What Is a Culture Test?
When you hear the term “culture fit,” you might imagine moving to a new country. You might worry about adapting, blending in, liking the society you are about to immerse yourself in, or even the locals liking you back.
However, “culture fit” applies to life in our home countries as well, and nowhere more so than in the job market.
When applying for a job, it is vital that you have the workplace skills needed for the position you are seeking. A prospective employer will naturally check up on that.
But in a world of larger workplaces, being a good fit for a position is not just about being able to do the job.
It is also about how you fit in with the company’s beliefs and values. For a workplace to run smoothly, it is necessary that employees share the company values and behave in accordance with them while employed there.
And to ensure that future employees understand and follow their values systems, companies apply pre-employment testing, usually in the form of personality tests during the recruitment process.
And for the employee who wants to get the job, thorough preparation is essential in the same way it would be if you were planning a trip to another continent.
Preparation is best done by using the services of a job test preparation company.
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How to Understand Company Culture?
The first step in your preparation is to find out as much as you can about the culture of the company you are applying to. A look at their website might reveal some key points about the people they like to employ.
If, for example, you visit the Amazon website, you will discover that their driving force is delivering good customer service, both in the goods they retail, but also in how they treat their customers.
To ensure Amazon lives up to its promises, the company has created a work culture where diversity and inclusion play an important part.
They place a high value on teamwork and employ people capable of rising to the challenge in workplace situations. They examine job applicants’ teamwork skills and their willingness to put the customer first.
Applicants seeking employment at Amazon and at a range of other companies need to be prepared for culture fit testing.
How Can I Prepare for Culture Fit Assessments?
Having found out about your selected company’s culture, your next step is to find out what assessments you will have to do to prove you are a good fit.
However, searching for guidance on your own can be time-consuming. You are not always guaranteed you will find accurate information.
Instead, we recommend using the services of Job Test Prep, a company with thirty years of experience in helping applicants ace pre-employment testing.
You will find out about the format of the assessments and get the preparation resources you need.
All of the material you need comes in a test prep pack containing:
- Detailed information about the tests you have to do
- Sample test papers modeled on the real exams to practice on
- A system to check your scores as you do the sample papers
- Videos and guides to help you do the real tests successfully
To get an idea of the type of tests they give you, try your hand at this free sample personality test.
What Assessments Are Used to Test Culture Fit?
The company will inform you about the means by which you will be tested. This may include one or more of the following:
- Personality testing
- Situational Judgment Testing (SJT)
If you are asked to do one or all three of these, you will need to keep what you know about the company’s culture at the forefront of your mind when being tested.
For many, the term personality testing can be a bit of a misnomer. It brings to mind, “Am I a nice person to be around?”
That question, however, is only relevant to your downtime personality.
In pre-employment testing, it applies to your workplace personality and how you are likely to behave when employed by the company. When doing the test bear this factor in mind.
To get an idea of how personality testing works, read the following question.
Select one answer to illustrate your response to the following statement.
I’m not one to be concerned about things.
Strongly Disagree/ Disagree/ Neutral/ Agree /Strongly Agree
Now try playing around with the answer. Select each answer in turn, then sit back and consider what the answer is saying about you.
If you are a relaxed, easy-going person in your downtime, you may have selected “Strongly Agree”. However, if you are applying for a job as a police officer, the same answer will paint you as somebody who is not going to be concerned when witnessing a crime being committed or seeing a citizen in distress.
Try doing the question again, this time imagining you are being tested for your ideal job. This is how you will approach the questions in your pre-employment personality test.
To put what you have read into practice, try your hand at the following free sample personality test.
Situational Judgment Testing
The title Situational Judgment Test is almost self-explanatory.
The test looks at how you would behave in work-related scenarios. It is assessing if you are able to judge a situation and deal with it appropriately. More importantly, it is assessing if you could deal with the situation in the way the company wants employees to deal with it.
Again do your research on the company’s values before undertaking the test. Bear in mind that where employers are concerned, employees represent the company when dealing with clients.
Your SJT answers are not just saying something about you, they are also telling the employer how you would represent the company if you worked for them.
Try doing the following question. Note this is a question from an SJT for a customer service position. When doing the question, imagine you have applied for a customer service position with a large retailer akin to Amazon.
As you did with the above personality test, try selecting each of the answers and decide what picture the answers give of you and also of the company.
A customer calls the customer service line. He says that since he had to wait so long, he is now in a hurry and doesn’t have much time to speak. Which of the following is the most important response from the representative?
A. Apologizing for the long wait.
B. Suggesting a better time for the customer to call when the line is less busy so that he can talk without the pressure of time.
C. Proceeding at the usual pace in order to thoroughly solve the customer’s problem.
D. Adjusting his conduct to the customer’s need by showing desire to complete the task quickly and effectively.
Test yourself further with this free sample SJT, this time for a supervisory position.
Interviews naturally assess your competency skills. But don’t forget you are also giving an idea of your personality when doing an interview. In fact, questions asked in interviews are often taken from personality and SJT tests. When working on sample SJTs and personality tests, you are, in effect, preparing for your interview as well.
Preparation materials will give you interview guides, but there is also a lot of groundwork you can do yourself.
Review any positions you may have previously held and find examples of instances where you showed the traits the company you are interviewing for might be looking for.
For example, you may be interviewing for a customer service position with a retail company. Can you remember a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation?
Or perhaps you are interviewing for the position of a law enforcement officer. Have you ever experienced an incident where you had to calm down a tense situation? How did you deal with it?
Remember that not all scenarios may be work-related. If this is your first job interview, do not be afraid to draw on experiences you may have had at school or college. What matters is that the scenario recalled reflects favorably on you.
Are the assessments Hard?
All recruitment assessments are hard.
You have to show that you have the skills and qualities the prospective employer wants in the workplace.
Employers realize that the best way to conduct their business is to hire the best candidates available to them, meaning that you have to outshine the other applicants in your search for that job.
But with solid preparation, you can do it.
Tips to Prepare for Culture Tests
Use your sample papers as the backbone of your preparation. This will ensure:
- You are becoming familiar with the style of questioning
- You are learning to work within the time limits imposed in the tests
- You can monitor your progress from test to test
Approach the tests with the confidence that comes with having done the work and knowing you deserve to ace this!
If you have upcoming tests to assess if you are a good fit for a company’s culture, you will find all the resources you need to help you here.
Written by Elizabeth O Mahony
With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.