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Applying For Jobs Eight Days A Week: Does It Make A Difference When You Test?

The song “Eight Days a Week” was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and recorded in 1965. The title of the song has been attributed to a chauffeur who had driven Paul to John’s house. Paul asked the chauffeur how he was doing, and if he had been busy.

The chauffeur replied, “Busy? I’ve been working eight days a week.”

Many employees can relate to this concept and experience the sensation of working every day of the week, and then some.

This brings up an interesting question…

Could the day of the week effect your scores on a job assessment?

Using client data from January through March 2014, we were able to gather scores from over 50,000 individuals who completed a professional-level personality assessment on each of the days of the week.

With this much data, we were able to find some surprising trends…

First, individuals who took cognitive abilities tests (Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking, Thurston Test of Mental Alertness, and Raven’s Progressive Matrices) experienced varied scores depending on which day they completed the assessment.

  1. Individuals who took the assessments on Thursday and Saturday consistently out-performed those who completed the tests on other days, by about 4% on average.
  2. Those that took assessments on Friday experienced overall lower scores than any other day of the week. This is about a 5% difference in scores from either Thursday or Saturday.

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Candidates who tested on Friday suffered from lower cognitive abilities scores across all three assessments. By taking the assessment on Friday, candidates are accepting what could possibly be a 5 point decrease in their overall score.

Second, personality traits were also affected depending on the day of the week:

  1. Work Organization and Precision were highest on Wednesday, while Optimism scores were highest on Thursday.
  2. In most cases, taking the assessment on Friday resulted in overall lower scores, with a difference of about 2.5%.

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A score increase of 2.5% could be the difference between getting the interview or not. Imagine similar resumes, but assessment scores of 89 and 91.5 in Work Organization, who would you prioritize?

So why is this the case?

These candidates were applying for positions that typically follow a regular 5-day work-week schedule (business hours, Monday through Friday).

Taking this into account, imagine your candidates’ daily mindset throughout the week…

Wednesday: In an employee’s normal work mode, they’re able to get things done and the previous weekend has completely worn off. They’ve had Monday and Tuesday to get back in the zone and are at their optimum functionality level. Today an employee is at their best work-wise, but might be a little lacking in optimism when they remember they’re only halfway done with the week.

Thursday: It’s nearing the end of the week, but not quite Friday. Employees are ready and optimistic about the weekend, but not to the point of being distracted by impatience. They most likely don’t have huge evening plans, as it is a weeknight. With no rush to go out, and a generally positive attitude, they’re at peak performance conditions to take an assessment.

Friday: It’s the very last day of the work week and employees are ready for five o’clock to roll around so they can officially be done with work. They probably have plans tonight as a celebration of the fact that they don’t have to work tomorrow. Employees are impatient for the day to end, maybe even fed-up with their current position, and simply rushing through applications to find a new “better” job. If employees take an assessment today, they’re likely to experience generally lower scores.

Saturday: It’s not a weekday, so employees can wake up whenever they like, after getting plenty of sleep. They probably have a lunch date with friends or evening plans. They have the whole day ahead of them and remembering they don’t have to work tomorrow makes them that much happier. Again, like Thursday, employees are generally going to be a little less in a rush and a little more optimistic.

What Does This Mean for You as a Hiring Manager?

While these are general trends, the best advice we can offer is to never recommend a candidate take an assessment on Friday.

Individuals who perform less than ideally on assessments might be affected by the day of the week they tested. This is most likely a result of the lack of preparation time and overall devotion to the task. The best technique is for the candidates to test when they have enough time and are free from distraction, so that they can accurately demonstrate their abilities.

If a candidate completed the assessment at his cubicle during an hour-long lunch break on a daunting Friday rather than waiting until a better time, you may want to know his motivations as to why. When candidates are brought in to interview, asking when they took the assessment may be worthwhile. Knowing how a candidate approaches a work task such as this may be useful insight to have when structuring further interview topics and questions.

Now that you know which day of the week to avoid administering pre-employment assessments, read about how the time of day can also impact your candidate’s results.

Have you noticed any of these trends?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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