An assessment event is when the employer requires that you pass an exam to test one or more skills. The assessment event may be in addition to a regular interview and could be scheduled as part of the interview, prior to or after the interview. There are different types of assessment events and they can vary widely from one another.
Standard Types of Assessment
When most candidates think of assessment events, they think of standard assessments such as aptitude tests, psychological tests, application quizzes and skills tests.
Aptitude tests: These are tests in which your basic skills are tested. The skills being tested are related to the position you are applying to, but may not be the exact skills needed on the job. If you are applying for a bookkeeping position, you may be given a math test or a reasoning test. If you are applying for a computer programming position, you may be asked to complete logic puzzles or given problem solving exercises.
The most common aptitude tests are similar to puzzles or educational games in which you have to fill in the blank(s) in a sentence or complete mathematical equations.
Psychological tests: It used to be that only individuals applying for positions such as a police officer were asked to pass a psychological examination, but nowadays many companies are starting to use this type of test as part of their candidate screening process.
Very rarely will a psychological test during the interview process be used to determine mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and the like. It is most often used to determine personality traits. For example, if you are applying for a supervisory position, you may be given a psychological evaluation to determine how many management traits you possess or how you would handle a difficult employee.
Application assessments: Quick assessment tests can also be done during the application phase. Some companies, such as retail companies, may require small assessment tests in order to weed out those candidates that do not have the basic skills required for the job. If you have ever applied for a position and been asked to complete a “short 5 minute quiz”, you have been assessed. An example of a question that is asked during the pre-interview assessment process could be, “On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate yourself in terms of customer service skills when a customer is angry?” You could also be asked some math questions to determine if you can make change for a customer.
Direct skills testing: These test the exact skills you will need to perform on the job. If you are applying for a job doing transcription, you may be asked to complete a typing test that will evaluate your speed and accuracy against the minimum level required for the job. Positions that normally use skills-based testing as part of the interview process include:
- Customer service: It is not unusual for people that wish to be customer service representatives to be asked to do a phone assessment or a mock customer call. This can be part of the formal interview or could be something done prior to the face-to-face interview.
- Sales: In some interviews, you may be called upon to simulate a sales call, either on the phone or in person. For instance, you may be asked to: “Sell a blue widget to a man who says he wants a red one.”
- Welders or those in skills-based jobs: There are certain industries that may request a short, hands-on assessment for positions where the skill is the job. These include welders, automobile technicians, electricians and the like.
Other Types of Assessment Events Include…
Driving tests: If you are interviewing for a position where your driving skills are required, you may be asked for more than your license! You may be asked to show how well you handle yourself and follow the rules behind the wheel.
Police officers/firefighters: Safety officers may be asked to perform strength tests or shooting tests.
Teachers: Teachers may be asked to substitute or do a round of student-teaching first. Even though this is a little different than most assessment events, the idea is the same. You must show you have the skills to do the job prior to being hired. By substituting for a few days or a week, the administrators can evaluate your skills and determine if what you have to offer meets the requirements of the position.
Medical care jobs: Like teachers, you may be asked to do some type of temp work prior to being hired full-time. You may be evaluated on your “bedside manners” or your clinical assessment skills.
How to Prepare
The first thing to do is to find out the details of the assessment. Will you be doing a typing test? Will they be testing your Excel or programming skills? Will you need to participate in a mock sales call with other applicants? The more you know, the better you can prepare. Thankfully, there is a lot of preparation material online.
The second thing to do is to find out how long it will be. Some tests can take hours and others only 5-10 minutes. If you know the test will last 3 hours, you may wish to prepare a lot more than if it’s a simple 5-minute assessment.
Remember, assessment events do not have to be an hour-long test like an interview and they do not have to be a true “test”. It could be any type of event where your skills and abilities are evaluated prior to being hired. In most cases, the assessment event occurs in one sitting and resembles a test, but there are cases where temporary work is used to assess you.
The primary objective of an assessment event is for the employer to see how you perform live or to test skills that are considered key to the job. The assessment event provides the employer with more and better information than simple answers to interview questions.
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List of the different interview types:
- The Video Interview
- The Informal Interview
- The Technical Interview
- The Phone Interview
- The Structured Interview
- The Scenario Interview
- The Assessment Event
- The Second Interview
- The Panel Interview
- The Lunch Interview
- The Group Interview
- The Behavioral Interview