I Took An Online Assessment With A Global Tech Company: Things You Should Look Out For
We’ve all been there. Or we’ve all known someone that’s been there.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about the dreaded online assessments companies are utilising increasingly as part of their hiring tools.
The worse part? These assessments form the initial stages before the actual interview. Feeling overwhelmed? I would be too.
But no worries, because we’re here to guide you through this seemingly impossible task.
Spoiler Alert: These tests are harder than they actually seem.
Preparation is key.
It’s no secret that technology-centric, Fortune 500 companies or MNCs have been increasingly adopting these practices as part of their recruitment processes.
While this is a progressive step towards modernising hiring practices, it’s no surprise that many applicants struggle to both understand the significance of such tests and the appropriate strategies needed to tackle them.
For obvious reasons, we won’t be revealing the actual questions used. We will however, go through a few sample questions and discuss what they actually test for.
1. Sample Questions
Let’s begin with a qualitative question.
“Seedly runs a motivational system for its employees. Every marketing manager is assigned a KPI every month. If he/she fails to meet the KPI, then he/she will receive a written warning. If a marketing manager receives a written warning, he/she would not receive their monthly bonus. Only employees who receive their monthly bonuses would have their pictures hung on the wall of fame”.
Based on the information given, which of the following statements must be true?
- Marketing managers who have their pictures on the wall of fame have met their KPI
- Every single employee who received a monthly bonus was assigned a KPI
- If a marketing manager did not receive a monthly bonus, he/she did not meet their KPI
- All marketing managers who had received a written warning had failed to meet their KPI
Process of Elimination
Logical? Yes. Easy? No.
We will begin by highlighting the essentials:
- 1 Marketing Manager = 1 KPI
- KPI not met = 1 written warning
- 1 Marketing Manager + 1 written warning = No bonus
- Employees with bonus = Wall of Fame
By process of elimination, we are able to come to a logical conclusion.
|Marketing managers who are on the wall of fame have met their KPI||FALSE||Wall of Fame = Bonus
1 Written warning = KPI not met
Statement does not explicitly say that KPI met = Bonus
|Every employee with a bonus was assigned a KPI||FALSE||1 Marketing Manager = 1 Bonus
This statement references every single employee and is not limited to marketing managers only
|Marketing managers without bonus did not meet their KPI||TRUE||KPI not met = 1 written warning
Marketing manager + 1 warning = No bonus
|All marketing managers who recieved warnings did not meet their KPI||FALSE||1 Written warning = KPI not met
However, statement references a written warning
There could be other situations that lead to a warning issued
Next, a quantitative question.
“20 men can finish assembling a car in 20 days. What is the number of days required to finish another car (with the same efficiency), if there were 25 men instead?”.
- None of the options above
Let’s break it down logically.
- 20 men = 20 days = 1 car
- 1 car = 400 man-hours
- 400 / 25 men = 16 man-hours
On average, applicants usually take 5 to 6 minutes attempting such questions.
For reference, it took the team 3 to 4 minutes plus additional discussion to come to the above conclusion. But I digress.
Online assessments are usually 30 minutes long and consists of anywhere from 15 to 20 questions. That’s approximately 2 to 3 minutes per question.
Divide that by 4 parts and that’s a measly 45 seconds per option.
So, what can we do to better prepare for such assessments?
Keeping your mind clear
Probably the most logical, the best thing one can do to prepare is to be in an environment with zero distractions.
Optimally, one should also have ample rest before beginning each attempt.
Further, while seemingly the most obvious, read your questions carefully and place particular emphasis on verbs such as:
Doing your homework
Whilst these questions are “simplistic” in nature and are originally meant to test each applicant’s logic comprehension and reasoning skills, that doesn’t automatically mean one should go in without any prior mental preparations.
Particularly, community sites such as Medium, Quora or Reddit are helpful in narrowing down probable assessment scenarios, their recommended solutions and tests rationale.
Here are two websites that you can check out for practice tests:
Disclaimer: These sites may require an email sign in.
3. What do they actually test for?
According to industry experts, these tests are usually employed for the purposes of averaging out unsuitable candidates.
Arguably, while these tests may not necessarily have one single correct answer, hiring teams would realistically have the best answer chosen. Coupled with the average answer chosen by all applicants, the correlations between these two metrics provide interviewers a quick insight into an applicant’s cognitive reasoning, problem solving skills and personality type.
In essence, these pre-interview assessments provide top tier companies a cost and time efficient elimination tool that segments applicants based on the concepts of averaging.
By now you may be struggling to understand exactly what skills could be ascertained from questions such as the one listed above.
- Binary reasoning. Does 1 Bonus = Wall of Fame?
- Attention to detail. Particularly, the emphasis on absolute truth (“must be true”)
- Ability to make reasonable assumptions based on information given
- Logic comprehension
- Deducing reasonable probabilities
- Mathematical aptitude
- Communication (Translating complex information into simple formats)
- Pattern recognition
So! You think you’ve got it all figured out.
Have a go at this last brain teaser, supposedly ranked at the advanced level.
“SMRT has trains going between Commonwealth Station and Queenstown Station every hour. The first train departs at 6 am. The trip from Commonwealth to Queenstown (& vice-versa) takes 5 1/2 hours. How many trains would a person pass while going from Commonwealth to Queenstown if he/she boarded at 12pm?”.
- None of the options above