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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

You Have to Undergo Testing

UnknownVera Alexandrova
It is difficult to find a person who would remain indifferent in a situation where his intellectual abilities, character and skills are being evaluated and compared with other contenders. From a candidate's point of view, the evaluation procedure of the recruitment process is unpleasant, difficult and prone to cause irritation, boredom and mistrust.

At the same time, testing is a good opportunity for employers to acquire objective, standard and comparable information about a potential employee. This information will help to choose the best candidate and will also help his or her quick adaptation to the new working environment and to choose the best style of management.

Recruitment is a difficult and complex process for both the employer and the potential employee. The process demands a lot of time and patience. In order to get the most useful information about a candidate, employers use not only various kinds of interviews, but also psychological testing, case studies or an evaluation center. How should you deal with such methods of evaluating your professional and personal qualities?

Can I refuse testing?

Of course. Testing can only be done with your approval. But you have to keep in mind that an employer may prefer candidates who agree to testing and provide them with information that is deemed important.

Can I be rejected based on test results?

Tests are an additional method of evaluation that helps to make a decision in favor of a certain candidate. Therefore rejection cannot be based solely on test results. On the other hand, the results may be extremely important for successful work in a specific position. Here is a simple analogy: in order to do work successfully you have to lift weights of 30 kilograms, while you can only lift 20. Do you think you should have this job?

What tests are offered to candidates most often?

You may be offered a written or computer test. Testing may last anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours. As a rule, large companies have their own system of selection and evaluation, which includes not only certain types of interviews, but also additional methods of evaluation. Such methods include tests for personality traits or intellectual abilities, professional tasks, case studies or evaluation centers.

Usually the word "testing" implies use of specially created standardized methods. In the strict sense of the word "testing" may mean all sorts of methods that evaluate memory and intellectual characteristics such as the ability to calculate and understand text.

Tests that are used to evaluate a person's personality traits, emotions, motives, anxiety (Spielberger-Khanin scale), aggressiveness and hostility (Buss-Durkey questionnaire), motives for success (test of achievement motivation), are all partial tests, which are often called single-dimensional.

In HR practice "tests" is also the word used for multi-dimensional personality questionnaires, such as Smisek, Eysenck, Strelau test. Other personality tests are called 16PF, Kettel, CPI and OPQ. Testing procedure that uses such questionnaires may be lengthy because the number of questions in these tests vary from 50 to 500. On the other hand, such methods help to draw a full-scale "portrait" of an employee's personality traits and to evaluate his professional and behavioral characteristics. Using tests and questionnaires has a number of advantages and limitations. For example, it is quite simple to evaluate a person's abilities and skills, but much more difficult to evaluate and forecast his behavior, conditioned by his personality traits.

As a rule, employers strive to increase reliability of test results by using them in conjunction with each other as well as with personal interviews or stimulating exercises.

What is an evaluation center?

This involves a lengthy procedure that may take five to eight hours or more. This method includes tasks that imitate typical situations that arise at work and that allow evaluators to observe and evaluate participants' real behavior during group discussion, at a meeting, during business games or individual tasks.

How do I complete tests correctly?

The notion of "correct" can only be applied to specific tasks that have a single right answer, for example intellectual ability tests. Personality questionnaires give a complex picture, which cannot be correct or incorrect (just like there are no "correct" fingerprints).

How can I prepare for testing?

It's not a very good idea to waste your time searching for various tests on the Internet or in books. You won't be able to remember all the right answers and guess a personality profile that ideally fits the vacancy. Here are some pieces of simple advice that will help you:

• If you are to undergo testing, try to rest well and have a good sleep.

• Be extremely attentive when receiving a task or reading instructions for the test.

• Refrain from critical remarks regarding "strange" questions in the test or the length of the testing procedure.

• Do not try to "outsmart" the test, guessing which answers the employer expects from you. You may be wrong. Moreover, many tests have built-in protection from socially desirable answers and your results will be viewed as manipulated. If your deceit works, you risk getting a job that might not suit you.

• If you take part in a business game or group discussion, mobilize yourself but try to demonstrate your natural behavior.

• Be attentive, sincere and honest and concentrate, because the best result of testing is an accurate evaluation.