Firms are putting job-seekers through extra tests

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Job-seekers face extra assessment tests compared to three years ago, according to new research.

Three quarters of the 8,493 job-seekers surveyed on reed.co.uk, say they are undergoing many more tests and assessments when seeking new jobs than in Y2000, according to the research. What's more, over half of the 250 HR professionals surveyed, agree they are using more formal tests and procedures when recruiting now than they did three years ago.

Formal competency-based interviews and personality Questionnaires came top of the list of assessments people have faced, with more than half all job seekers surveyed experiencing these. Over a third have undergone psychometric tests, presentations, work simulation tests or group exercises, while nearly one in ten have been asked to complete in-tray exercises. Other assessment techniques job-seekers had experienced include role-play, logic tests, IQ tests, and even physical stamina tests.

However, some assessment tests were clearly felt to be irrelevant, unfair or even humiliating to job-seekers. The worst recruitment assessments ever experienced included:

  • Asked "if you were a fish, what fish would you be and why"
  • Having to construct a horse using only paper
  • Asked to play the piano (during an interview for a role as a commercial contract lawyer), sing a song or impersonate an animal
  • An assessment that focused on unscientific handwriting sampling.
  • An in-tray exercise that was impossible to complete, even for senior management with years of experience!

    However, in spite of these difficult experiences, job-seekers are three times more likely to think that assessments are a fair way for employers to find the best person for a job than feel they are unfair. Moreover, a third say undertaking assessments makes them feel better about the organisation they have applied to, even if they do not get the job.

    Assessments which candidates favour include psychometric tests, lengthy assessments of at least half a day, properly structured interviews such as a competency-based interview, and tests which give job-seekers a taste of the actual role, such as a mock customer test during a telephone interview.

    Commenting on the research, Daniel Ferrandino, Director of recruitment web site reed.co.uk, said: "When employers have clearly thought through the assessment process, fully explain what any assessments are trying to achieve, and offer feedback to help people improve their performance, they gain excellent feedback. Indeed job-seekers think more highly of employers who offer assessments, even if they do not get the job."

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