It always amazes me how different people view testing in very different ways. For some people, the word “test” freaks them out and they get flustered and scared and have trouble truly showing what they can do just because the task is labelled as a test. Other people get very defensive and angry at the thought of having to prove their abilities and believe they are “above” testing. Still others accept that it is something that HAS to be done so they’ll go through the process and get it done but aren’t too worried about the outcome. Then there is the group that views testing as a way to check on their abilities for themselves as well as prove to others they can do whatever is being tested. They see it as a chance to note their strengths and weaker areas and can learn from the experience. They will walk away with new knowledge about themselves. Finally, there are the competitive people. They will prepare themselves, try their absolute hardest, put extra pressure on themselves and then be either mad or proud of themselves depending on the results. These are the people who need to know what other people scored in order to compare. There is no right or wrong feeling to have about testing but it sure does tell us a lot about people and how they approach other things in life too.
We offer various types of assessments of our candidates for our clients to whom we are presenting. We see people’s reactions every day. It is very interesting to say the least. The scores are often the last thing we look at when working with a candidate. A contrived computer test or personality assessment only goes so far when giving us information on a candidate. The first reaction to the mention of it is much more useful!
In order to present candidates who definitely have the skills our clients request, we need to be able to check on skill levels of certain programs, terminology, general concepts, speed, accuracy, etc. We have to have some sort of benchmark. Assessment happens all around us, all of the time whether we’re aware of it or not. We constantly have to prove ourselves. If we don’t ever challenge ourselves and check on our abilities, we will not grow. If we do not change or grow we become stagnant and that is not good for anyone. If we are not pushed a little every day we cannot learn and adapt. We don’t want to be non-thinkers, just going through the motions of life. We need to set goals for ourselves and reach for them whether it’s on our own, in our families or on the job as part of a team.
We do not test our candidates to be mean. We do not do it to scare them or make them nervous. We do it to allow them the opportunity to show us how great they are – regardless of the end result. Some people prepare and practice prior to coming in, some just accept that it is part of the process, some people laugh it off, others pretend they didn’t know it was expected, some get irritated and even others refuse to do it. If you were recommending someone to a company for hire, who would you choose?
Assessment can be a great way for us personally, to check in on ourselves. It could be a formal test, a routine task, an unexpected event or a challenging project. We can use those activities to assess our progress, skills and attitudes and work to adjust them if needed. Our employers can also judge our contributions as we’re faced with various expectations. We truly do face “tests” every day so why do we put so much weight on it when it’s called that? Maybe we should just approach everything as a test and try our best at all times. Is it the effort that keeps us from doing that? A little testing once in a while is good for us. It keeps us genuine.
Try approaching something this week as a test and see how well you do. If you don’t do as well as you had hoped, adjust something and tackle it again. You will see that by raising the bar for yourself frequently pushes you to improve and makes other challenges in life easier to handle. By the time you take that formal exam for whatever it might be, you’ll be able to take it in stride. Best of Luck!