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Assessments, How can you successfully pass them?

Assessments are used as part of application procedures to measure whether the qualities and skills of a candidate match the job requirements. But what do these assessments exactly entail, and how can you ensure that you score as high as possible?
An assessment usually follows the job application interview, and measures skills and personal traits which the employer finds important in a future employee. An assessment can consist of different components, of which the following are most common:

• An individual conversation with an assessor, who will look for information about you as a person. During this conversation a profile of you, consisting of your core qualities, motivations, communicative and social skills, and character traits at work, is constructed.
• An IQ test will test your intelligence and reasoning level. These tests include analogies, figure series, syllogisms and arithmetic progressions.

• A personality test evaluates your personal characteristics. You are asked to indicate to what extent you agree with certain opinions or whether the specific behaviour that is described is relevant to you.
• Practice simulations try to give an impression of your behaviour, by imitating actual situations. ∙ In-basket-test: This test involves sorting out a pile of mail in a certain time period. It gives an indication of your ability to distinguish main issues from the subsidiary ones, and to take the right actions in a chaotic situation.
∙ Role-play: In a role play with an actor, you have to reach certain aims.
∙ Presentation: You get half an hour to prepare a presentation.
∙ Fact-finding: In a fact-finding test you have to solve a problem by finding out the missing information in a role play with a customer.
∙ Group discussion: In a group discussion with other candidates, you get the task to solve a difficult situation, such as the distribution of a limited budget, the necessity of a reorganisation or decisions of expensive investments. In this discussion you have to keep track of your own particular interest.

Assessments are conducted by assessors, who can be specialised recruiters, managers, or psychologists. Most companies outsource the procedure to a professional testing office, but others do the assessments themselves. The duration of an assessment can vary from several hours to a couple of days.
In a final report, assessors will present their findings on your capabilities to fulfil the position. Unfortunately, not all agencies work very professionally. Make sure you know at which agency the assessment takes place and what your rights are! For instance, you have the right to look through the report before it is sent to the employer. If you think the report is inaccurate, you can tell the agency not to send it, but if the company does not receive your report, you will run the risk of not getting the job. When you do give permission, the agency can only send the report to the commissioning company. If you think you have been treated unfairly, or have doubts about the validity of the assessment, indicate this to the agency that conducted the assessment. If this does not get anywhere, inform the company in a formal and calm manner. And one last tip: always ask for feedback! An assessment takes a lot of time and preparation; you do not want it to be a waste of time and effort. If you did not get the job this feedback can be an advantage in your next application. Assessments also give you the unique opportunity to gain more insight into yourself. By knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are at the start of your career, you have a huge benefit!

• Assessments are exhausting, so make sure you are fit. If you are ill on the day of the assessment, cancel it! Your concentration will be diminished, your reaction time slower and you will score lower. Rescheduling the appointment is usually not a problem.
• Prepare well; not only by reading books about assessments and practicing IQ and personal tests, but also by talking to friends or acquaintances that have done an assessment before. What questions were posed and how did they experience the assessment? Ask your close friends to write down your good and weak points and practice simulations with them. If you know what to expect and you are familiar with the questions, you will be more comfortable and confident.
• Think about yourself and the requirements for the job. Come up with concrete examples that demonstrate that you have the skills that are needed. Use an assessment to show the interviewer the best view of you as a person and employee.
• It can be helpful to contact employees of the company where you would like to work. You can find these people through, for instance, LinkedIn or career fairs. Use these channels to acquire inside information about the company or a position.

• Do not present yourself better or different than you actually are. Assessors will see through this, and it can also give rise to a very one-sided or contradictory image of you. Besides, it is also in your interest that the position fits you!
• An active attitude is important. By being passive, you do not show much of yourself. While by taking the initiative you can create a more equal two-way dialogue. Not only will this ensure a better atmosphere, it will also give you the possibility to emphasise your strong points.

Would you like to obtain additional information? Visit the websites or (only in Dutch).


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