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Do You Have The Right DNA For The Job?

Updated on April 19, 2015
The employer searches for the one perfect employee!
The employer searches for the one perfect employee!

More and more companies, small and large, now require their job applicants to sit through an hour long assessment test that uses the algorithm to determine if you are what the employer wants. For many applicants, this is the very first step, and for many, the last. Usually, if the algorithm does not place you in the top 30-40%, you will not even be able to get to the interview. Many of these assessments have been fine tuned by the company's best job performers, so what they want are similar traits that their top performers have. They want the ideal employee and the assessment test is the first step and weeding out process.

Many of the assessments examine the applicants skills, people skills, honesty, and ask the same question differently to see if the applicant provides a consistent answer (if not, probably a lie). With so many applicants of all varieties applying for jobs and with so many of them with college degrees, assessments help employers wade through them. For the many that have no college degree, the chance of getting the job, has diminished some. Companies seek the best ever candidate for the right but cheap price. Maybe a new attorney will get $6000 a month to start but required to work 60-hour weeks! Suddenly, that $6000 does not look so good!

There is also a credential creep factor in the job market. For instance, 60% of the ads for computer Help Desk jobs insist you have a college degree but only willing to pay $17 an hour. While most of the assessment tests are easy, the applicant never knows how they did many times. They only know when nothing happens further! Many of the questions are just common sense type and really just want to see how you react, but the longer it takes to answer it, it may be recorded. As the experts warn you, these tests are no perfect and can eliminate a good candidate and accept a bad one. Many questions are designed so that the applicant cannot decide on the best answer, even though the instructions tell you, there is no right or wrong answer! This is simply a lie. If this was true, why even give them?

Another purpose of the assessment tests are to reduce employee turnover by matching the perfect candidate to the job. In one study, 20 companies with a 90-day attrition (quit or fired) averages 41%. The assessment tests were revised over a course of three years until all had reduced this to 12%! In another study, the time for employers to hire new workers has increased to almost 27 days from when the applicant applies. While it is an average, employers are willing to take more time to find that "pearl" of a person. That person who has ALL they seek, not just most of what they want.

Assessments first began in the 1940-50's, mainly for executives. In the 1960s, business thought they were not valid so the practice stopped. They returned in 1990, with the computer being able to gather and analyze the results rapidly. By 2000, many were having the assessments online. Even grocery stores utilize them for their $10-hr. jobs. In 2001, only 26% of companies use them, today nearly 60%.

While the employer seeks to find the perfect employee, the assessments actually add to the list of roadblocks in getting a job for young adults, long term unemployed, those who were in jail. Employers just do want the minimum skills needed, they want those that stand out. Employers are taking their sweet time in finding a worker. After the test is taken and results are sent to the manager, many will be given a list of those who passed with the highest score, those who are in the middle, those who failed. In 2015, for every job, there are two applicants. Just a few years ago, it was six.

Getting a job is no longer easy.


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