Written Test for Job Interview: Definition and Preparation Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 August 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.

Many companies use pre-employment tests to save time and to ensure they interview the most qualified job candidates. Knowing how to perform well on a written test is a valuable skill, but it requires research and practice. If you're in the process of applying for jobs, then you may benefit from learning about different types of written tests companies use to assess candidates. In this article, we explain what a written test for job interview is, list different types of tests employers administer and share tips to help you perform well.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

What is a written test for job interview?

A written test for job interview is an assessment tool employers use to examine whether a candidate has the skills, knowledge and abilities to be successful in the role they're applying for. Hiring managers may administer written tests in person or online. While written tests may vary depending on the job role and the company, they typically involve questions related to the daily responsibilities of the open position.

Employers may request candidates to complete a written test when they first submit their application or the hiring manager may contact qualified candidates after they apply to take a written test as the next step in the interview process.

Types of written tests in job interviews

There are several types of written tests that hiring managers and employers may use during the job interview process. Some popular types of written tests include:

Communication skills test

Hiring managers often use written tests in job interviews as a way of testing the candidate's communication skills. Depending on the role you're applying for and the interviewer's preferences, the communication skills written test usually consists of writing a sample letter, essay or press release. The employer typically analyses the content for grammar and punctuation. They may also assess how relevant and knowledgeable the content is.

Related: 10 Effective Communication Skills for Career Success

Aptitude test

Standardised aptitude tests aim to assess a candidate's various abilities and general behaviour by comparing their results with the typical results of people within the same age group who have the same level of experience. They may evaluate the candidate's ability to perform specific tasks related to the job they're applying for. The questions found in this kind of assessment usually involve testing an individual's abstract reasoning, memory, verbal and numerical literacy, perception of space and time, attention span and other similar traits.

Related: Important Soft Skills Employers in Hong Kong Look For

Intelligence test

This is an assessment tool designed to test the candidate's general ability to understand abstractions and handle a variety of unique situations. It typically consists of either a standard intelligence quotient (IQ) test. It may also include a set of questions or scenarios that require the candidate to use logical thinking. A good intelligence test rating is usually an accurate indicator that the candidate has the potential to quickly acquire new information and skills.

Personality test

The purpose of some interview tests is to determine the job candidate's character and overall personality. The employer's goal is to assess their soft skills. This can help employers increase their chances of hiring honest individuals that can complete various professional tasks, can work in a team environment and have the mental fortitude to handle job-related pressure.

Most personality tests include a series of questions that can be multiple-choice or short-answer. They usually relate to challenges such as workplace conflict, communication with co-workers or reactions to different situations that may reveal certain required personality traits. Some personality tests also include cross-referenced questions that have the same theme to test the candidate's honesty and intellectual consistency.

Hard skills assessment test

Hard skill assessments are specific written tests solely related to the skills and knowledge required to perform the job. They typically consist of practical exercises that measure the candidate's ability to complete frequently performed work activities. For example, if you apply for a job as a computer programmer, the hiring manager may ask you to take a hard skills assessment test to demonstrate your knowledge of different programming languages.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Hard Skills

Creative thinking test

Creative thinking tests typically consist of questions regarding previous work situations in which the candidate had to use their creativity to resolve various issues or to find new ways of performing a task. This type of test can give the hiring manager insight into how the candidate may handle unexpected work challenges. A creative thinking test may also measure a candidate's ability to develop unique and original ideas.

Problem-solving test

These tests aim to measure a candidate's problem-solving skills. They typically involve a challenge that is related to the job they're applying for. Aside from asking the candidate how they would approach and solve the respective problem, these tests may also ask them to explain their reasoning and what they would do to prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

Related: Enhance Your Decision-Making With Deductive Reasoning

Tips to perform well on a written test for a job interview

There are various ways to increase the odds of passing a written test for a job interview. Some of them are:

  • Take practise tests. Completing practice tests can help you familiarise yourself with the types of questions that may appear on the written test for the job you're applying for. You can use a search engine to find free practice tests online.

  • Practise relaxation techniques. Learning different relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness, can help you decrease stress when taking your written test. This can also help you focus and improve your test score.

  • Take care of your physical and mental health. Taking the written test when you're physically and mentally fresh can increase the odds of you performing well. A good night's sleep and avoidance of unnecessary distractions helps you stay rested and focused.

  • Arrive early. Whether you plan to take your written test in person or online, try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the test begins. This can help you ensure you have all the materials you need and prevent unnecessary stress.

  • Read the instructions carefully. Before you begin your written test, read through all the instructions. This can help you make sure you comprehend the material and improve your chances of scoring well.

  • Be mindful of the allocated time. Completing the written test within the allocated timeframe is essential. A good way to improve your efficiency and time management when taking a written test is to divide the allocated time into equal parts for each section of the test.

  • Proofread your answers. Before you submit your test, take the time to proofread your answers and revisit any challenging questions. This can help you ensure your finished written test is free from grammatical errors.

  • Be honest in personality tests. While it may be tempting to write what you think the hiring manager wants to read, opt for the truth instead. Honesty is generally regarded as a positive trait and some tests include questions that evaluate how honest your responses are by inquiring about similar issues in different ways.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

Sample questions for written job interview tests

Here are some samples of different types of questions an employer may include on a written test for a job interview. You can use these questions to practise:

  • Write an email to a customer who is unsatisfied with the service they received.

  • Describe a time you resolved a conflict in the workplace. How did you approach the situation and what were the results?

  • Create a press release for our new product to increase brand awareness. The target audience is people who have never heard of our company before.

  • Using the case file provided as a reference, develop a short one-paragraph summary that highlights the key facts and information.

  • Write a short essay on the most innovative thing you've ever done. Share what your inspiration was, how you developed your idea and what the results were.

  • Draft a report that outlines the advantages, opportunities and potential challenges of implementing a new management program, based on the materials provided.

  • Using the following information, draft the copy for a social media post promoting our new service to our current followers.

Explore more articles