Assessment vs. Testing: What’s The Difference?

In your job application, you see a small section indicating all potential candidates will get asked to take a series of assessments and tests. Most people would probably think assessments and tests are the same, just a different choice of words.

However, assessments and tests, as interchangeable as they are sometimes, can entail something completely different. By understanding the nature of both, you get an advantage of successfully passing them in your interview process.

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Assessments are meant to evaluate your qualities and tests are to assess your proficiency in certain skills and knowledge. In sum, assessments call for a reflection after the results are generated while the end goal for tests is to get the results simply to prove how skilled you are at something.

This article breaks down all the details about assessments and tests so you can better prepare for your interviews and nail them with flying colors.

What is an assessment?

An assessment documents and quantify your knowledge, skills, beliefs, personality traits, among other things, in a universal format readable and comparable with other indexes. It is used for self-improvement.

The end goal of an assessment is not the result. Rather, the result is only the beginning. The purpose of an assessment is to evaluate the room for improvement and find ways to improve in the respective field.

The format of an assessment can take place in words, graphics, sounds, and videos, depending on the type of assessment. An assessment can penetrate your hard and soft skills to evaluate your proficiency.

What is a test?

A test is used to examine your knowledge to verify if you indeed possess the skills you claim to have. It can come in any form. For example, the bar exam for lawyers would be in written format, doctors would perform surgery during their finals, and artists would be asked to create a sketch.

The nature of a test is to check your proficiency in an existing skill. Therefore, only the outcome matters. Your final score dictates if you will get selected to the next round and if your hard skills are fit for the role.

It is a direct measurement of your knowledge. Hard skill evaluations usually refer to tests like a driving test, a language test, and a data entry test. These are quantifiable. Companies use tests to examine if a candidate has the skills required to excel at the job.

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What is the difference?

While both assessments and tests are used to check for your proficiency in certain areas, most likely a skill or knowledge in something, there is a significant difference between them.

An assessment is never meant to make you feel judged. Quite the contrary, it is to boost your confidence and self-esteem. You can take a deeper look at yourself about your skills and personality through an assessment. Then, you can make improvements accordingly. You get a good glimpse of your strength and weaknesses through an assessment.

A test is not about boosting your confidence or improving yourself. It is really just about measuring your proficiency in your skills and if you are qualified for something. It is not to serve as a reference as to how you can up your game but a benchmark to how you are performing right now. Only by passing the benchmark, you will be considered for the role you are applying for.

The results of an assessment must be interpreted for it to be useful whereas, for a test, you can take the result and use it. Companies adopt assessments and tests in their hiring process interchangeably. Although sometimes the rules change from firm to firm, in general, the following guidelines apply.

You must pass the online technical tests before you are promoted to the next interview stage. Candidates failing the test will be eliminated immediately. But for assessments, you may still be considered for the role even if you score outside of the desired range.

They are used as a reference for the company to see how well you will perform or get along with the work culture. But they should not dictate the entire outcome. The results of your assessments are used after combining your scores in other tests. They are used as a supplement to your other scores.

All in all, an assessment is an instrument for dissecting various aspects of your skills and a test is a medium to rank your skill level as compared to other competitors.

Why are assessments and tests important?

Companies want to save their time in screening out unfit candidates. The whole process can be long, dull, and costly. Online assessments and tests filter out candidates automatically without investing lots of manpower.

On top of that, assessments on soft skills like personality traits assess your interpersonal skills. It is highly crucial for companies to hire talents that will be good team members.

By doing a personality test, not only can the company tell if the role goes to the right person, but the candidate can also see if the role aligns with personal goals and interests. It lowers the turnover rate and boosts the overall morality of the firm.

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Online screening can standardize the quality of new hires and systematically enhance loyalty by letting through those with similar characteristics. The majority of companies insert assessments and tests in their hiring process one way or another.

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Assessments and tests are not just two different words with the same meaning. A clear understanding of their nature is beneficial in your job hunt.

Whether it is an assessment or a test that you have been invited to take, it can be daunting at first. But there is really no reason to be, with preparation and full knowledge of what you are dealing with, you will be able to handle any assessment or test thrown your way.