How to prepare for an online assessment

In recent years the use of online assessments in recruitment processes has increased. Both the interfaces as well as the validity of the tests have improved, and costs have gone down. Our clients use them more often, we do too for our own organisation. With Heleen entering our organisation, she is an educated assessment psychologist, this topic is even more prominent on our agenda.

Being invited to do an online assessment is positive, as you move forward in the recruitment process, as well as a reason to get nervous. Below are some pointers on how to prepare best:

  • Ask what will be tested, preferably what the name of the test and test supplier is, and Google it. Ask about the length of the test;
  • The two biggest categories in testing have either a focus on cognitive/skills elements or on your personality. Find out what will be tested;
  • If it is a cognitive/skills test, find examples and practice. Most of the time three aspects are measured: verbal insight (verbal analogies and/or verbal deductions), numerical insight (number series) and abstract insight (figure matrices or figure classifications). The internet offers enough sample tests;
  • In a cognitive/skills test your speed and percentage of correct answers (and sometimes the percentage of wrong answers) are tested. Most of the time there are more questions than anybody can handle. If you do not finish in time or freeze don’t get stressed, breathe a few times, but move forward;
  • It’s more difficult to prepare for personality tests because it’s hard to influence them. Most of the time they consist of a lot of questions. Typically you have to indicate on a scale of 1 to 5 how well a statement describes you or you have to choose between statements like “I enjoy working alone” or “I always decide quickly”. It’s best to think of the person you are in a job context. You could try to think what personality aspects are important for the potential employer but this is tricky. You should know that the consistency of your answers is measured and that most employers will also test the results in a follow-up interview.
  • Take care you are well rested, have something to drink and eat, be sure you will not be disturbed and have strong internet;
  • If you do not receive them automatically, ask for the results. And finally, discussing the results might be part of the test. So stay on your toes until the end.

Good luck with your test!

Heleen Bos & Pieter de Kiewit

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