3 Interview Assessment Fears and How to Overcome Them

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  • Date: 14 Nov, 2019

There was a time when an interview was all a candidate needed to get through to be given the job. Today, however, it is far more likely a candidate will be required to go through an assessment process. This may consist of one or more pre-employment tests before being selected for interview.

It is quite usual to have fears concerning the process. We’re going to focus on three big fears and give you practical advice on how to conquer them.

1: Not knowing what to expect

Fear of the unknown rears its head in all areas of life. However, in this case, there are some things you can do about it.

You should have some information on what to expect from the assessment process. For example, you may be told you will be required to sit skills-based tests relevant to the role you are applying for. An office-based role might require you to demonstrate your knowledge of Microsoft Word or Excel (or both) for example.

Even if you are not given any examples, you can use the information you have to search for some online. You cannot prepare for the exact test you will take, but you can certainly get a good idea of what to expect and even take practice tests. You’ll gain some familiarity that will take the sting out of the fear.

2: Running out of time

Many employment tests and assessments have time limits attached. You’ll know what these are in advance, but it is easy to panic and feel you’re running out of time before you even begin.

By trying some practice tests before attending the assessment, you can gain confidence and avoid that feeling of panic. The best approach is to thoroughly read the instructions before you begin, to be sure you understand what is required of you. You can then begin the test with more confidence.

Some experience with practice tests prior to the real thing also means you’ll fare better with timing. This also helps conquer the first point we mentioned above. Two benefits for the price of one!

3: There’ll be lots of candidates there who are better than you

This is a fear that should be viewed from two places. Firstly, you can do nothing about the talent (or lack of) displayed by other candidates. Secondly, you can do lots of things to make sure you give your best impression throughout the day.

Remember that while you might take pre-employment assessments on paper or computer, this is only part of the equation. Many companies also observe how candidates react and behave in between tests, if there are several to be completed.

Be sure to present your best self throughout, even when you think you are just waiting for the next test to begin. Be confident, relax, and smile at those handling the assessments. Be remembered for the right reasons, not because you were slumped in your chair staring at your smartphone during those periods of downtime.

You might notice these three fears all work together if you let them, making everything seem bigger and more frightening than it should. If you prepare for the assessment process, you’ll find these fears don’t get the chance to get the better of you on the day. You’ll perform far better as a result.


Guest post. Denise Allen is the Head of Marketing at Skillsarena who provide online talent tools which enable organisations to select staff, develop employees and retain valued staff throughout the employee life cycle.

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