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The Most Important Skills for Job Assessments

See also: Applying for Jobs

Over the past decade, the hiring process for many companies and organizations has changed dramatically and become much more sophisticated and challenging.

This change requires candidates to undertake a longer and more competitive process. If in the past job interviews were based on a conversation or a small skills test, today it is more likely that candidates will face a multistep process. Moreover, the ways in which your skills are examined is considerably more complex and demanding.

It doesn’t matter if you’re qualified for the job or not, if you don’t take the hiring process seriously and prepare in advance, you may find yourself running from one interview to another without receiving even one ‘yes’.

If simply waiting for the job interview or assessment tests is not enough, what should you do? First, make sure you possess the skills the hiring process will require you to demonstrate. It is likely you will need to take a job assessment test. Each test examines different skills, and therefore knowing the ins and outs of the test you are about to take may significantly increase your chances of getting hired. While aptitude tests examine numeracy skills, as well as verbal and other reasoning skills, behavioral tests examine interpersonal, personal, and leadership skills.

Therefore, if you’re about to take an aptitude test, you should review your numeracy and verbal skills. To help you ace these tests, we have gathered some information about what you are likely to encounter:

1. Numeracy Skills

Numeracy skills tests are one of the most common and routine aptitude tests.

If you’re seeking a career in banking, accounting, sales, administrative work, the police force, or any other line of work that requires employers to work comfortably with numbers, it is likely you will be required to take one. That said, one should take into consideration that each profession and each employer may utilize a different type of mathematical test, namely ones that emphasize different skills.

Some employers choose to administer the test in their offices, while others send it to applicants to take at home. Almost all the tests are timed. In addition to examining numeracy skills, these tests also assess a candidate's ability to work quickly and accurately. Below are some of the most important skills:

  • Arithmetic and numerical proficiency – Tests that examine numerical reasoning are varied and range from basic mathematics to a high level of arithmetic and numerical critical reasoning. Questions that examine arithmetic functions are usually formed as quick drills. Different formats may include word problems, number series, and data sufficiency questions. These questions examine proficiency in the four basic operations, basic calculation, fractions, percentages, ratios, and even the use of a calculator.
  • Numerical reasoning – Numerical reasoning tests are popular and normally consist of word problem questions. Word problems examine a candidate's ability to understand and interpret tabular material. Tabular material can be displayed in charts, graphs, or tables, and it must be analyzed to determine the correct answer. Sometimes numerical reasoning tests require algebra skills, problem solving skills, and proficiency in different mathematical methods and formulas.

Verbal Skills

Another popular type of aptitude tests are those that examine verbal skills.

The main aim of these tests is to see how well an applicant can read and analyze a text and to examine his or her logical thinking on text-based riddles. Verbal skills tests are popular among educational institutions, training and certification programs, government positions, universities, and other various professions. Two of the most common verbal skills tests are language tests and verbal reasoning tests.

  • Reading comprehension and writing tests – Reading and writing tests assess a candidate's ability to read and understand complicated narrative texts. One of the ways employers make these tests more difficult is by including texts with similar sounding words or words that have a similar spelling. Questions may require spelling skills as well as grammatical abilities. For example, a question may ask the candidate to perform sentence completion and/or recognize the grammatically correct sentence. Reading comprehension is another type of test. Here, candidates are required to read a short text that is followed by multiple-choice questions. This section examines a candidate’s ability to understand short paragraphs, draw conclusions, and compare between texts.
  • Verbal reasoning – The questions on verbal reasoning tests are aimed at examining an applicant's ability to read and analyze text and to apply logical thinking to text-based riddles. The questions require test takers to quickly learn thinking processes and are usually formatted as multiple-choice questions. Other types of questions include linguistically-based questions and word analogies. Usually, questions on verbal reasoning tests are short and require background knowledge in the form of vocabulary.

Behavioral Tests

In addition to aptitude tests that require high proficiency in numerical and verbal skills, many employers choose to conduct behavioral tests.

Unlike aptitude tests, behavioral tests do not require candidates to demonstrate skills based on knowledge. Rather, they require the candidate to demonstrate personal and interpersonal skills and sometimes even leadership skills. The three most common behavioral tests are personality tests, situational judgement tests, and leadership and motivation questionnaires.

  1. Personality tests

    Personality tests are the most common type of behavioral test that employers use. They are aimed at examining your personal and interpersonal skills as well as evaluating your character strengths and weaknesses. Some of the character traits being examined are assertiveness, sociability, and calmness. Employers usually build a personality profile of the candidates based on their answers. While it might seem as if there are no "right" or "wrong" answers to personality test questions, this is not truly the case. As employers are seeking employees who possess certain character traits, demonstrating proficiency with the position's ideal personal and interpersonal skills may help you get the job.

  2. Situational Judgement tests

    The main aim of situational judgment tests is to assess a candidate's reaction to different workplace situations. Usually the test taker is presented with a scenario or a situation and must pick the most appropriate answer. This represents his or her choice of response to a situation. Other types of questions require candidates to rate the effectiveness of the solutions presented in the situation. Some of the scenarios require personal skills alone while others also demand interpersonal skills, as they present interpersonal dynamics. As these tests are very specific, they are normally tailored for specific positions, as opposed to other aptitude and personality tests.

  3. Motivation and leadership questionnaire

    Less common, but gaining more attention in recent years is the leadership or motivation questionnaire. As many positions require leadership skills, employers are looking for the best way to determine if a candidate possesses them or not. As noted, the most common way to examine leadership skills is through a questionnaire. However, other methods include a role play exercise or a simulation game.

If you’re about to embark on a hiring process soon, don’t linger. Begin working on the skills you’re most likely to be asked to demonstrate during your interview and in any assessments. First and foremost, try to determine which type of test you’re about to take. Then, begin to practice as much as you can to ensure you are fully prepared. Whether you need to work on your numerical skills and verbal skills for an upcoming aptitude test, or on your personal, interpersonal, and leadership skills for a behavioral test, it is in your best interest to start practicing today.

About the Author

Veronica Vinocurov is a Growth Team Member at JobTetsPrep.

JobTestPrep is devoted to creating customized assessment test preparation experiences, allowing job seekers and prospective students to practice with the most relevant and up-to-date online materials.