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Calm Candidates Do Better On Standardized Job Tests, Study Shows

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Going through the job-interview process can generate anxiety for even the most qualified candidates, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, remaining calm is the key to performing well on standardized job tests.

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough worked with researchers from other universities to look at study data from three continents to uncover how behavioral reactions influenced performance on job-related tests. They found that how candidates react to and then perform on the standardized assessments can be a reliable indicator of how they will perform in the actual workplace.

"Candidates who experience high levels of anxiety for instance, will have low test performance while those who are motivated by tests will perform better, both on the test and on the job," study researcher Julie McCarthy, an associate professor in the Department of Management at the university, said in a statement.

Candidates' situational reactions, such as skepticism about the test or about the fairness of the process, were also linked to test performance, though researchers said these particular reactions were not indicators of how well someone would perform on the job.

"The findings are an important consideration both for organizations and for applicants," McCarthy said in the statement. "There is clearly value in training programs to help applicants minimize test anxiety and stay motivated."

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