Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Good interviewing techniques and sample questions

What To Do If Asked To Take A Pre-Employment Test

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Testing can be a sticky issue for test takers. There is a natural resistance to having your experience, skills, and other qualities as a potential employee reduced to a test score. Testing brings with it the whole of our academic experiences. To the extent that we performed well on the various class tests and standard tests throughout our school years, we are more likely to have an accepting attitude toward them in an employment scenario. If we did not tend to do well in testing situations at school, we are probably going to very apprehensive about them as part of the staffing process.

Test taker reactions to tests are likely to vary based on the type of tests being administered. Some basic types of tests used for employment include ability tests, personality tests, overt integrity tests, and skill tests.
In a scarce labor market, there is a lot of pressure on test developers and employers to make testing (1) face valid, (2) short, and (3) convenient. There are advances being made in these areas and testing is currently undergoing significant change.

Basic Tips for Test Takers:

  1. Its best to know as much as you can about what to expect before you take a test. Investigate whether there are sample items, descriptive or practice materials, or any other information about the test. Typically the test provider will have a web-site or standard marketing packet available.
  2. Know your rights concerning tests - ask the prospective employer what the test measures and how it will be used, and what can you expect in terms of feedback on results.
  3. Don't try to fake, it will probably only backfire on you.
  4. If it is a knowledge or skill test, a little review and practice may not hurt and it might help reduce some anxiety.
  5. If you are really concerned, you are in control…investigate other attractive employment options that don't use tests