Job Applications: How to Approach New Screening Tactics

HireVue, Personality Matching, Pymetrics, and Technical Skills Assessments. These four new screening methods have three main components in common:

  1. They are becoming increasingly more popular amongst companies as methods to evaluate potential candidates.
  2. The primary focus is to evaluate personalities and thinking-styles.
  3. Students often find them intimidating.

Let’s talk about these points for a moment. These tests are often a way for employers to weed out candidates who do not outwardly show characteristics that they are looking for, and also a way for candidates to represent themselves in new, innovative ways. This explains points one and two, but what about point three? Well, these games and tests can be stressful, especially if you’re seeing them as part of an application process for the first time. Since there’s often no “right” answer to a lot of these screening tactic questions, it can be even more difficult to approach. Here’s a quick run-down of the four tactics mentioned above.


HIREVUE – Many different companies (JPMorgan, TJX, etc.) have started to utilize HireVue in their candidate screening processes. Usually, you have to participate in a HireVue prior to receiving an invitation to a phone interview, virtual interview, or in-person interview. A HireVue is a sequence of pre-recorded questions that you usually have several seconds (typically 30 seconds) to think about what to say and compose an answer before the HireVue begins to record you for a certain amount of time (usually 2-4 minutes/question). 

  • Prepare, practice, and research prior to the HireVue. (BigInterview resource here) Also, often you can find sample questions from past HireVue interviews from the specific company you are interested in by searching the Internet.
  • Look professional.
  • Find a quiet, distraction-free place. Often, HireVue will NOT let you re-record an answer.
  • Speak clearly and try to avoid technical difficulties. Don’t have a ton of tabs open, make sure your computer is working, and definitely enunciate.
  • Have notes nearby! Not visible to HireVue, but near you so that if you get stuck, you can quickly glance down and find something -anything- to say!


PERSONALITY MATCHING – Personality Matching tests aren’t anything too new when it comes to job applications. In fact, personality matching is something that happens every time you get asked behavioral questions at an interview! Aside from that, however, personality tests can be stressful, as there is no right answer. These can come in many forms, from seeing two pictures and choosing which one better “speaks” to you, to reading a statement and picking an answer on a spectrum from “I strongly disagree” to “I strongly agree”.

  • Be honest. If a company does not choose to interview you based on the indications of your personality test, there’s a big chance you could have been really unhappy there. 
  • If you are really looking to “pass”: see what kind of qualities are listed in the job description and try to pick answers that correlate with that specific job. 
  • Get ready for any kind of format of personality test to pop up! There are many different kinds, but they shouldn’t be too difficult or nerve-racking!


PYMETRICS – Pymetrics are games, and they’re actually kind of fun. Many employers have begun to require research-backed games as part of their application processes. There are a few companies that produce candidate-testing games, but Pymetrics is currently the most popular. Pymetrics measure your personal qualities across 9 categories through different games and challenges.

  • Play the games in a distraction-free environment.
  • Read all of the instructions prior to games, to make sure that you understand the objectives. 
  • Do not get too caught up in thinking about what the employer wants. There is simply no good way to figure out what qualities are necessary and how to create favorable results through Pymetrics, as there are 90 broadly-defined traits measures and all of the games work together to create your own unique result breakdown.
  • Have fun! These games are usually less intense than a HireVue or even a personality test.
  • Below is a screenshot of the breakdown dashboard, so you can take a glance at what Pymetrics tries to identify.


TECHNICAL SKILLS ASSESSMENTS – Technical skills assessments typically require you to read a case or do calculations in preparation for the role that you are applying for. This is to measure a candidate’s technical skills before moving into the interview stage. These are often the most intimidating for candidates, as well as the rarest. There’s no way to prepare for technical questions, except knowing your coursework. The good news? Most of the time, employers understand that technical skill assessments are stress-inducing and a lot to ask of candidates. Therefore, sometimes, a candidate’s thought process is evaluated more than the actual answer, or not a lot of weight is placed on the technical skills assessment result. 

  • Stay calm. Even if you don’t know the answer or how exactly to compute it, a plan and a thought-out process that leads to a wrong answer looks a lot better than not having anything.
  • Usually, there is a warning in an application prior to a technical assignment. Make sure to not continue until you have some materials (paper, pencil or pen, calculator, etc.) and you are ready.
  • Try to reflect on the problems that you’ve done in class. You could try using the Internet, but these questions are often timed.


By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova