest

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

You are probably used to taking exams or tests that require a specific answer to be given for each question. Thus, there are right and wrong answers you could give that will affect your final score.

That is sometimes not the case with employment tests. In some instances, the tests are designed to help find out more about you as a person. Don’t try to cheat the test or to give the answers you think they might be looking for.

The best approach is to be honest about your answers. Give the information you think is correct and relates to the way you would deal with a situation. For instance, you might be asked to choose a course of action from several given, following a description of a scenario you might encounter at work.

The employer may be happy for one of two answers to be given. However, your performance in the test will likely be down to how you perform over the entire test, rather than by giving one or two ‘wrong’ answers.

c) Relax and stay calm

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Test anxiety is something many people will be familiar with. You want to perform well, so you focus on preparing as much as you can. Your mind focuses on nothing else.

Unfortunately, this can make you feel more anxious. In turn, you are less likely to sleep, which makes anxiety worse. Make sure you prepare by practising deep and controlled breathing from your belly, something you can adopt during the tests themselves if you need to.

Make sure you practice these techniques well ahead of the testing process. By remaining calm, you will find it easier to focus and to perform to the best level you can.

d) Head online

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

Once you know which tests you will be asked to complete, you can search online for examples of these tests. You won’t find a perfect match, but it will enable you to get an idea of what you should expect. This alone can reduce pre-test anxiety.

f) Take your time

What are Employment Tests [and How do They Work?] | CareerMetis.com

You will be told how much time you have available to complete your test before you begin. This applies to group testing, online testing, and in-person testing. If you encounter a question you are uncertain of and you can go back to it later, do so.

If not, give the best answer you can and move on. If you take too long answering a question you are unsure of, you could miss giving answers to easier questions later.

g) Read all information carefully

This applies to tests taken on paper and online. Many people are so keen to get the testing over with, they rush through it without properly reading the instructions on how to complete the test. Make sure you don’t make this crucial mistake.

No one enjoys any kind of tests, regardless of whether they are connected to employment or not. However, employment tests are designed to help find the best people to fill employee positions. If you fail, it may well be the role would not have fitted you to begin with.

As such, a failure to pass might indicate a rethink of your employment position and aspirations. Conversely, if you pass the testing process and you are offered the job, you could be stepping into a role and a company you will be part of for many rewarding years. This demonstrates the power and advantages of employment testing – for both the employer and the employee.

Written By
Denise Allen has been working in the marketing industry for over 15 years and is Head of Marketing at Skillsarena who provide Talent Tools which enable companies to select, develop and retain valued staff.

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