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Which Office Test should we use?

  
  

Which test should I be administering? 

It's a common question from new clients.  The "Available Test" list in an account might be a bit overwhelming, especially to a new testing administrator.

Many of the test titles are self-explanatory, such as the Accountant test or Legal Typing test.  Questions commonly arise, however, in the category of computer skills tests.  We have many different options for Microsoft Office tests, with the most frequently used tests being Microsoft Excel tests and Microsoft Word tests.

If you're testing skills in these topics (Word, Excel), here's a quick guide on which tests are which:

  • "Standard" tests:  Most commonly used tests for Word and Excel (35 questions each).  These comprehensive tests cover basic, intermediate and advanced skills and provide the overall snapshot of the user's skills.  Also often used to determine training needs of current employees.  These tests do record the time taken on the test but do not have a time limit.
  • "Standard 30 minute" tests:  Same comprehensive test as described above, but these tests will stop at 30 minutes, with any unanswered/unattempted questions marked as "incorrect".  Often used in unproctored environments when user is testing at their home.
  • "Advanced" tests: Similar in length to the Standard tests (approximately 30 minutes) but covering only Advanced topics (no basic or intermediate skills).
  • "Basic" tests:  Similar in length to Standard tests but just covering the basics of each program (Copy, Paste, Print, etc).

You may see an "F" (for Adobe Flash technology) at the end of an Office 2007 test title and, if so, that's the better version to use.  All Office 2010 tests are flash based, which provides a better user experience (so you won't see an "F" at the end of those).

If you're looking for a combination test that covers MS Office in a single test, we have a "Digital Literacy Software Skills" test that covers the basics of Word, Excel and Windows in a single test.   Because it only contains 28 questions, it won't go into much depth in any of those topics but will give a quick snapshot of skills in that area. 

Test Admins also find these topics lists useful for the Microsoft Excel test and the Microsoft Word test. The topics lists are found on those linked pages (above right of red dots).

As always, we're here to help with the questions you have. 

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

Poor Performers Waste 1 Day per Week of Managers' Time

  
  

Managing the efforts (or lack thereof) of poor performers consumes 17% of managers' weekly time, so says recent a survey of more than 1400 CFOs across a wide range of companies. 

But the damage isn't just at the managerial level.  The poor performers also have a negative impact on their coworker's morale, with more than half respondents saying it "somewhat impacts" morale and a full third saying it "significantly impacts" morale. 

Of course, we would all avoid making hiring mistakes if we could spot the bad apples before we making an offer.  But that's easier said than done.  

So how do you avoid these poor performers?

Before starting the selection process, invest some time in planning (and re-writing if needed) the job description, which will help you identify which skills and knowledge is critical for the job as it fits into the company's overall goals.  Job descriptions will often change as staff members depart, so keeping each position's description current is critical.  As the article points out, make a list of "must-have" attributes vs. "nice-to-have attributes" and seek input from a variety of people about which category these attributes fall into. 

Most selection processes will benefit from some type of pre-employment assessments, whether it's a Microsoft Office test or some other type of employment test.  While you shouldn't make hiring decisions based solely on results of employment tests, they will help you get a better picture of the candidate's skills and knowledge.

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

Microsoft Office Tests with Time Limits--Now Available

  
  

You asked for it and we did it.  Our loyal customers have recently asked about including a time limit on our Microsoft Office testing products in order to manage the hiring process more effectively and also to help insure their applicants don't have time to research possible answers. 

We listened to those requests and are happy to announce that the Microsoft Office tests listed below are now available in a 30 minute timed or untimed version.

  • Excel Tests (2007, 2010):  Basic, Standard, Advanced
  • Microsoft Word Tests (2007, 2010):  Basic, Standard, Advanced
  • Access Tests: (2007, 2010): Basic, Standard, Advanced
  • Outlook Tests (2003):  Standard
  • PowerPoint Tests (2007, 2010): Basic, Standard, Advanced

There will be more employment tests modified to include time limits with the goal of helping you better manage your applicant flow.  We also offer other tests with time limits, including typing tests and data entry tests, as well as attention to detail tests. If you have a specific one in mind to be added to your employment testing account, please call or email us.

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

Your Questions Answered.....

  
  

Here's a question about our employment tests that comes up often:

"Are the questions the same for each test? "

For example, if our applicants take some of the Microsoft Office tests, are the exact same questions on each test?

And the answer is a resounding "yes".

Although our tests, particularly our computer skills tests, are often used for training and development purposes, they are usually used are part of the hiring / selection process.  You, as the test administrator, must be able to accurately compare the scores between job applicants.  To do so, the applicants must be experiencing the same questions in the same order.  So as you evaluate the scores, you'll be able to look question by question and compare the results to see which questions were missed. employment test questions

We always strive to present a consistent testing experience for each candidate so the same test questions is our responsiblity.  As the test administrator, you want to do the same, in terms of creating a consistent testing atmosphere and coaching (if any).

Often the spirit of that question is that they want the test questions to be randomized so that users cannot cheat or share answers with their fellow applicants.  Because many of our tests are so interactive (ie a Microsoft Office test), we have fewer concerns because these tests are not multiple choice.  The applicant actually has to perform the task, not just guess at the answer (or remember what their friend told them).

So that's the scoop on consistent test questioning.  Let us know what other questions you have by calling (1.800.836.1901 x1) or emailing us here.

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

2011 Ethics Survey Results: Better, But Not Great...

  
  

The Ethics Resource Center has released the 2011 Business Ethics Survey and the results are, well, less than what we would be hoping.  This is a national survey of employees at all levels who are at least 18 years old and work at least 20 hours per week.  The total was almost 4700 respondents who worked in for-profit organizations. 

An eye-catching 45% of respondents had witnessed employee misconduct during the past year.  However, the good news is that number was down from the past survey periods and was in fact the lowest percentage since 2003.  Here's part of what they found...

  • 33% of respondents witnessed misuse of company time.
  • 20% of respondents witnessed abuse of company resources.
  • 12% of respondents witnessed stealing or falsification of hours/time.
  • 11% of respondents witnessed substance abuse.

Overall the incidences of bad behavior decreased from previous times, but certain behaviors were on the rise, including bribery/kickbacks, which went from being witnessed by 5% of respondents to 9%.  employment testing

The report implies that part of this increase could be due to managers watching employees' activities "more closely", which 34% of respondents say is happening.  Another interesting finding is that active social networkers are reporting more negative experiences in their workplaces and are much more likely to experience pressure to compromise their standards than less active networkers.

So what does this mean for you?  As a hiring manager, you need to take steps to learn as much as possible about your job applicants' integrity and honesty.  It's not just about Microsoft Office tests or clerical tests any more.  We can help.  We have proven behavioral profiles that will provide insight about these specific behavioral traits, plus many others.

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

Online Tests vs. Software Tests: What's the better choice for you?

  
  

It's a common question.  We're one of a handful of companies that have both a software installed test system and also the ability to test online via the Internet.  

Here's the scoop...

Most clients (approximately 90% of them) choose the online version where the testing takes place on our website.  No programs to install.  The applicant can take the test from any location (your office, their home, etc).  Plus it costs less to get started.   And there's never the issue of losing the software disks, files, or the testing computer--you never have to move the program.

However, sometimes the software version is the better fit.   If you're testing more than 50 people per year and they can come to the computer where the program is installed, it might work best.  It's a one time cost (not per user). Once you pay for it, it's yours to use as much as you need at no additional cost. Test til the end of time for that price.employment tests?

Some people like the online version because it doesn't take IT department help to install or maintain.  They can do it all on their own.  With the online version, you have access to all of our employment tests titles, even those you use only rarely (for example, Financial Analyst Tests or Typing Tests).  With the software version, you can only test on the modules that you purchased (ie Microsoft Office Tests or Excel Tests).

What's the best situation for you?  As with everything, it depends but we'll be happy to walk you through it to see.

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

Digital Skills Alone Won't Cut The Mustard

  
  

It turns out that the next generation of workers may need a bit more than excellent digital and computer skills to succeed in the world, according to a new study by John Mullen of Gonzaga University:

"Today's young digital natives may be ill-suited for jobs in high-trust fields such as diplomacy and sales, because prolonged exposure to computers is reconfiguring their neural networks and possibly diminishing their empathy and social skills.  Overreliance on computer-based interactions may Behavioral testshamper an individual's ability to judge intent and influence others."

Many of the tests that are used by our clients are related to computer skills and clerical skills:  Microsoft Office tests (especially Excel tests), Basic Computer Literacy tests and other Office Tests.  But especially if the position is in some type of relationship-oriented role, behavioral traits can also be evaluated by our test system.  We offer assessments that measure job critical traits, including areas such as customer service, management aptitude and sales aptitude.  If you want to go further, we can help with turnover risk and self management assessments.  There are many options beyond the standard computer skills and clerical skills tests.   We'll help identify those candidates that bring more than skills alone to the table, especially for positions that relationship oriented.  Come to think of it, what positions aren't relationship-oriented these days?  Not too many....

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

How Much Is This Testing Really Going to Cost.....

  
  

When people call us, that's the burning question in the back of their mind. Most of them are polite enough not to ask it as their very first question, but it's rare that a conversation doesn't include it. 

The pricing plan for most organizations is pretty simple. You buy test units to test your employees or job applicants. It's a per test unit pricing model.  You don't sign a contract and there are no monthly charges or set up fees.  dollar

Each test that is completed uses one test unit.  By "completed", it means that a score report was generated. If someone stops halfway through an Excel test, then that does not use a test unit (until they complete it).  If someone never starts your Microsoft Office test, no units used.  If an applicant freaks out and leaves your computer skills test sitting there on the computer, nothing used.  Only when the test is actually completed does a unit get used.

The pricing is based on the number of tests given.  It's a price per test (not per applicant).

For example, 

3 tests per applicant   x   10 applicants = 30 test units needed.

Here's how it typically works.  Clients buy test units.  Then use them all.  Then reorder again as needed.  Most companies will purchase what they need for 3-6 months, expecting to reorder again at that point.  Of course, they really don't want to be in a position that they need to reorder, because reordering means that they now have open positions again. 

Is it expensive?  Usually not, as compared to other costs of the hiring process.  It can even be a net savings when you factor in your (and your coworkers') time spent with unqualified applicants.   The testing cost can grow if you have to test many applicants.  But most people agree it's cheaper to pay that cost than to have hired an unproductive new employee.

To view the pricing levels, please visit our Pricing page.   If you have special pricing questions, just give us a call at 1.800.836.1901.


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

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!

Check out our latest video!

  
  

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