Friday, September 30, 2011 myBiz Blog
Bucky's Career Corner: Tackling Employment Assessments by Kelly Cuene

As on-campus interviews begin you may be asked by potential employers to complete different types of assessments. Why do employers ask you to complete these and how do you tackle them?

Why employment assessments are used

Employers may use pre-employment tests or assessments to quickly and more easily narrow down a large pool of candidates. For some, a pre-employment assessment is considered a more objective way to initially screen candidates. Others use them because there are particular personality traits or skill sets they want or need in a future employee and the tests are the best way to get a read on a candidate's abilities.

Types of assessments

Pre-employment testing can vary. Assessments may help an employer consider:

  • Strength of a paricular skill set
  • Basic knowledge of relevant business concepts
  • Logic and/or mathematics ability
  • Personality and personal values
Some employers may focus on only one aspect while others will test for a combination of the above.

Tackling pre-employment assessments

Some pre-employment assessments are impossible to prepare for, particularly personality assessments. The key to those are to answer honestly and be yourself. The company wants to see if you are a good fit for their work environment, however, it is to your benefit to find a company that is a good fit for you, too. If you do not portray your true tendencies accurately on the assessment are you prepared to pretend to be someone you're not every day you go to work at a company that is a poor fit for you?

Some employers will provide information and guidance about their pre-employment testing at their Information Session. Be sure to attend these if you can and take advantage of any hints or practice assessments provided by the employer.

Some other tips:

  • Make sure you know how the assessment will work. Is it timed? If so, do you know how many questions will be asked so you can plan your allotted time accordingly? Can you go back and change your answers or should you plan to provide your final answer and move on? These factors may require you to adjust your approach so find out as much as you can prior to beginning the test.
  • Read carefully. Be sure you understand what the questions are asking you.
  • Find out if you need to bring anything (ex. calculator) or if certain items are prohibited.
  • Stay calm. Just because you don't know all the answers doesn't mean you are immediately disqualified.
  • Make sure you know the date, time, location/website of the assessment and verify these details if you're unsure.
Are pre-employment tests legal?

Pre-employment tests are legal so long as they measure something that is necessary to determine fit for a position or company and do not discriminate against a protected class.

Next week in Bucky's Career Corner, we'll discuss ways to find job and internship opportunities beyond BuckyNet!

In the meantime, on-campus interviews officially begin next week! Are you ready? Check out these upcoming BCC events to help you prepare:

BCC Career Kickoff Session Monday, October 3 @ 4:30

Write the Best Resume Tuesday, October 4 @ 5:00

Write the Best Cover Letter Thursday, October 6 @ 5:00