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Typing Test Interview

Typing Test Interview

Alison Green l Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

I’m job hunting again and recently had a really embarrassing experience during an interview. The interview was for a job in the industry I work in, but in a very different role. The day before the interview I read up on the company and the industry and I went into the interview feeling fairly confident.

When I got there, the hiring manager met me and escorted me an empty cubicle and told me to take a typing test, and then she would meet with me and the head of the department I’d be working in. I was startled. No WPM requirement was listed on the job posting, she never mentioned any type of testing when we scheduled the interview, and the job was not presented as a clerical position in the ad. I have to confess, I’m not a good typist, but it’s never been a requirement for any of the jobs I’ve had. Long story short, I bombed the test, the interview was canceled and I was escorted out of the building. I was rattled, but thanked her for her time and left.

Since then, I’ve done some online typing tests to improve my skills. Here’s my question, is it acceptable for me to ask when scheduling other interviews if tests will be given? I don’t want to make a bad impression before an interview, but I want to be prepared.

That’s … weird. I’m curious about what type of job it was. I’m a big fan of having candidates simulate the work they’ll actually be doing on the job, but I can’t imagine giving a typing test for a non-clerical job.

I think you can ask about this beforehand, but you want to be careful about how you ask. If you don’t use the right wording, you might come across as less than confident in your skills. I would say something like, “I’d like to prepare for the interview ahead of time. Can you tell me how many people I’ll be meeting with, whether there’ll be a period for skills assessment tests, and so forth?”

That said, I don’t think you’re likely to run into this a ton.

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