Ask Matt: Why do they want me to take an assessment test?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE
  • Updated: January 20, 2013 - 5:29 PM

Dear Matt: I've been to a few interviews recently in which I had to complete an assessment test. I was not prepared for this. Why do companies use assessments, what are the most popular assessments out there, and what role do these play when companies hire?

Matt says: It's important to understand why a company would use an assessment, also known as a pre-employment test. Remember, a company's purpose for hiring is to add talent to their team, so they are going to use every measuring stick or resource possible when recruiting and hiring.

"The goal of an assessment is to give clients a clear picture of who you are as a candidate," says Nikki Francois, a Recruiter at CorTalent (www.cor3talent.com), a Minnetonka-based recruiting and human resources company. "It's difficult for employers to learn everything about a candidate during the interview process."

For example, CorTalent is an authorized Prevue Assessment distributor. In this assessment, hiring managers can customize a benchmark to highlight the preferred skills, traits and characteristics they would like to see in a candidate. It measures a person's cognitive abilities, motivations and interests and personality relative to a specific job opportunity. Other popular assessments include the DISC, Profiles International and Caliper.

Even if you know you have to take an assessment, it's not typically something you can study for, says Francois. However, it's important to answer honestly -- not how you think the employer wants you to answer. For example, Prevue Assessments measure abilities, interests and motivations and personality characteristics; there are no wrong answers.

Some companies ask or require candidates to complete assessments on site during the interview process, while other companies will ask candidates to complete this on their own time. Some tests monitor validity and can tell if you were trying to sway the answers to what you thought the hiring manager wanted to see. Therefore, it's important to take these assessments seriously and answer honestly.

If you are a job seeker, assessments can seem overwhelming. The important thing is to look at them as an opportunity to show the employer the real you. Sometimes, personalities, motivations and interests, skill set, or culture fit just doesn't align, but that's okay because it's really about finding the best fit for you personally and the best fit for the company.

"Some assessments may seem over the top, but keep in mind that the company you are interviewing with is invested in making the right hiring decision," says Francois, "so that usually means they are interested in investing in their employees too."

GOT A CAREER QUESTION FOR MATT? EMAIL ASKMATT@STARTRIBUNE.COM

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