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The right fit

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Testing skills and aptitude before hiring is a growing trend amongst employers.

Productive employees are among the core assets of any organization. But as employers face the daunting challenge of selecting the best possible candidate from potentially hundreds or even thousands of applicants, pre-employment tests are becoming a valuable tool in screening and evaluating job seekers.

“Pre-employment tests are a good way to test a person’s abilities and check if they’re a fit with an organization and its culture,” says Cecile Peterkin of Cosmic Coaching Centre in Toronto.

“They’re designed to test your abilities, which are your natural talents, and your personality. Are you a team player? How do you manage your time? Are you organized? Do you have integrity? Are you honest?”

By narrowing down the pool of qualified candidates, pre-employment tests can save an employer time. Because applicants can’t prepare for a test like they can for an interview, it provides a truer picture of their abilities and personality, proponents believe.

“People are well trained for interviews. They hire career coaches like me,” Peterkin says. “Interviewers look at past performance as a predictor of how you will perform in the future. You’re asked questions that begin with words such as, ‘Describe’ and ‘Tell me about.’ People are able to prepare for those interviews, but aren’t able to prepare for pre-employment tests … That person can ace the interview, but aren’t the right fit once they’re on the job.”

It’s in your best interest to answer pre-employment tests honestly. “It’s difficult to lie and it’s best not to lie,” Peterkin says. “For example, you may indicate you’re a team player, but if you’re not and you prefer to work on your own, you won’t benefit and the company won’t benefit by hiring you. It should be a fit for both. If you have the personality and attitude the company is looking for and fit the organization’s culture, then you can certainly be trained.”

Pre-employment tests aren’t replacing face-to-face interviews, but are designed to complement them, advocates maintain. The results can even be used to generate a list of questions for the live interview and create a level playing field among applicants.

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