Over the last few years, recruitment consultants have moved many of their shortlisting activities online, including asking applicants to take online assessments. Recently I completed the Sova Online Assessment after my cover letter and resume passed the first stage in a bulk recruitment process.
I’d applied for a large Australian organization where there were multiple positions being offered. Here are some tips:
It’s helpful to know there is a set of practice exercises you can do beforehand. I recommend you do this, so you can test your hardware and the webcam works okay. (I do not recommend using a mobile phone). You can see how the questions and answers work so you’ll feel more confident.
Sova has a range of different assessments, these options include:
- Situational judgement questions
- Video interview
- Verbal reasoning
- Numerical reasoning
- Logical reasoning
You’ll want to set up your test for a time when it’s quiet, so turn your phone to silent. You might like to go to the toilet and have a glass of water ready. I had a calculator ready, but you can use the one on your computer. I also put out some paper and a pen.
I quickly tidied up my kitchen as it shows up behind my webcam. I cleared off my desk from distractions, including my mobile phone. I placed a large canvas board in front of my bookcase to hide some of the visual clutter. It’s not an ideal set-up, but it’ll do until my Japanese doorway curtains arrive.
I’m glad I tried the practice video first, as I didn’t have my web cam hooked up. When my husband works at home, he hooks it up to our second television monitor and uses his work laptop in the spare bedroom. I fetched it and was ready to go.
For the situational assessment, you’ll be presented with a description of a workplace scenario. Then you’ll need to select from a range of ways you would typically respond to your customer.
Before I started the video interview, I was able to quickly exit out of the program and fix up my makeup. I tidied up the kitchen some more. So don’t hit the ‘Take the assessment’ button until you are 100% ready to go.
For example, you may be asked to describe a recent project you have worked on. You will have two minutes to review the question and prepare your answer. Here you can jot down some points to include.
After the two minutes preparation time, the video recording will automatically start. Then you have up to two minutes to respond. It’s not very obvious when the recording starts. But look for the rec in the top right-hand corner.
There is a timer counting down your two minutes. Make sure you take a note of this so that you can summarize your answer and wrap up your answer in time. Afterwards, you can accept (and save) this answer, review your recording or re-record it. When you click accept, it will be uploaded to the cloud. You’ll then receive a green tick icon and see it has been published.
Unfortunately, you are unable to unpublish your interview. But you can email tech support afterwards and have it removed from your record. It’s not very obvious when the recording starts.
You’ll want to adjust the webcam so you can see your shoulders, similar to a typical headshot photo. Sit in the middle of the screen. Dress for an interview in corporate attire with a plain top, including a business jacket.
For verbal reasoning, you’ll need to read a passage about consumer behaviour or a similar scenario. Then consider a summary sentence. You’ll need to select an answer from: True, false, can’t say.
I didn’t find this section particularly user friendly. The same paragraph may be used twice, but with a different sentence being tested.
The literacy test was reasonably easy to do – you just select the right words for the spaces missing in a sentence. Some words are misspelt (on purpose).
For each question in the numerical reasoning section, you will be given four options from which you should choose one correct answer. I used the online calculator, an Excel spreadsheet and then an online ratio calculator. These questions were significantly harder than I was expecting.
In the Logical Reasoning section, you will be presented with some logical questions. This was my least favourite section. I was getting fatigued and couldn’t be bothered spending the time needed to work out some of the more advanced questions.
For each question, you will be given six options from which you should choose one correct answer. Once you have selected your answer from the available responses your answer will be highlighted.
Please note that the practice tests cover all of the capabilities, but the real one may only cover some of them. Your online assessment responses will be assessed against the benchmark.
The practice tests took over an hour and way longer than I anticipated. All up, completing all of the practice tests and then completing the real thing took around three hours.
The Sova Assessment might be a handy way for employers to test literacy, numeracy and accuracy skills on mass. But I found the process time consuming and impersonal. It made me feel like a cog in the machine. The follow-up recommendation email wasn’t useful at all.
I feel for anyone unemployed or underemployed who has to complete more than one of these in a year. This process might be a way of turning off potentially good employees where English is their second language, or who don’t perform well at psychometric tests.
I’m praying I don’t have to waste my time completing another online assessment any time soon. I did progress to the next round, but then I withdrew my application due to a better offer.
Sova is a scientifically strong and digitally delivered assessment platform. Sova website: https://sovaassessment.com/