You’ve applied for a job with a company you’re excited about working for. Even better, they call you because they like what they saw on your resume and want to speak with your further. This is exciting! Then they give you a bit of stressful news…they want you to take a pre-employment test that measures personality and cognitive ability. You immediately begin stressing because the first thought that crosses your mind is that they are going to decide whether to hire you based on a test. To this, I have good and bad news for you. The good news is typically employers don’t base their decisions solely on the test results so relax. The bad news is they could base their decision solely on the test…If that is the case, this company isn’t worth your time anyway. Regardless, here are some tips to prepare and manage the stress that comes with taking a pre-employment test.
As I mentioned above, companies typically administer a pre-employment test as part of their recruiting process, meaning it’s not the only tool they use to assess candidates. If you’re not a great test taker it’s ok, the most important thing you can do is be your best self, interview well and show the company what a likeable person you are. Besides, the more relaxed you are, the better you will do on the test anyway.
Most of the time, you can find free practice tests for most pre-employment tests online. For example, if the company is asking you to take the Wonderlic exam, you can find free practice tests online to help you prepare for the kind of test you are going take. Take the practice tests a few times to exercise your mind and get used to taking the test. This could also alleviate some anxiety you may have about taking the test. Also, I’ve often found that reading about the test to understand what it is assessing helps me to better prepare for it.
Personality based tests are designed to determine if the applicant has similar competencies to what the job demands. For example, a competency for a good customer service rep would be agreeableness, meaning the ability to be empathetic to others. Someone who scores high in agreeableness might enjoy customer service more than someone who scores low on agreeableness. You may be tempted to answer the questions in a manner that you think the employer is looking for. Don’t do this. The best advice is to be yourself when taking the test. There are two reasons for this. First, if you answer the questions in a way that does not fit who you are, you may not be a good fit for the job and thus, may not enjoy the job. You want to do a job that you enjoy. Second, these tests are specifically designed to test the validity of the answers, meaning, they are designed to weed out inconsistencies or answers that don’t align in a consistent manner. This creates red flags in the result and the employer will determine that you are not a good fit because you cannot answer the questions honestly. Be yourself and answer the questions honestly. There are no right or wrong answers in personality tests.
Keep in mind, pre-employment tests are typically just one tool the employer uses to assess you as a candidate for the job. Definitely take it seriously and do your best, but don’t let it stress you out, prepare for it and most importantly, be yourself.