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What is an Employment Assessment?

by Heather Breen

Originally published by Suite

 

Employment assessments are becoming more widely used by employers of all sizes as a means of assessing skills, behaviors and knowledge. Employers are seeing the value of having objective information about a candidate rather than relying solely upon subjective interviews where the majority of the information is provided by the candidate. As the use of the internet has grown so has the ability for employers to objectively assess candidates to determine if they have the right skills, attitudes and abilities for the position. Although behavioral interviewing has been a useful tool, it still relies upon the candidate’s skill in interviewing.

Assessment Use is on the Rise

Increased use of employment assessments isn’t necessarily bad news because if you are not a good fit for a position then it’s not likely that you will be successful or that you will stay with the company anyway. These tools may appear to be an unfair screening method, but in fact they may be saving you from a position you don’t want.

Who Uses Assessments?

Companies like Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, SITEL, and Petsmart all use some form of employment assessment in their hiring process. Some companies may require you to complete an assessment with your application, but others may request you to complete the assessment after you have been screened and are being considered for employment. Background checks, drug tests and employment verifications are also considered part of an employment assessment process.

What is an Assessment?

So what is an employment assessment? There are many types, but generally assessments are tools used to measure things like your ability to do math, your level of verbal skill/verbal reasoning and your problem solving ability. Behavioral tests are also widely used to determine if you have the right attitude, drive and temperament for the position. There is no way to “study” for an assessment, but your best bet is to answer the questions honestly. You may think you know what the employer is interested in, however without knowing how the assessment is scored or used by the employer, trying to answer the way you think will get you the job is more likely to lead to unreliable test results and get you booted from consideration.

The following is a short list of some of the companies that make employment assessments in alphabetical order:

  • Brainbench (this company is owned by Previsor but offers tests to individuals and employers)
  • The Chrysalis Corporation
  • Previsor
  • Profiles International

Are Assessments Legal?

I'm sure the question that many people have is if they have to take a pre-employment test? If you want the job you do. They are not illegal as long as they comply with the law. A fact sheet about pre-employment tests is available from the EEOC. The EEOC basically says the employment assessments may not have a discriminatory effect by excluding people based upon race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability or age.

How are Assessments Used?

There are employment assessments that can only be used as pre-employment tests but assessments are frequently used by employers for improving the performance of current employees. Employment assessments are useful in determining training and development needs, developing secession plans and for performance appraisals.

It may be beneficial to take your own assessment and find out about your personality, skills and abilities and how these factors impact your decision making and management style. This will certainly give you an edge in answering behavioral questions during interviews and will also help you be a better manager and team player. Going to an employer with your assessment may seem like a good idea, but remember that you still don’t know how they are making their hiring decision and this may end up giving them the wrong information.


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