This Is A Test! This is ONLY A Test!

    Have you ever been on an interview and suddenly something weird happens right in front of your prospective new boss? Maybe you’re invited out to lunch and the waiter keeps screwing up your order. Perhaps you’re in the middle of the interview process and suddenly can’t reach anyone directly. Every time you reach out you’re forced to leave a voicemail.

These moments may seem coincidental – they’re not. Believe it or not, these are tests. The interview process is still very much underway and you are still being evaluated.

You see, as business progresses forward, there is a stronger need for employers to ensure they have the right people in the right positions. The interview and what the interview is designed to look for become more and more critical. Managers want to know more about you on a personal level. Just being able to do the job is no longer enough. You, now more than ever, need to show that you have the attitude and soft skills needed to be a success with that team and that organization. They want to see that you are the right fit and asking you questions you’re already prepared to answer won’t work for today’s savvy employers and HR pros.

Innovative managers and HR experts have come up with incredibly creative ways to screen applicants and gain insight into your soft skills and personality.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite tests and ways to recognize and successfully pass them.

Employers will ignore your call on purpose forcing you to leave a voicemail or send an email.

Why? What are they looking for?

This is a test to evaluate your verbal and written communication skills. Your potential employer wants to know if you are capable of leaving a voicemail and/or message in a charming yet professional manner. Do you send a follow-up email after leaving a voicemail? Do you leave a voicemail or do you simply hang-up?  These are all things that are being evaluated by your interviewer.

Remember that your behavior here provides insight to how you’ll manage your responsibilities once hired. Be sure to call and leave a warm and well put together voicemail. Include your name, phone number and a reminder of the position you’re interviewing for. Be sure to repeat your name and phone number at the end of the message. Voicemail messages are listened to quickly and rarely are they listened to more than once. Managers meet a ton of people when they’re interviewing and it can be difficult to remember every detail so including a reminder helps. This shows that you are thinking. Mention that you will send a follow-up email and then send one.

Your interviewer will invite you to lunch. What you don’t know is that they’ve already instructed the waiter to wreck your order on purpose.


Your interviewer (and quite possibly, future boss) wants to know how you handle yourself when things don’t go your way. How do you deal with adversity? Do you lose it and have a full blown temper tantrum or are you calm, patient and rational? In life and in business, things often don’t go your way. It’s often in these moments of frustration and disappointment that one takes off the professional mask and their true colors come out.

Whatever you do, remain calm. Keep your emotions in check. Mention the mistake and kindly send it back. If you fail to do this and say nothing, this sends the message that you have no backbone. If you are overly-confrontational and use foul language, this sends the message that you are difficult to work with and will be the problem child of the team. Nobody wants that. Kindly sending it back shows that you, while remaining calm under unfavorable circumstances, will not accept anything. You’re willing to speak up and request a change if need be.

Your interviewer leaves you in the waiting room with your competition. The Receptionist is present. They can see and hear everything.


This is a test. How would you handle something like this? Do you introduce yourself or do you sit there and play with your phone? Do you make the effort to break the ice and talk to the Receptionist at all? Consider the position you’re interviewing for.  Is it one that will require you to interact with others (your team, clients, vendors, etc.)? If so, your actions here will let your interviewer know how open you are.

Be sure to introduce yourself to the Receptionist (or whoever is sitting at the front desk). Strike up a conversation that will hopefully give you more information about the organization. Shake hands with those in the room and smile. This shows that you’re secure and confident. You’re not rattled by the competition. You’ll stand out before your interviewer even shows up. Once you leave, your interviewer will ask for the Receptionist’s opinion. Make sure you are memorable for all the right reasons.

Remember that today’s interview processes are much more involved than they used to be. Employers are looking for inventive ways to find out more about who you are. Technical skills are great, but they want to know that you’re going to be a great fit with their corporate culture. The way you handle tests like these will give them their answers to proceed with caution, integrity and wisdom!

Thank you for reading my post. My name is Pamela Shand and I want the best for you in your career. It is my hope that you find everything you read here helpful in advancing your career. If you did, feel free to follow my blog for future articles. I regularly write on resume building, interview success and various ways to unravel common and not-so-common career snags.

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