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Saturday, January 23, 2021
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Tips & Training

Best practices for administering online assessments

With many of us shifting our workspaces from an office environment to the kitchen table, our ability to use our favourite paper-based assessments has disappeared. I’ve written before about the pros and cons of online vs paper-based assessments before, and I definitely have reasons for choosing both, but right now our options are limited to online. I’ve managed to convince some of my diehard, old-school colleagues that it’s okay to make the switch, even if it is just temporary. Here are some best practices for administering personality and career assessments online that I have picked up over the years.

  • Communicate with your clients first. Before sending the link to take the assessment, have a conversation using your favourite technology – phone, video chat, etc. ­­– and tell them why you are asking them to take the assessment and what you will do with the results.
  • While you’ve got your client’s attention, take the opportunity to go over the instructions with them. Make sure they understand the process, what to do if they don’t understand a question/statement or if they run into technical glitches.
  • Make sure they have the technology to complete the assessment successfully. It’s easy to take for granted access to high-speed internet in major urban centres, but many rural and remote communities don’t have it in place.
  • Have your client set aside enough time to complete the assessment. For the most part, it is important to complete an assessment from beginning to end without interruption. Check with the assessment administrator’s guide, since they are all different. It’s always a good idea to suggest more time; for example, it is recommended that individuals set aside 30-45 minutes to complete the Personality Dimensions® assessment online. Feeling rushed can definitely affect the way individuals answer.
  • Send the results to your client only when you are ready to go over them. While results can be reaffirming, you don’t want them to be misinterpreted; remember, a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous. Interpreting the results and framing them in a useful way are key to your client’s success.

While working at home can present new challenges – my new four-legged co-workers keep interrupting video chats when they hear someone else’s four-legged co-worker barking at a squirrel – we need to stay creative and adaptable so we can keep doing what we do best.  As professionals, we owe it to our clients and ourselves to follow these practices.  If you come across to many barriers, you will need to rethink your strategy and look at how you can work with “offline” assessments while still practising safe social distancing. As always, please reach out to me with your questions about career and personality assessments.


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Brad Whitehorn, BA, CCDP is the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at CLSR Inc. He was thrown into the career development field head-first after completing a communications degree in 2005, and hasn’t looked back! Since then, Brad has worked on the development, implementation and certification for various career and personality assessments (including Personality Dimensions®), making sure that career development practitioners get the right tools to best serve their clients.
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Brad Whitehorn, BA, CCDP is the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at CLSR Inc. He was thrown into the career development field head-first after completing a communications degree in 2005, and hasn’t looked back! Since then, Brad has worked on the development, implementation and certification for various career and personality assessments (including Personality Dimensions®), making sure that career development practitioners get the right tools to best serve their clients.
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