Mastering Online Assessments: A Guide for Job Seekers

Assessment tests, or pre-employment assessments, are increasingly common in the online job market. It’s a handy way for companies to sift through applicants before the interview process, ensuring a better pool of candidates that match the position. 

While assessment tests are great for the company, the problem comes in if an applicant isn’t the best test taker or can’t prepare for it. However, there are ways to practice and prepare for employment tests! 

Read on and learn how you can master the online pre-hire assessment to get the job you want. 

What are Pre-Employment Assessment Tests?

Before sharing ways to prepare for a hiring exam, it’s good to understand what they are and the types you’ll run into online. Essentially, assessment tests help hiring managers determine whether an applicant has the skills, knowledge, work style, and personality to succeed in the job role. 

The tests are used along with the resume, cover letter, and application to help make better hiring decisions. They save the employers time, shrinking the pool of qualified employees, which helps minimize the time and money spent training new hires. 

A potential employer may assign the assessment test along with the application, during an interview, or after receiving the application to determine if they should interview you. Some tests are standardized, given to all applicants, or a kind of homework assignment to be completed.

Types of Job Assessment Tests

Some forms of pre-employment tests were already mentioned, homework style exams or during the interview process, but there are specific kinds of assessment tests that are common in different industries. The type of test used depends on the company’s goals and the type of business it is, for example, a programmer wouldn’t face the same test as a marketing agency. 

Skill Assessments

A skill test is one of the most common types of pre-employment assessments. They measure an applicant’s soft or hard skills, such as critical thinking (soft skill) by way of presenting situations and asking how you would approach or solve them or testing typing skills (hard skill) using a timed assessment. 

Job Knowledge Tests

Job knowledge tests are sometimes called mastery or achievement tests. They measure an applicant’s expertise in certain areas and are more common in job roles that require a lot of experience or highly specialized knowledge. For example, an investment firm may provide an online test that asks about financial management principles, or an accounting firm may ask about tax law in different scenarios. 

Cognitive Ability Assessment

This type of pre-employment assessment tests an applicant’s ability to problem-solve, reason, memory, and perception. They’re usually presented as a standardized test with multiple-choice, true or false, or short-answer questions and may include IQ tests or general aptitude tests. Common questions include mathematical and logic questions or verbal assessments. These tests look at a candidate’s ability to solve problems and learn new things. 

Emotional Intelligence Assessment

These employment tests look at an applicant’s self-awareness and ability to manage their emotions and relationships. They are typically given where strong interpersonal skills or leadership qualities are needed and include questions to evaluate how a person reacts to emotional situations or solving sensitive problems. 

Tips to Pass Employment Tests

Now that you’re familiar with some of the more common pre-employment tests, let’s cover the tips to pass them:

  1. Get to Know the Industry: Job descriptions have valuable information about a particular industry. If there are words or acronyms you’re unfamiliar with, that will tell you what to research in preparation for any job assessment coming. Spend time learning about the field you’re applying for to familiarize yourself with the skills, terminology, and other areas you’ll likely need to know. 
  2. Speak with the Hiring Team: As mentioned earlier, not all tests are given online. Even if that is the case, before applying, you can ask the hiring team for pointers regarding the assessment, such as how long the test is, the delivery format, and if there are ways to prepare.
  3. Research the Job Role: Reading the job posting is one thing, but did you look more deeply into the role? Read the job description to understand the skills that are important to the hiring manager and familiarize yourself with both the company and the job requirements. Also, ask yourself honestly if you’re a good fit for that company or if your time is better spent applying elsewhere. 
  4. Use Pre-Employment Tests: The internet has tons of practice pre-employment tests to help a candidate practice. You can take them at job centers or online, with similar time constraints, and choose some of the styles listed above as a practice test. 
  5. Stay Calm: Take a few deep breaths before the test starts and make sure to take time to relax before beginning it. Stress can impact your test performance and worsen the outcome. 
  6. Keep the Context in Mind: Consider why certain questions are on the test. For example, if applying for a retail position then your answers should demonstrate sales skills, communication style, and the ability to close a sale. 
  7. Read Questions Carefully: Read each question fully and deliberately before answering it. Small words, like not or always, can completely change the meaning of a question or the desired answer. It’s a common mistake to skim questions and rush through a pre-hire assessment because it appears easy. Difficulty level is usually a factor, they’re looking for the right candidate for the position. Keep that in mind. 
  8. Use Your Time: Some hiring tests have timed questions while others (the homework style) have a delivery date, such as 24 or 48 hours. Use the time given to consider the question or task and take your time. The extra effort and thought can only help.

Hiring Done Right

Assessments can be stressful and tedious, but they prevent lengthy hiring processes on both sides and ensure a better pool for the company. We at Provisional Recruiting understand both the applicant and the employer’s position, which is partly what has enabled us to have such success placing people in a range of positions for over twenty years. 

Our expertise has helped both job hunters and employers find the professional match that suits both best throughout the Northwest. Our job experts and recruiting specialists post quality jobs for our community’s talent, ensuring the match is right for everyone, and provide job tips to help job seekers land the position they want.

Using these tips you can apply with confidence and apply test preparation strategies to move forward in the hiring process, as well as connect with our job experts at Provisional.

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