Competency test – is it worth taking?

In the era of a dynamically changing job market, a competency test is becoming increasingly desired. But is it worth taking? Let’s look at its benefits and potential pitfalls.

What is a competency test?

A competency test is a tool that allows for the assessment of a candidate’s or employee’s abilities and skills. It usually relies on specific criteria and standards that reflect the requirements of a position or a specific role. These tests can take various forms – from written exams, practical tests, to interviews or simulations of professional situations.

Using competency tests gives an advantage in the recruitment process. It allows for precise matching of a candidate to a position, avoiding costly mistakes in employment. Moreover, even if a candidate has impressive experience or education, it’s the competency tests that verify their actual skills.

For employees, such a test is an opportunity to highlight their strengths. The ability to demonstrate skills in practice, instead of just relying on words in a CV, provides a chance to present their potential better.

Why use competency tests?

One of the main reasons is the elimination of subjectivity from the recruitment process. Recruiters, despite their best intentions, are human and can be unconsciously biased. A competency test is an objective tool that minimizes the risk of making a wrong choice of candidate.

These tests also allow for quick screening of candidates. When many people apply for one position, the ability to quickly and accurately assess is invaluable. It reduces the recruitment time and the costs associated with the selection process. Moreover, competency tests become an excellent developmental tool. Employees can identify their strengths and weaknesses, which can influence their decisions regarding further education or training.

What are the drawbacks of competency tests?

While the benefits are evident, potential pitfalls should also be noted. Above all, not every competency test is well-constructed. Inappropriate questions or tasks can lead to incorrect results.

Another challenge is interpreting the results. Without proper knowledge and experience, even the best test can give misleading results. Hence, it’s crucial to trust only proven tools and HR specialists. Finally, it’s worth noting that not everyone reacts the same way to a test situation. Stress, time pressure, or even just a bad day can affect test results, which doesn’t always reflect a person’s actual competencies.

How to prepare for a competency test?

Before taking a competency test, consider a few key issues. Firstly, familiarize yourself with the test format. If you know what to expect, you’ll be less stressed. This might involve reviewing sample questions or talking to someone who has taken the test before.

The next step is understanding what the test is about. If it’s a technical skills test, you might want to refresh your knowledge in that area. If it concerns soft skills, think about situations where you demonstrated those skills in practice. Also, remember the basics. A good night’s sleep, a balanced meal, and a positive attitude can enhance your effectiveness during the test.

Feedback after the test – why is it important?

After completing a competency test, many people expect feedback. And rightfully so. Feedback helps understand what went well and what can be improved. If you passed the test successfully, feedback can help you realize which of your competencies were most appreciated. This can be valuable for further professional development.

If the results weren’t as you hoped, constructive criticism can help you identify areas worth working on. Remember, every piece of feedback is a valuable lesson and an opportunity for growth. Competency tests are becoming increasingly popular in the world of work. They offer precise skill assessment but also pose a challenge in terms of pressure and the need for continuous improvement. The key is proper preparation, a positive attitude, and the ability to use feedback. Then a competency test ceases to be an obstacle and becomes a tool for success.


Tim Carney



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *