How To Ace An Assessment Test


How important are career assessment tests that you encounter in interviews?

The Answer

They cost companies quite a bit of money and time, so they’re very important. Some companies give managers the right to hire someone even if they don’t do well on an assessment, but many others do not.

How To Ace An Assessment Test

Don’t try to game them, because businesses will notice your inauthentic behavior. Some assessments are highly customized, because the employer is looking for a specific profile of a person to do the job. You don’t know exactly what they want, so just answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.

The Best Choice

Don’t interview with a company or take a test they hand you until you’ve networked with a handful of people that work there. If those people have gone through the application process successfully, they’ll be able to tell you pretty clearly what it takes to pass the test and work well at that company.

Your answers for any assessment will be much more informed that way, because you will know what the company needs to hear. If you stay true to yourself but adapt how you say things according to their expectations (which you learn about from networking), you’ll be in a favorable position compared to many of the other applicants for the job.

If you don’t know what’s coming in an assessment test, the element of surprise can throw you off. Since it’s so important to make a great impression with each and every person in the company you interact with, it’s easy to see how reducing the unknown can help you keep your cool.

The Skinny

Once you know how the tests are used, what material is on them and how to react, you’ll be as calm as anyone else in the interview as one of the front-runners. As always, do your homework and talk to people to get ahead.

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  1. Assessments are screening tools. If the organization understands itself, they know the profile of successful people in their organization. If you are a fit, you’ll pass, if you “game” the system, you may get the job, but you will either fail or be miserable in the job. This is true for both skill based and personality based tests.Certainly if spatial relationships, math, or computer skills are relevant to the test, you MUST pass a skills based test. For personality assessment tests, Google the test if you don’t know what a DISC, Meyers-Briggs, C.I. etc. test is. Most are word association test. They depend on some common factors.

    Sufficient literacy and vocabulary to understand the words.
    Sufficient self-awareness and honesty to answer fully and properly.
    Validation words or phrases, for example, someone who is diplomatic is not also aggressive, but can be assertive.

    Well run organizations are generally looking for a balance of personality types, but they know who fits the culture. If you are an Antelope you shouldn’t join a pride of Lions!

    Good Luck to everyone searching, be yourself, present yourself well, and you will find the right fit!

  2. I’ve taken a test for an intermediate software developer role where I had to reverse a string with a for loop! I’ve done tests for graduate level positions that were much more complicated!

  3. I had to take an assessment test at my last position and try as I might, could not really find much information on how to best complete the test. So, I agree, just do the best you can and don’t try to game the system.

    Agree that you should try to speak with others in the company that may have taken the tests previously. If you are sufficiently motivated to get the job, you will find a way, even if it means driving there and starting up a conversation with workers milling around the building. Do your research on the company and see if you find some peers on line and reach out to them. Keep it short and sweet and use some charm to get them talking.

    “People in low places”, dock workers, shippers that sevice that account, janitors, the receptionist will all give you insight that the “people in high places”, i.e. C-suite will not tell you. Even the HR person will open up sometimes if you ask kindly. Try a couple if you can. Work the angles toward the center…which is you getting the job!



  4. Once I went to an interview and they handed me a test before the interview — because math isn’t my best subject and the test included math, it made me nervous. I didn’t get the job. How would you handle that situation? Thank you.

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