How Job Candidates Can Prepare For Employment Tests

Did you just apply for a job and get asked to take a pre-employment assessment? While this request might feel a bit nerve-wracking at first, you don’t need to stress yourself out! There are simple steps you can take to set yourself up for success and get ready for your upcoming Criteria assessment:

person on computer, email prompt

Relax and breathe.

These assessments are meant to help employers objectively understand you and get a more complete picture of your abilities. Your test results are just one of many factors that will be used to evaluate whether you’re suitable for the role. Our assessments are designed in a way that help you to highlight your best self to employers – not to eliminate you from the running. If you’re prone to test anxiety or feel stressed about this type of assessment, give yourself both the time and space to relax before you begin.

Set yourself up for success.

It’s common for prospective employers ask applicants to complete an assessment before the interview stage. If you are taking a test remotely (not at an employer’s place of business), calculate the amount of time you’ll need to complete the assessments, then cut out all distractions during that timeframe.

Criteria assessments are device agnostic, meaning they can can be taken on any device: laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. Choose the device you feel most comfortable using. Before your start your assessment, turn off or mute any notifications so you can avoid distractions during the test. If must take your assessment in a shared space, let others around you know that not to bother or distract you during the tests.

Read the instructions.

One of the most common mistake test-takers make is not taking their time to read the instructions carefully. You can have as much time as you need since the time doesn’t start until after you’ve read them. Take all the time time you want to read and understand them before you begin. Often, the instructions can give you hints about optimal test strategy: for example, if there is no penalty for wrong answers, it’s okay to guess and move on if you’re stuck on a tough question or are running out of time.

Understand the Different Assessment Types

Knowledge is power! Take some time to familiarise yourself with the different types of assessments you may be asked to take.

Personality Tests

Personality tests measure traits associated with strong performance in a specific job. These tests look at  core behavioural traits that don't typically to change much over time. On a personality test, there no right (or wrong) answers. But keep in mind that some personality traits are strongly predictive of success for certain roles, depending on how well your personality fits the demands of the job. By evaluating your personality upfront, you can determine the position is one that will satisfying you in the long run. So don't try to pretend to be someone you’re not for the test! You could land yourself with a job that doesn’t fit well with who you are, and wind up back on the job hunt trying to find satisfying work.

Aptitude Tests

Cognitive aptitude assessments evaluate problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, and your ability to learn and apply new information. This type of test gives employers an understanding of how fast you’ll come up to speed in in your new position, as well as insight into your potential to succeed long-term. If you want to learn more about the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test, check out the prep guide.

Emotional Intelligence Tests

Emotional intelligence (EI) tests measure your capacity to identify and understand emotions, as well as how to use them in an effective way. Criteria uses an interactive and immersive emotional intelligence assessment that evaluates your ability to identify emotions in people’s faces and to understand how different situations influence emotions.

Skills Tests

Skills tests help employers evaluate the skillset you already possess. Some tests check out your basic math and verbal abilities, while different skills tests help to confirm how comfortable your are with computers, your typing speed, or your understanding of a particular software program.  These simple tests are designed to demonstrate that you possess the necessary skills to succeed on the job.

Risk Tests

This type of test is meant to evaluate your attitudes towards specific beliefs in the workplace, from work ethic and reliability to on-the-job safety. These assessments help organisations mitigate risky behaviours in the work environment by hiring candidates who have are more likely to be reliable, productive, and committed to safe practices.


No matter what type of test you’re asked to take, the best thing you can do to prepare is to ensure you’re in a comfortable, distraction-free environment, and that you read the instructions and review the example questions many times as you need to before you start your assessment.