Tuesday, October 14, 2014

pre-employment testing

I was notified that one of the positions I applied for, I needed to take a pre-employment test to see if I really knew Microsoft Word.  I received notification a day and a half before the testing time, but that was fine, can you really prepare for something like that?

Thankfully I did a test run, who would have thought
it would take almost an hour to go 15 miles?
I've never taken a test like this before so I wasn't sure what they'd ask.  I hoped it would be that they would give me a document and I had to replicate it or instructions on how to make a document...no problem!  I've worked with these programs for years.  It was nice to set the alarm, wake up early, get dressed and set out for the day.  I miss the routine.  And to prepare to wake early, the day before I did a test run so I can gauge the traffic (remember I said traffic here is horrible?).

But the test wasn't quite like what I envisioned.  I get there and there is probably 15 other people there for the same test.  And the test turns out to be not only word, but excel and outlook too.  Phew, I was wondering what they were going to quiz me on for two hours! But at the same time....yikes, I didn't expect that.  I selected a seat and the proctor gave us instructions.  The first test had a max time of 40 minutes for outlook.  There were few pictures and strange questions...and so many questions I had no idea what the answer was.  How can I fail an Outlook test when I used Outlook for my work mail for 10+ years?  The proctor left the room just as I was finishing my Outlook test and loading my second test.  But the screen didn't load.  I sat there for a while waiting for him to return.  15 minutes pass and I get up and look in the hallways for him...nowhere.  I go to the reception area thinking she can find the proctor, she wasn't there.  I go back to the hallway with the bathroom....nowhere.  People were starting to leave the test - they finished all the sections and there I was not being able to advance to the next exam.  What kind of proctor is able to leave the room for so long?  Was he pooping?  Where was he?  I have been a proctor for 13+ years, unacceptable in my book.  I started to get nervous, the next group of candidates were coming at 10:15 and I still had 2 tests to take and I didn't know how many questions or what kind of time frame was allocated.  I go back to my seat and start hitting buttons; not like there was a lot we can do from a test computer.  Somehow, finally, I was able to get it to return to the main menu and tried to load the next test, and it worked.  5 minutes after that, the proctor finally showed back up; asshole.  I wasted 20 minutes.  Thankfully the next two exams were fairly easy.  Sure I was the second to last person to leave, but it was still 20-30 minutes before the next group of people.

I have to say, the tests surprised me.  I know how to use/work in the programs, but I may not know all the proper terminology...and they asked things like that.  I felt inadequate.  And many times there are several ways to perform a task and how do I know which one is more accurate? Or would they both be correct?

Results are posted in a week or so.  I want to be optimistic - I doubt they only take into consideration the test scores...hopefully they look at the resume and skill set too.  But I am nervous. I haven't felt like such a failure since, well, since I left the examination for my certification in December....but that I studied my ass off for and wasn't comfortable with all the topics...this...this I use all the time.

I left the exam site and returned home to mope.  Two tough job things in two days.  Disappointing.  Discouraging.  But it is now, more than ever, that I need to really apply myself.  Look for jobs, write better cover letters, be more proactive.  But I can't muster up that yet, and then I disappoint myself even more because I am moping around.  I won't get any job if I don't apply.  I know I need to do this, and I hope that tomorrow and the days after somehow re-energize me to want to be enthusiastic about job searching.

I deserve a great job.  I have the skills and education....I just need to keep telling myself that and stop doubting myself just because it is hard to find a job.  I've often thought people were lucky when things just work out so well...they move and land an awesome job just like that or know people who get them a job.  I've had a lot of people try to help, which has been wonderful...but maybe I wouldn't appreciate everything as much if it was easy.  Maybe I need hard and challenging.  Maybe it is more real this way.

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