When searching for the ideal candidate for a position, we need a way to evaluate their skills and experience. The common practice for this evaluation is through an interview. However, most candidates do not know that interviews are considered “tests.” As such, they should comply with fair testing standards. One aspect of these standards suggests that test takers should be made aware of the best way to maximize their score. In other words, test takers should be instructed on how they earn and lose points. For example, on the Wonderlic Personnel Test, a popular cognitive ability test, you earn one point for each correct answer and there is no penalty for guessing. Wonderlic also tells you that questions become progressively harder, so you are better off spending time answering early questions, which are easier to answer correctly, than later questions, which are more difficult to answer.
The reason testing standards suggest telling test takers the best strategy for maximizing their test score is because the test should assess only the variables it was designed to validly measure. Unless the test is designed to measure “test taking” skills, it should provide crystal clear instructions on how to do your best. Interestingly enough, when it comes to interviews, candidates rarely ask about the type of interview they will complete or how they will be evaluated from the information obtained during the interview. It’s a mistake not to ask for this information. Knowing the interview type helps you answer questions and display behaviors in a way that best allows the employer to predict your job success prior to hiring you. In addition, you should know how this prediction of your potential job success will be made.
As a recruiter, do you perceive interviews to be tests or is it less abstract than that?