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When an employer gives you a questionnaire or job assessment test as part of the interview, the way to "pass" is to know as much about the job as you can, but also to relax and answer the questions honestly. According to Criteria Corp, a company that administers Web-based employment tests, questions typically fall into four categories: personality, aptitude, knowledge of the job and job skills. In terms of preparation, ask the employer what will be covered. If you don't get any information, take the time to prepare for all of the standard questions.
Job Questions: Conduct Research
If the questionnaire includes questions about the job, find out as much about the job as you can ahead of the interview. Read over the job posting and pay special attention to any essential duties or functions listed. Check out the company's website or perform an online search to look for links to articles about the company and how it operates. Try to get hold of a current or former employee on LinkedIn to get more details about what the job entails. With all of this background research, you should have some very detailed information to provide, if the questionnaire asks you to describe the job.
Skills Questions: Review Materials
To prepare for questions about your skills, go back and review any educational materials you have from college courses that apply. Check out industry-specific publications that pertain to the job to find out what's new in the industry or trends that are emerging, and what new skills you'll need to keep up. If you're involved in a networking group or a trade group related to your career, talk to fellow members to discuss ways to hone the skills you may need in the new job. Look for online quizzes that can test you on skills you'll need for the job. There are a lot of quizzes out there that test things like grammar, spelling or basic math. This preparation can help you answer questions about the expertise most necessary for the job and help you identify specific strengths you'll want to mention.
Aptitude Questions: Arrive Prepared
Since aptitude is a natural ability, it's tougher to prepare for questions that test this facet of your candidacy. Doing crossword puzzles or quizzes that test your aptitude in certain areas could help. If you know you're going to be tested in numerical reasoning, for example, do some online quizzes about the topic in the days ahead of the test.
Also take steps to show the employers your very best on testing day. Things like eating a good breakfast, getting a good night's sleep and arriving to the testing center well ahead of time, so you don't feel rushed, will help you have the clearest head possible for the test. This will help you answer aptitude questions, as well as helping you do your best on the other elements of the test.
Personality Questions: Be Honest
Another aspect of the questionnaire that you can't -- or shouldn't -- fake is the personality section. If employers ask you questions about your personality or how you'd describe yourself, your best bet is to answer these questions as honestly as possible. There are really no right or wrong answers to personality questions; employers are just trying to gauge whether or not you are the right fit for the job. If an employer wants someone who is detail oriented and you say you are, but you're really not, you may find yourself in a job that you neither like, nor excel in. Trying to fit into a role for which you're not suited can result in failure, and that's going to be a waste of time for all parties involved.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.