Last night I was thinking about two educational roles I interviewed for in the years past and the administered skills tests I subsequently flopped.

For some of us, interview experiences stick with us for a lifetime.

I remember two instances where I didn’t make the grade. The funny thing is that I was an exemplary school teacher who always earned the highest marks.

One interview team gave me 15 minutes to develop a lesson plan based on a choice of topics they’d offered. It was some obscure task, like organizing an office party. I taught the lesson to five strangers in a tiny room. I didn’t fair well. I needed time to process and let creative juices flow. Not to mention how anxiety-producing this test was! The skill test did little to demonstrate my teaching and planning ability; instead, my capacity was overshadowed by underlying, implicit expectations: manage your nerves and anxiety, perform on demand, work with ambiguity, think fast, adapt to limited options, don’t question, impress us. These skills were not reflected in the job description. The skillset expectations were better suited for a sales job!

The other interview involved a timed skill test which required reading an online brochure about the organization’s history, mission, and values, and creating a PowerPoint about the data. I was escorted to a tiny cubicle that housed an HP desktop and mouse. I was without my faithful Mac laptop. I hadn’t used a mouse in years. Navigating my dyslexia, digesting multiple stats, dates, and facts, and the pressure to produce with unfamiliar tools was too much. I failed. The skill test demonstrated my ability to read and synthesize facts fast, search rapidly online for copyright-free images, use unfamiliar tools, determine if images or written content was more important (based on a time limit), and apologize for not meeting expectations.

In considering best DEIA practices, it’s essential for talent acquisition teams to take time to discuss and write down the exact job skills desired for a role. Taking time to examine and scrutinize skills tests can add time by preventing qualified candidates from failing the screening process. List out the must-haves — Question what skills can be easily taught and compare them with those that might take years or a lifetime to acquire.

This week, I did a presentation, accompanied by my extraordinary supervisor (the CEO at Ultranauts Inc.), for Estēe Lauder. The company representative was kind enough to let us know they’d received an unprecedented amount of positive feedback from attendees.

My teachings are based on over 2,000 hours of study, repeated agile refinement, and conversations with 1000s of individuals. I am a dynamo educator.

Thank goodness Ultranauts Inc. took a chance on me and didn’t rule me out based on my mouse skills.

#teacher #recruitment #interview #hr #hiring #work #talent #insight #skillstraining #recruiting

(Image from one of my presentations)



  1. Yes! I have been in a lot of similar situations in the past. Most work performance and interview assessments seem to be focused on a neurotypical model. People are constantly surprised by my abilities before and after I feel comfortable in an environment/around them.

    I especially hate the focus on “networking” in many work situations. I don’t network. It feels phony and gross to me, yet I’m sure I would have much more success and job opportunities if I did.

    Liked by 2 people

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