For a time, I did recruitment for our company and we had a series of writing tests that we send out to applicants. Most of the tasks done in e-commerce are non-voice tasks such as emails, reports, data entry, copywriting, graphic designing, digital marketing, and social media management. However, it will depend on the nature of the company you have applied for if the job function is mostly voice tasks such as telemarketing and customer service. And there several methods on how to conduct exams or applicant’s requirements based on the industry you want to get into. For sales, telemarketing, and real estate VA jobs usually require an introductory video of yourself. And for business analysts or data entry jobs, they usually send out an exam on spreadsheets to test the extent of your knowledge in using the application. I believe that I’ve gone through most of the hiring styles In my experience in applying for online jobs.
Is this a Test or the actual Job?
Some tests you might find very realistic and might even think that it is an actual job. Well, I was given a test to document a process with one of my applications before. The test was all about documenting a video procedure and it needs to be put a step by step in a document and should also include images from screen captures. The programs used were Google Docs and a screen capturing tool called Jing. Up to this day, I am still puzzled if I was tricked or not by the hiring manager because I realized that the person may pose as a recruiter and then outsource the work to applicants by documenting the procedure for their company to save them time. Because for every applicant, the hiring manager can always send a different video for them to document. I’ve done a lot of SOP documentation for my previous company and it is time-consuming and boring. But I don’t want to jump into conclusions and I am just saying that always be vigilant if the test doesn’t look like a test anymore. Personally, I wouldn’t do those kinds of tests again.
The Logic Behind Written Exams
I have once received an email from an applicant saying that the tests that we send out were not a test anymore, but it’s already the actual job. The test was all about writing an email marketing to an influencer, a supplier and to a customer. So I explained the reason why we give case studies to applicants to him and I’m not even sure if he got convinced since I never heard back from him again. But to give light about written exams and case studies, these are commonly used by employers to see how well an applicant writes in English and measure their critical thinking. Because first off, we don’t need anyone to write email marketing for us since we know our products well and we know the tone of what the company wants when reaching out to a possible influencer or supplier. We also deal with customer emails every day and for every scenario, we already know what to do and what to say — we were trained to do that when we entered the company. So what’s the purpose of the tests then? Like I said earlier, most of the tasks in e-commerce are non-voice so the objective is to see how good the applicant is in written English, how good you construct the flow of your sentence, grammar, spelling, diction, punctuation, and vocabulary. It’s important to be perfect when writing emails since you are representing the company. Additionally, we’re able to see how good your salesmanship is, decision making, as well as empathy to customers, and having a written exam is a good gauge for us to find the ideal candidate.
Practice and Prepare
Most applications you’ll encounter will involve some form of writing and I confidently say that it is okay and legit. I was once a recruiter and this method works well to separate the good from the bad applications. So, practice your English communication skills in writing if you are serious about this career. And before you press the SEND button, always make sure to proofread your answers, review it several times and read it aloud before submitting it to the hiring manager.
Lastly, I’d like to give you a bonus tip on how to make your test stand out from the rest –and that is to NEVER EVER USE TEMPLATES that you see on the internet, it’s a big no-no. You just get the idea of the message and how to flow was constructed but don’t copy templates word for word. I had several applications a day, about 50 to 100 applications, and I would know instantly if the answer came from a template based on reading the first sentence alone! Since I do get a lot of applicants that used the same sentence and I don’t bother to read further because it just shows that you’re lazy.
Also, it also matters if your would-be employer is American or British since their English vocabulary is different, British are more formal while Americans are more casual. Try researching American and British vocabulary on the internet, there are tons you can learn from there. (Researching is one of the skills a virtual assistant should have)
And just to add another TIP, I had this experience where I was asked to send a photo of me holding a passport. Man, I still laugh at myself every time I remember that. I was so inexperienced back then and desperate so I did send one. Realizing that it can be used by others, identity theft or whatnot. Because you don’t really need to send a passport during the first phase of your application to land a job. I got 2 jobs at onlinejobs.ph even without me sending a passport, one of my employers even hasn’t seen my face because, for some reason, my camera wasn’t working when we did a Skype interview! Also, I usually stay away from those job posts that ask for an NBI Clearance when submitting an application, they are most likely manpower agencies. Even my friends who have been doing online work for several years never submitted an NBI Clearance, Police Clearance, or Medical Certificate to their employer for pre-employment requirements, it’s really unnecessary for an online job. But what can I say, those are required by Manpower Agencies and if you happened to land a job or applying through Manpower Agencies, then you have to abide by their rules. Foreigners are mostly trusting, so my advice is just don’t break their trust and please don’t sabotage their business if things went wrong. Foreigners prefer Filipinos because aside from that we’re good at English and have cheap labor rates, we are known worldwide for being reliable and trustworthy.
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