February 24, 2024

Pre-interview skills assessments are a scam!

Have you ever had to jump through hoops just to land a job interview? Tests, assessments, pitches, ideas, random questionnaires? And I’m not talking about doing this after an interview. No, all of this is just to even get to the interview stage with the hiring manager. If you’re lucky, you actually got the job after all the effort, but most candidates are not so fortunate. In fact, they put in all of that hard work for free and still get rejected, regardless of the time and skill they wasted. There has been an increase in companies (even smaller start-ups) asking candidates to perform tasks to “prove themselves” in order to progress to the interview stage of the recruitment process. This is concerning, to say the least, because it is a mostly unnecessary step. Why?

Because your resume, indicating your qualifications and skill-set, is what should get you to the interview stage.

The probation period (which should be paid, by the way) is when a candidate should prove their skills. This is because there is a commitment from both parties at this point. Working for free, even as a “test” is unacceptable. You are using your time, skills, and energy on these companies who are giving you no value back in return. It’s a rip-off. You should know your value and your worth in a work environment. This is articulated well in an answer in asktheheadhunter.com, which you can read HERE. The probation period is when the employer can assess your skills thoroughly. If they, or you, are unsatisfied at the end of this period, then you can amicably part ways. No loss incurred on either end because you would have been paid for your time and they would have conducted a conclusive test. Pre-interview tests, on the other hand, only disadvantage the applicant, which is abuse, in my opinion. So, how do we fix this power imbalance?


This article from fastcompany.com, which you can read HERE , suggests that a solution to the abuse of power can be for companies to pay candidates for the work they do during tests, since they are utilising their time and skill. Regardless of the outcome, the candidates won’t feel used because they will gain something for their precious time. These companies would pay other workers dedicating their time, so why not pay test candidates?


The bottom line is that a lot of companies take advantage of desperate job applicants. There is a power imbalance, even though the workforce is who builds these companies up. There’s a reason why these job ads exist. You are worth more than they want you to believe. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship and, dare I say, transaction. So, pre-interview skills assessments are a scam. Let us know in the comments if you have ever experienced this in your job application journey.

Did you enjoy this article? You might enjoy this one, too: Improve Your Resume – Get Hired

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *