Testing One, Two, Three, Four

It’s the recurring nightmare: you’re back in school, about to take a test, and your mind goes blank. Suddenly the bell rings and you haven’t written a word. Relief comes when you realize that the school bell is really your alarm clock. Your dream, however, may be all too real for your candidate. Anyone who has ever muttered the words, “I hate tests,” can certainly empathize with a candidate who is reluctant to partake in the process known as skills assessment. But, testing provides employers with some level of assurance when it comes to a candidate’s ability. And with a wide range of tests available, along with choices of online or offline programs, skills assessment is literally (and mathematically) at your fingertips. Brainbench.com is a company that performed more than 400,000 assessments in 1999. Featuring a variety of test categories, Brainbench features online testing, with the results available via email. Brainbench’s extensive “Current Technical Tests” include “Cisco Network Implementation,” “Javascript,” and “Oracle Developer 2000,” among others. “Communications Ability,” “Skills Tests,” “Financial Tests,” “Industry Knowledge,” and “Computer Users” are some of the other Brainbench assessment categories. Under “Communications Ability” you’ll find tests for “Written English” and “Written German,” while the category “Skills Tests” has “Editing & Proofing” and “Typing Speed & Accuracy” tests. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> “Financial Tests” include “Accounting Principles,” “Financial Analysis,” and “Taxation,” among others. In the “Industry Knowledge” category there are tests for “Medical Terminology,” “Computer Industry” information, as well as other general knowledge tests pertaining to specific industries. Under the heading “Computer Users,” you’ll find tests for software such as “MS PowerPoint” and “MS Word.” Brainbench assessment products may be purchased on a stand-alone basis, although there are volume discounts for multiple test orders. A full-service account option is also available. With a full-service account you can take advantage of volume discounts, customized assessments, and data management features. A demo test is available at the Brainbench Web site. Know It All, Inc., a company that has been in the testing business since 1993, is a provider of Prove It! skills tests. While Brainbench is in the online testing business, Know It All tests are software-based. Products are available for purchase on a per-test basis, or as part of industry packages. A “Call Center Testing Suite,” a “Medical Staff Skills Package,” a “Legal Staff Package,” and an “Accounting Skills Package” are among the products currently offered by Know It All. There are also various technical testing products, including an “Entry Level Tech Test Package,” and a “Tech Test Complete Package.” Each Know It All package includes an array of tests. The “Office Skills Package,” for example, features 15 tests. With everything from a “Basic Office Skills Survey” test to an “Office Math Skills” test, the package includes various assessment options. While Know It All pre-bundles its tests, packages may also be customized. In addition, the company seeks input from users regarding the need for new products. A spokesman for the company indicates that new tests are developed based on custom inquiry. Know It All products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Product demos are available at the company’s Web site. Test.com Inc. has tests, tests, and more tests. Many of the categories, such as “Exam Prep” and “K-12,” may not be applicable to your particular work environment, but a number of general assessment products can be found under the “Office Skills” and “Computer Programming” categories. The company also recommends its “Personality Profiler” for use in the pre-employment assessment process. Test.com sells blocks of “credits,” which are applied as tests are taken. “Credits” are purchased via credit card at the site. In the testing business since 1988, SkillCheck Inc. is a provider of both online and offline assessment products. Among the available Web-based tests are “U.S. Certification Tests” in “PowerPoint 2000: Microsoft Certification – Expert” and “Excel 2000 – Microsoft Certification.” Aptitude tests are also available online, as are a number of French, German, Spanish and Dutch certification review exams. SkillCheck’s offline products are more extensive. Among the software-based product categories are “Call Center,” “Accounting,” “Retail Sales,” “Legal,” “Medical” and “Programming and IT.” There is a package available for each product category, but tests may be purchased a la carte. Package customization is also an option. In addition, SkillCheck allows you to create customized tests. Information regarding this process, as well as a demo of an online test, is available at the SkillCheck Web site. With a variety of products on the market and the means to administer tests easily, skills assessment need not be your nightmare. By doing a little homework, you can find tests that will score with your organization.

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Paula Santonocito is an e-recruitment strategist and columnist for AIRS, the global leader in Internet recruitment training, tools, news and information. AIRS News:www.airsdirectory.com/news/newsletters/ AIRS Training:www.airsdirectory.com/products/training/ AIRS SearchStation:www.airsdirectory.com/products/tools/searchstation/

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