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Assessments in Hiring – Some Tips for Success

Good employers go to great lengths to match people to the right jobs. Since we spend between a quarter and a third of our time at work, it is important that our abilities and interests fit the requirements of the particular role that we are trying to secure.

Many employers will consider what behaviours and abilities are required for good job performance. These are often described in terms of competencies. Competencies are a combination of “behaviours” that lead to high performance in the role. To measure an individual’s competencies, employers may use tests, interviews, and other assessment tools. Have you thought about what are the key competencies of the role that you have applied for?

Ability tests and personality questionnaires are proven methods for assessing critical qualities for job success, such as solving problems, communicating effectively, and being innovative and creative. It’s for these reasons that employers use such tests widely.
Remember that selection is a two-way process in which both you and the organisation make a choice – and the choice has to be right for both of you.
What type of test can you expect, and what stage in the process will the assessment take place?
The type of test used will vary depending on the level of the role, and the technical skills required for the role. For example in general you may be required to do a Verbal reasoning, a Mathematical skills, a Critical thinking, a Verbal comprehension, or any range of combinations as defined by the hiring company. For more technical roles, deductive reasoning, your skills in reading diagrams or graphs can be tested. A Personality test will certainly feature, where the hirer may be trying to find out how you will fit in either a team, how you will react to different situations and often to find out how you understand and see yourself.

Companies differ as to when and why they carry out assessments, so my best advice, to be best prepared is, always ask at the earliest possible opportunity as to the stages of the process, that way you have left yourself time to prepare.

Can you prepare for Assessments?
Yes to a certain extent you can prepare. Make sure you understand the assessment that you will be faced with, try and understand what the assessment tool will be telling the employer about your fit for the particular role.

In so far as you can prepare in advance. There are many sites that give you some free test experience and there are others that will give you a good experience of what a test might involve. Some will require a fee, but either way it is worth considering especially if it is your first time in this situation or you haven’t carried out similar exercises in recent years under time restraint. Whichever you choose, you need to be comfortable about what you are about to undertake and feel relaxed about doing the tests in order to obtain best possible outcome.

Many assessments are online and happen prior to interview, and in some cases they will determine if you are called for interview, my best advice here is read instructions well. Complete the practice that you will be given. Then complete each question like it is your first and be careful of time, don’t spend too much time on any question.

Many assessments will involve taking multiple tests, so when you complete one test, don’t dwell on it, move on quickly and take the next test as if it was the first.
If, as with many assessments you are faced with an assessor at a centre, be mindful how you go about the test, your behaviour may be observed, don’t be afraid to ask questions, be as honest as you can, because trying to second guess what the assessor is looking for may not work out.
Role play can often be used in the assessments, pay attention to non- verbals, such as eye contact, gestures, facial expressions.

Can I expect feedback?
In most cases feedback is not provided as the assessment is just one part of the whole recruitment process.

Nature, development and future of testing is here to stay. It is continually evolving becoming more and more an integrative part of the recruitment process. To this end testing for the end user is becoming easier to facilitate through computers and phones and the data transfer is becoming easier for HR & recruitment to align its people and business objectives.

Colette McInerney

CCP Recruitment Consultant

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/colette-mcinerney/14/466/898

Email: colette@ccprecruit.ie
Phone: 091 73 00 22

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