High Anxiety: Assessment Testing

Ok… here’s the situation. You are pretty far down the road in the interview process and feeling pretty good about your chances to land a new job. The chemistry between you and the hiring manager is great and in your last interview you begin to start using present tense language when discussing your new role. Words like ‘we’ and “us” become commonplace in your discussions and mentally you have already checked out of your current gig all because you are just “feeling”(pretty)  good that an job offer is imminent. Lots of good mo-jo.

All good – right? Maybe…

The phone rings and it’s the hiring manager, the recruiter or someone from HR and you just “know” they are calling about “the offer.” But wait – there’s more… yes…you are told that a required  online assessment “test” is the final step of the hiring process. Ouch – you may think. Some candidates begin a full blown meltdown at the mere thought of taking an assessment test and panic and strategize on how to answer the questions in a favorable way to get the nod. Wrong strategy! I highly recommend that you avoid trying to “throw” the answers to the questions to attempt a favorable outcome. Chances are by doing so you will confuse the person interpreting the results and that alone may send the wrong signal as to who you really are.

Many of the “online” tests administered in the hiring process are part of the company’s process to ensure you will be a good fit in their culture or to simply get a better read on your personality. Others may be more specific to predict how you may perform in a certain role – but most of the assessment tools I have seen are simply a high tech personality test.  There is no need to try to be someone you are not in your day-to-day life and no reason to fake your answers on a personality test to impact the results. Be yourself and relax while you are taking the assessment exam. In most cases there is no right or wrong answer – it’s just a snapshot of how you are wired and what makes you tick.

So the next time you find out that you have to take an assessment test as part of the hiring process – relax. You are who you are and you should definitely feel good about who you are. Answer the questions or select from the choices available – in the most honest and natural way possible. That will describe to the reader who you really are.  That’s what you want them to see any way. At least I hope so!

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.