Ira Wolfe
Ira Wolfe
Dec 25, 2019 · 3 min read

Alex — thanks for sharing your experience. You’re spot on: hiring and the candidate experience sucks in many companies. In fact, it’s “FCDD up.” (You can read more here! But I disagree in principle about pre-employment testing. Admittedly I’m biased — it’s my business. But like guns and other weapons, it’s not the tool that’s the problem but the user! I could go paragraph by paragraph but I’ll spare everyone. But allow me to select a few:

I agree 100% and love this: “ a better term would be “pre-interview” (instead of pre-employment. I’ll quote you when I write and speak about this in the future. But again this is a symptom of a horrible hiring process, starting with the job description (which rarely reflects what it’s like working for the company) and the job application (which requires a candidate to provide a lot of irrelevant and non-job specific data.) So let me ask…if you had an awesome experience through the application and a great first (and maybe 2nd) conversation, would you feel the same way?

Based on the rest of your article I suspect your answer might be yes. Here’s where I disagree. The tests — when used properly — are quite helpful and accurate. Job seekers like you might not agree but they do actually save you from getting a job offer when you might not be a good fit with a manager or in the company culture. You might be a great candidate but your work experience will suck when your style conflicts with the manager or values of management.

That issue aside. your perception of “Assessing my job aptitude based on my ability to do long division without a calculator is ridiculous.” That is true if math was the only thing being tested. If math is required, use a simple math test. If not, cognitive testing (when properly designed) is essential for many jobs. A cognitive test is also used to assess how quickly you can process new information, learn new skills, keep up with a fast pace. Many of the cognitive tests I recommend are written down to a HS school level. If that level of proficiency isn’t required, a company shouldn’t use them. Otherwise, the level of proficiency might depend on job requirements, pace of the work, and how much training the company provides (the less training and the more a company expects, the higher the cognitive abilities required.)

So again, your experience sucked but that’s not because the assessment is invalid but employed with consideration to you, the candidate.

In defense of employers, job seekers contribute to the need to automate screening. With the proliferation of “quick apply” and sites like ZipRecruiter, companies are inundated with hundreds and thousands of applications from candidates who meet zero qualification. Regrettably, many companies just look for quick-and-easy solutions without considering the consequences. Pre-employment testing just happens to be one of them. But used at the right time in the right context, they are incredibly valuable for both the company and you.

Thanks again for sharing. You made my point crystal clear for the companies I’m trying to help.

Ira Wolfe

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Ira Wolfe

A "Millennial trapped in a Baby Boomer body, Ira S Wolfe has passionately embraced how exponential change will impact the future of work, jobs, and society.

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