Some companies like to test job applicants to help them decide between applicants. Here’s an overview of some of the most common tests.
You’ve applied to a few interesting jobs and even scored a couple of interviews. But then you find out the hiring process includes a test – and that’s when the panic really sets in.
But it shouldn’t.
In many cases, companies give tests to help them identify candidates that best fit their culture. Testing is just another way to make sure they’re making the right decision. Of course some tests examine basic math and English skills, but assuming you’re applying for jobs that require a college degree and you were born in the US or another English-speaking country, you probably don’t need to worry about those!
Other tests focus more on your personality type to see if you have the strengths that certain employers are looking for. For instance, people who are natural born sellers will have test results that fit a certain profile. The same applies for those in operations, customer service and several other positions companies look to hire.
The key is to remember that these tests aren’t meant to knock you down – in fact, there’s a lot you can learn about yourself and your job hunt when examining your score.
Here are some of the more common tests you may encounter on your job hunt:
Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test
You might have heard about the Wonderlic test – especially if you follow NFL scouting. But even before this test made headlines, it has been helping companies test the aptitude of potential job candidates.
To this day many companies still use the 50-question test to asses a candidate’s basic math and English skills. Scoring is based upon how many questions a candidate answers correctly in 12 minutes. This score then tells your potential employer what kind of job you’d be suited for.
For example, it is commonly accepted that someone with a college education should easily score in the 20s. Average scores also vary among professions, so for example a geologist is expected to score somewhere around 36 while a salesman only needs a 24 to prove their capability
The Caliper Profile is a personality assessment test that measures an individual’s characteristics, motivation and potential. Companies have been using this test for over four decades. The Caliper is said to be one of the most accurate instruments available for determining whether a job candidate’s characteristics are best for the job.
The test itself is over an hour long and candidates are expected to respond to certain scenarios that would occur in the workplace. For instance, you may get asked how you would handle a confrontation with a co-worker, a manager or a client. You may also get asked questions about how to handle problems in the work place, how you handle stress and your ability to take risks. There may also be some basic skills testing, like math and English, but the test is mostly used to analyze personality.
The Culture Index Test (which sometimes goes by other names) is a quick test that presents a job candidate with a list of adjectives. The objective is to place an “X” or check mark next to all the adjectives that you think apply to yourself.
The key to this test is to look for patterns among the words, such as words that have a similar meaning, but once again the “right” answers depend on the job.
Have you taken any of these tests — or another one — during the interview process?
Amanda Abella is a personnel administrator for a Miami-based employment agency and a freelance writer. She also runs Grad Meets World, a popular Gen Y blog where she discusses health, career, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and more.