Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

How to prepare for a test at an interview

You’ve got a second interview, and you’re happy for the call back. But you’re also unnerved since you were told to expect testing – a word you’ve dreaded since grade school.

Take a deep breath and relax, says Julie McCarthy, an associate professor of management at the University of Toronto.

That’s not just common-sense advice. McCarthy and several colleagues recently worked on a study that shows how lower anxiety levels are linked to better test performances.

Increasingly, job candidates must demonstrate competency by scoring well on a standardized test.

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  • “The applicant pool for a job is so large now that [testing] is a way for employers to filter applicants,” explains Josh Millet, CEO of Criteria Corp., which develops testing.

    McCarthy’s research found that results predict the candidate’s job performance. That’s true for the many types of tests administered to jobseekers: personality tests, cognitive ability exams, job knowledge tests and situational judgment tests.

    Because of the predictive validity, if a candidate doesn’t do well on a test, they may not be right for the job. But relaxation does improve results, and that’s why McCarthy advises taking in a few slow breaths and exhaling before the testing begins.

    Questions typically center on the knowledge needed for the job. Many company websites contain information on what types of tests will be administered, says McCarthy. Some free tests can be found at, adds Millet.

    © CTW Features

    Marilyn Kennedy Melia CTW Features