It is becoming more common to sit pre interview screening for vacancies. It is no secret that at present there are far more job seekers than vacancies, so it makes perfect sense for companies to check that they are getting the very best candidates.
A few years ago, along with over 500 others, I applied for a role working on the main switchboard for one of the emergency services. 100 candidates were shortlisted to sit pre interview screening. I was lucky enough to be invited to the testing process. I sat numerous tests, which included listening and typing tests. A small number of candidates with good test results were invited back for interview. Unfortunately I didn’t make the grade but was pleased to have got as far as I did.
Aptitude and Personality (psychometric) testing is a whole different ball game; there are no right or wrong answers, so why do companies use them? Are they really necessary?
Absolutely! I know that they made the right choice not asking me back because the competition was very fierce and I could see that other candidates were far more capable and suited to the role than I was.
Did I learn from my experience? I learnt that my typing skills were not as good as they could have been. We were never told where we fell short in the testing process but the document I typed from the 50wpm audio was appalling, the spelling and grammar was non-existent, my old English teacher would have been crying reading it! After the tests I sat at home and thought long and hard about whether I had the personality traits to cope mentally with the role. I imagined the worst case scenario that I would have to deal with; I had tears rolling down my face which soon turned to uncontrollable sobbing.
The tests I sat were highly effective, I wasn’t the right candidate and I learnt a lot about myself in the process. I looked good on paper and might have dazzled at interview but that doesn’t mean I could effectively do the job.
Testing is another effective way to shortlist which candidates to interview and will help companies ensure the candidates they hire are suited to the role long term.