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Should I email a prospective employer regarding my written performance in an online test?

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( 4 months ago )

Today I took a timed online test for a company I want to work for. It consisted mostly of technical questions, as well as some interview-style written questions (“why do you want to work for us?”, “what are your biggest strengths/weaknesses?” etc.) towards the end. I believe I did well on the technical side of the test, but I do not write well under pressure; running out of time, I rushed my answers to the written questions, and they ended up not effectively conveying what I wanted to say.

I was considering emailing the employer explaining that I do not feel my answers to those questions accurately reflect my thoughts. My question is – should I? Would it do more harm than good? I don’t want them to think I have poor communication skills based on my test answers, but nor do I want to seem to be scrabbling to save face – or, worse, attempting to “cheat” the test by elaborating on my answers in the email.

Edit: The job is a specific entry-level role, the test is part of the next stage in the recruitment process after the initial application and is not available to the general public, and I have been in email contact with a recruitment coordinator since my initial application.



( 4 months ago )

A timed application is timed for a reason. Not necessarily a good reason. But if they wanted to give you unlimited time so that you could formulate your thoughts with maximum clarity, they would have done so. They didn't.

They were instead looking for what you could do in the time allotted, just like all other applicants. At best, they wanted to see what you could do within that amount of time, or possibly how you handle deadlines on these sorts of tasks-- perhaps writing under pressure is part of the job.

Emailing an explanation/excuse for what you imagine to have been a poor performance might send good signals:

JeffM understands his limitations, and is aware of the quality of his output and seeks to correct/improve where necessary. That's great!

It might send bad signals:

JeffM performs poorly under time pressure and then is panicky afterwards. We can't have that when deadlines are approaching!

It might send no information at all:

This email is from a recent applicant, and the subject line says "explanation of application issues". I'm not going to read it.

I doubt it would harm you to reach out, but I don't see how it could do much good for you either. Leave it be.

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