How to Answer Interview Assessment Questions With Confidence

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 25, 2022 | Published November 5, 2021

Updated August 25, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An interview assessment is often one of the first tools companies use when deciding to hire new talent. Skilled professionals can improve their prospects of getting their dream job by studying this process and preparing for it beforehand. By showcasing your personality, talent, and qualifications, you may gain the ability to stand out among dozens or even hundreds of interviewees. In this article, we explore the basics of assessment questions and discuss the steps to answer these queries with more confidence.

What are interview assessment questions?

Interview assessment questions are tools used by companies to assess an employee's ability to fit into a role. These questions go beyond testing whether you can perform a job. They also may test if your personality makes you a good fit for the company's culture and the mindset and functions related to the position. Your goal when answering assessment questions goes beyond proving your talent. When faced with two equally qualified candidates, interviewers are likely to choose the most confident candidate.

While experience and talent in one's field are certainly of value, the final deciding factor is usually the opinion of the interviewer. Veterans can generally excel in skill-based testing, but most interviews are multi-part. They may have sections focused on assessing your work ethic, relevant skills, personality, and your overall vision for the role. Confidently answering questions regarding your personality and work ethic can put you ahead of candidates who did slightly better in the skill portion of the test but weaker elsewhere.

Related: Understanding the Steps of the Interview Process

How to answer assessment questions with confidence

Answering assessment questions confidently is generally about preparation. Learning as much as you can about your assessment helps you to predict what your interviewer may ask you. The more you prepare, the greater variety of questions you can confidently and immediately answer. Where specifics may be unavailable, you can often still gain useful information by reading up on similar tests in your field. The following steps can help you better prepare for your assessment:

1. Learn what you can about the process beforehand

Some companies use formal assessments, using a particular list of questions for all candidates meant to evaluate their abilities. Others may use a less formal approach, with interviewers asking from a set of questions they feel are most relevant to you. It can be very helpful to call your hiring manager ahead of time to clarify what the assessment process might be like. By asking about the interview process and if there is anything you can do to prepare, you can gain valuable information, all while showing you care about the position.

An important element of this approach is monitoring the hiring manager's comfort level. Some companies keep certain aspects of the assessment process private. You can ask the hiring manager if there is anything that they cannot talk about yet. Then you can work together to get some of the clarification you want, without broaching any topics they prefer not to disclose.

Related: Skills Assessment Tests: What You Need to Know

2. Review sample questions

Unless a company is very forthcoming, determining the exact content of an assessment can be challenging. This means the next step is to research the questions that commonly appear on similar assessments. Some of these may be industry-specific questions, while others may be more general questions related to your personality and motivations. Begin by searching for sample assessments for positions similar to the one you applied for to find the most useful information possible. For more general questions, like those related to personality and work ethic, you can also broaden your search to outside your industry.

Practise answering these questions based on the expected format of your interview. For example, speak answers aloud if you expect the interview to be verbal. Consider the limitations the assessment may put on your answers. For example, develop your answers keeping in mind the assessment may involve a time component. You can even design your answers so that you can cut or add specific sections based on your remaining time and the interviewer's interest.

3. Try to arrive rested and energized

People usually interview and test better when they sleep well. Before the interview, you can create and respect a strict sleep schedule to improve the quality of your sleep. Doctors recommend most adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Many people also see further benefits if they can instead get an average of eight or nine hours.

Sleep helps to improve recall, which often plays a critical role in assessments. It can also make your assessment more comfortable, as your body is likely to feel more refreshed and energized with regular sleep. This can help you remain focused on your test and your interviewer's demeanour. While these effects can often be subtle, the overall advantage of good sleep is worth the effort it might take to correct your sleep schedule.

Related: What is Cognitive Ability? Definition and Examples

4. Analyze questions before answering

When taking an assessment, read the instructions carefully and try to review the exact wording of a question before responding. This helps you to answer any questions that use complex language and ensures you always give a complete answer. The only exception is if your assessment has a time element and you begin to approach the end of your allotted time. In that case, it may be better to answer all the questions than carefully analyze a few of them.

While this applies to written tests, it's also relevant to verbal assessments. When an interviewer asks a question, consider pausing to analyze what they have said. By taking a few seconds to consider the question, you can better understand the question and construct a more complete answer. You can also use phrases such as "That's a good question, allow me to consider it a moment" if you want to explain to the interviewer why you have gone temporarily silent.

5. Consider answering questions in reverse order

One testing technique you can use to your advantage is to answer questions in reverse order. This approach carries distinct benefits for both verbal and written assessments. Verbal assessments can help with memory. Interviews may ask multiple questions at once. By answering their questions in reverse order, you often stand out from other candidates. The flow of your answer becomes more distinct and memorable, while still providing the information they've asked. You also give yourself more time to consider their earlier questions.

On written tests, answering questions in reverse order often gives you valuable insight into earlier questions. Many people who write assessments design their tests with a particular flow. Early questions may be on foundational facts and skills with later questions focused on the implementation of those facts and skills in more complex scenarios. By looking at those later questions first, you can often observe how the writer constructed the question to better understand the elements within it. If earlier questions mention those same elements, you can use that gained insight to better answer the earlier question.

6. Assume all questions matter

When taking an assessment, it may sometimes appear certain questions are highly subjective or purely opinion-based. You might see questions about your life goals or the way you spend your free time. Even these questions have answers that can help you convey your merits as a candidate. Work on the assumption every answer you give is important and you can give the best impression to the company assessing you.

Some companies may look for particular personality types. They may want to know about your work ethic or how strong your online presence may be. They do this to check how well you might fit into your applied role. Be honest when answering questions that cover these topics but also choose your words with care. The often open-ended nature of these questions can give you an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Consider what information that applies to the question might be of significant interest to the company interviewing you.

Related: Skills Assessment Tests: What You Need to Know

7. Review your work

Whenever you finish a portion of an assessment, review your work before submitting it, if possible. You can use this review to fix any mistakes and make any additions you think might improve the piece. A review helps make sure your assessment is an accurate reflection of your skill and knowledge. For open-ended questions, you can often add to your answers even if your original was correct. The more complete you answer a question, the better you may score.

You may want to flip any testing materials, making sure you didn't miss any questions. Pay attention to the page numbers if you wrote your answers in a testing booklet. If the book seems to skip any page numbers, you can check for stuck pages or ask the assessor about the discrepancy. This final review helps you submit your test with confidence, knowing you performed to the best of your ability.

Related: Leadership Assessment (With Definition, Benefits, and Tools)

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