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Testing Outside Your Office? A Few Tips....

  
  


Testing applicants remotely can make your life easier.  You can pre-screen the applicants, before they step one foot into your office.  Fewer people to interview, more efficient process, quicker time to hire.  It would be a no-brainer, if only you could be sure that it's not your applicant's cousin's uncle's sister's plumber actually taking the test.  And who's to know if the applicant is looking up answers. Surely your applicants wouldn't do that, would they? It can be tough to decide whether or not to allow remote testing, but here are a few thoughts to help you navigate those rough waters.  These are not "set in stone" rules by any means but you can use these thoughts to help make the decisions.

1.  You can administer behavioral tests remotely and then administer skills and knowledge tests within your offices.  Applicants might be more likely to cheat on skills tests (ie Excel tests) and knowledge tests (ie accounting tests) than they are on behavioral tests, where the answers are less clear-cut.


2.  Tell applicants about how much time it should take to complete each test.  If you don't, the applicant might initially think that, after starting the test, he/she will have hours to complete it, which may lead them to research possible answers.  If an applicant knows that the Microsoft Office test should take about 30 minutes, then they will usually complete it in a similar time frame--around 30 minutes, not three hours.

3.  Tell applicants that you will be re-testing final candidates in your offices before the job offer is made.  And then do so.   This will reduce the temptation to cheat because the applicants know that they will have to test again.

None of these are fool proof ways to eliminate cheating but can provide some peace of mind that you are getting an accurate picture of the applicant's abilities.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

5 Reasons Job Applicants Dislike Pre-Employment Tests

  
  

Most people don't like tests and job applicants are no different, especially when the stakes (employment) are so high.  Here are a few reasons from applicants that we've heard in conversations over the years.

1.  Not sure how the pre-employment tests relate to the position.   Hiring managers need to be clear about what type of tests will be administered and how those skills, aptitudes or behavioral traits relate to the job.   In other words, why are you giving me an Excel test if the position rarely uses the program?  Just because it's nice to know if they have the skill doesn't mean you should test them (we've heard that).  Test topics have to be highly job related. 

2.  Not sure how test scores will be used.   Is this a knockout test that will eliminate them from the job competition, or are the test results being used to identify training areas post-hire?  Is it more (or less) important than the in-person interviews?  (Hint: should be less). Employment testing results should only play a supporting role in determining the best fit for the job and managers need to explain how much the scores factor into the decision.

Frustrated Job Applicant

3.  Too many tests.  From the applicants' perspective, even one test is too many.  The goal should be to test only on topics that are related to an employee's success in the position. Given unlimited time and money, we could all test on every component of a job.  But be aware of your applicants' time constraints and test fatigue that can occur after long bouts of testing.

4.  Testing location.  In a perfect world, candidates would be able to test from the comforts of their own home.  But that's not always possible because there might be concerns about test security in an unproctored environment.  So if they must test in your offices, please find a quiet location, free of distractions (phones, visitors, etc), on a computer that isn't the most ancient one in the office, to administer the tests.

5.  Anxiety and nervousness that comes with testing.  Only a few twisted individuals enjoy taking tests (see photo).  The rest of us get anxious.  Nervous.   And it's a completely understandable reaction.  To reduce the butterflies, encourage your applicants to use the practice questions or warm up tutorials, if available. Tell them them how to prepare, if appropriate.  Just make sure that you give each applicant the same amount of preparation advice.

Applicants are never going to like tests.  And these days applicants can think of more than five paltry reasons that they don't like tests.  But with a little planning on your side, you can help your applicants perform to their highest level by dealing with the items above. 

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Pre-Employment Tests: 3 Common Questions

  
  

Here are three common questions asked about our pre-employment tests on a monthly Employment test questions?basis by clients and prospective clients . 

QuestionMy applicants want to see their test scores and results.  Should I share the results with them?

Answer:  Probably not.  If used properly, tests are only one part of the selection decision.   Although extremely valuable, it's important to place an appropriate amount of weight on their scores.  Other factors will certainly contribute equally, including structured interviews, background screening and reference checks.   You would not typically share the results of those other parts of the hiring process so it's likely best not to share scores.   You don't want the applicant to think that the decision was based solely on the scores when the tests merely helped you complete the picture of the applicant.

QuestionIf the applicant is testing outside of your office, then how do you make sure they are not cheating?

Answer:  There's no 100% ironclad way to prevent cheating if you are not testing in a proctored environment, such as your office.  Even using fingerprint scans and video are limited in insuring that the applicant is not getting outside help.   If it takes a longer than average time for an applicant to complete a test, you might want to question them further or re-test in your office.  Excluding timed skills tests (Typing and Data Entry tests), our pre-employment tests are not generally timed but we can provide guidelines on how long each assessment should take on average, which could help identify cheating. If testing remotely, you should also advise the applicant that you reserve the right to test them again in your office before the job offer is extended to insure they have the required skills and knowledge.

Question Why don't you have a single test that measures overall computer skills?

Answer:  "Proficiency in computer skills" means different things to different folks.  In the past we've offered general computer skills tests but we found that clients preferred to use the application specific tests, such as Excel tests or Word tests.  The general pc skills tests, while helpful, didn't provide enough in-depth analysis.  The comprehensive Excel test, for example, will give a highly accurate, detailed picture of the applicant's Excel skills.  If you're looking for specific knowledge of a specific program, then a general pc skills test will be only moderately helpful. That said, we do offer test customization options that allows you to design a test(s) that perfectly matches your job descriptions or job families.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Microsoft Office 2010 tests reporting for duty!

  
  

EmployTest continues to lead the way with the release of the Microsoft Office 2010 skills tests.  These highly interactive, performanced based tests are the first Office 2010 tests on the market.  Our "Standard" version of the Excel tests (and other Microsoft Office 2010 tests) tackles Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced skill levels.   Later this month the Basic, Essentials, and Advanced versions of each Microsoft Office test will be released.  microsoft office tests

What's the difference between Office 2007 and Office 2010? 

There are a few significant differences.  The ribbon tool that debuted with Office 2007 now has been extended to Outlook and this program also offers more ways to organize emails, as well as the ability to import contacts from Facebook and LinkedIn.  Excel's management of pivot tables has been enhanced.  PowerPoint has new video customization options and the ability to broadcast videos online.   That's just the tip of the iceberg.  There's much more that you'll need to make sure your employees or job applicants are knowledgeable about. 

Why is this important to you?  

Well, it might not be if your organization is not switching to Office 2010 any time soon.  But if your organization is switching to Office 2010 (or has already switched), you'll want to make sure you're testing applicants on the version of the software that's used in your offices.  Always remember that your employment tests should mimic the actual job experience as close as possible.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Can individuals buy our Employment Tests? No way, no how....

  
  

Some of our comrades in the employment testing industry have decided to have their cake and eat it too.  They decided that it makes good business sense to allow individuals to purchase their tests, on their own, to prepare (or practice) before they go on a job interview. 

Well, allow us to politely disagree. We do not, will not, allow individuals that are seeking jobs to purchase tests from us.  And believe me, we get plenty of requests to do just that.  Past research has shown that many of our website visitors are in fact not hiring managers.  Instead they are job seekers looking to learn more about how our testing works in order to "ace" the pre-employment tests.  

And we certainly wish those folks well.  We too want them to succeed on the tests but we do not provide them with test samples nor do we offer to sell them "practice" tests.  And these tests are often not really practice tests--they can be the same exact pre-employment tests that are being used by hiring managers to measure job skills and knowledge.

For example, if you're selling them the practice Excel test in the morning, and then that afternoon they take an Excel test administered by the interviewer, it's highly likely that they will perform better because of these practice tests. 

We value the money our clients have invested in our testing system and don't want to minimize that by selling practice tests to individuals. Is it unethical?  Well, we wouldn't go that far but definitely questionable.  When you use our employment tests, you'll have the confidence that your applicant wasn't practicing on the same test 30 minutes ago.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Job Candidates Lie? Really? (Part 2)

  
  

According to HR Recruiting Alert, job candidates are strategically "crafting" their resumes to cover up any weak areas in their job history and references (related article).  Is that a surprise?  Certainly not.  Since the dawn of our careers, we've all "spun" our resumes and job experiences to put us in best possible light. 

What's unnerving about this information is the deliberate lack of honesty that seems to be driving these people.   The top 3 areas that are lied about are...

-Employment Gaps

-Fake references

-Phony responsibilities

There's even a website selling information on how to lie on your resume (fakeresume.com).  Disgusting, yes (although admirably entreprenurial).

None of us are naive enough to think that all information on a resume is 100% accurate. But we also want to believe that our candidates are not blatantly lying about their history.  

The solution to this problem requires a dedicated investigative approach to your selection process.  And pre-employment testing would likely assist you in these efforts.  If a job requires Excel skills, then give the applicants an Excel test.  If a job requires excellent customer service skills, then administer a customer service skills test.   Taking a resume (and an interview) at face value will not do justice you or your company.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Expert help for Excel users

  
  

As mentioned before on this blog, our interactive Excel test is one of the main reasons that companies use our test system.    Perhaps you're using them yourself.  If not, we hope that you are using some other company's testing tools to better screen your applicants. 

Our Excel test will help screen applicants with little or no knowledge of Excel.  Yet Excel is a complex program and even if your new hire performs well on an Excel test, there still might be times when he/she (or you) are faced with an Excel issue that it not easily answered.  Not a technical issue with Excel but instead a problem that they are trying to solve with Excel but just can't get it work right.

The website Mr.Excel.com can help.  Beyond Excel related tips and training products, they have a forum where you can post your Excel question or challenge and forum experts will post responses.   This can be much more effective than slugging your way through the Excel Help utility in the program.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!
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The Excel Test: Does it have questions on (fill in the blank)?

  
  

Need an Excel test?  You are not alone....The most frequent reason people find our website is because they are searching for our Microsoft Excel skills testing.  Usually it's to be used pre-employment testing but it can also be used for pre-training assessments.

Visitors want to know what topics are covered in this Excel test (of course, they can always sample it here).  The 35 questions in the Standard Excel test cover these skill levels in roughly equal proportion: Beginner, Intermediate, & Advanced.  Here are a few topics that are included:

-Formatting (Borders, Alignment, AutoFit)

-Editing (Undo, Copy, Cut, Paste) 

-File Management (Save, New Template)

-Tools & Automation (Zoom, Range Name, Protect)

-Analysis (Charts, Functions, AutoFilter, Sort)

Some of these questions might be easy to anyone familiar with a Microsoft Office program.  Yet as the questions progress into Intermediate and Advanced skill levels, you understand why this Excel test is our most frequently used employment test.  Do those questions sound too easy for your situation  We also have an Advanced version, which is finely tuned for just those Power Users.  Want to see it in action or learn more?  We're proud to show it off as it is the most realistic Excel skills test on the market.

 

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!

Microsoft Excel Test: How Would You Score, my HR Friend?

  
  

Microsoft Excel, the most collectively frustrating software program in the world.  Millions are challenged by it daily.  Not to say that there aren't more difficult programs to learn.  Because there certainly are.  But Microsoft Excel is the program, across the globe, that confounds the greatest majority.  And because it's so critical to office staff, it's the one program about which applicants will most often misrepresent their skills.

Why is that?  Maybe because job applicants think they can get away with such deception.  They often can because the Hiring Manager often does not have the proper Excel skills on their own to distinguish Excel mastery from overstated skills.  And they shouldn't have necessarily have those skills, unless it's part of their job.  Not when there are Microsoft Excel tests that help determine precisely what the applicant knows.

Searching for Excel tests is the number one reason (by far) people find our website and sign up for our employment testing program.   Just shows how hard it is to determine those skills by simply asking questions.  You are not alone, my friend.  Others that are hiring are in the same boat as you.  It's virtually impossible for an interviewer to determine, just by verbally questioning them, what an applicant knows about Excel.  It can't consistently be done.

Which leads us to the question:  How would you, as the Human Resource Professional/Vice President/Business Owner, score on an Excel test?

The answer is....it doesn't really matter.  Your job may or may not require those skills.  So you may not need to know it at all.  And you will be smart enough to use a Microsoft Excel test that will independently assess each applicant's skills, without you having to "dance" with the applicant to figure out what they know.

Would you like a sample of our pre-employment tests?  Just visit Try a Test to get started!
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