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EA/EO Candidate Assessments and Tests: Our Approach

Maïa Cybelle Carpenter

Over the course of time, we've noticed that some employers like to administer tests to potential Executive Operations/Executive Business Partner/Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff roles. Whilst in theory this is well intentioned, if not done properly, it can be disrespectful to candidates. At a high level you should NOT give an assessment to a candidate that is actual work required by your company. There is a value to the work that they do and if you are asking them to complete an extensive slide deck, PR materials or extensive written team comms - you're basically asking them to do free work. This may completely dissuade qualified candidates from continuing the interview process. Additionally, if they are already in a rapid, high-stakes role, they won't have the time to complete your assessment. Particularly for caretakers, these types of requests can also be off-putting because they are asking for unpaid work during personal time.

Our recommendation is to administer very broad and simple tests that can assess multiple competencies for the role and don't take the candidate very much time to complete. (under 1 hour). Administer the same test to every candidate so you can evaluate more equitably. These assessments should be tasks or projects a qualified candidate can do very easily. Examples of this could include:

• a short calendaring exercise with conflicting priorities and a travel itinerary in a different time zone
• drafting a short email on behalf of the executive stakeholder announcing an offsite or new employee benefit
• creating a 1-page e-staff agenda
• creating a 1-3 page slide deck with an offsite agenda including location and travel information

© 2023 Carpenter Consulting Partners, Inc.

Maïa Cybelle Carpenter

CEO, Carpenter Consulting Partners, Inc.

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