Career Advice

A Written Interview: What Is It? (Plus Types, Advantages, And Suggestions)

Employers and recruiters can evaluate your talents and personality via a written interview or test. Recruiters can implement any or all of the various written examinations and interview formats depending on the position. Your chances of passing the interview can be improved by becoming familiar with this interview type as well as how to get ready for it. In this post, we explain written interviews, go over their many formats, outline their advantages, and offer some straightforward preparation advice.

What exactly is a written interview?

A written interview, which is a step in the hiring process, evaluates a candidate’s skill set. A written test’s goal is to assess an applicant’s understanding, abilities, and expertise in relation to many facets of the position. A written interview may be conducted prior to, during, or following the oral interview. The majority of written exams contain a task or test to gauge a candidate’s technical proficiency. Aptitude tests and personality tests are examples of other examinations.

A written interview, also known as a written assessment or online interview, is a type of interview conducted through written communication rather than face-to-face or verbal interaction. It involves exchanging questions and responses via written channels, such as email, online messaging platforms, or specialized interview platforms.

In a written interview, the interviewer sends a set of questions to the interviewee, who then provides written responses within a specified timeframe. The questions may cover various aspects, including the individual’s qualifications, experience, skills, problem-solving abilities, or specific scenarios related to the job or subject matter being assessed.

The majority of the time, organizations merely use the written test results internally, without disclosing them to candidates. The format of the written test is determined by the position you are submitting applications to as well as the skills the interviewer wishes to evaluate. An applicant often has a fixed amount of time to do the written interviews. Although some employers would prefer an online written test, these interviews are normally written by hand. An applicant’s communication abilities, aptitude, IQ, personality, innovative thinking, problem-solving skills, etc. are typically evaluated by a written test.

Written interviews offer several advantages. They allow flexibility in scheduling as participants can respond to the questions at their convenience within the given timeframe. Written interviews also provide time for individuals to carefully consider their responses, conduct research, and present their thoughts in a well-structured manner. Additionally, written interviews can help reduce biases associated with in-person or verbal communication, allowing for a more objective evaluation of candidates’ responses.

Written interviews are commonly used in various contexts, such as job interviews, remote hiring processes, admissions for educational programs, or research studies. They provide a structured and standardized format for assessing candidates’ qualifications, skills, and suitability for a particular role or program.

It’s important to note that the format and structure of written interviews may vary depending on the specific context and requirements. Some written interviews may be conducted as a standalone assessment, while others may be part of a multi-stage selection process that includes additional interviews or assessments. The specific guidelines and evaluation criteria for the written interview should be communicated clearly to ensure a fair and consistent evaluation of the participants’ responses.

Types of writing tests used during job interviews

In employment interviews, there are various kinds of written tests:

Communication skills assessment

A candidate’s communication skills might be evaluated through a written communication skills test. All positions and occupations require the ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of people. Effective communication skills can support supervision, collaboration, and feedback. Written interviews for employment in the writing and communication sector sometimes include a written communication competence exam. The written material is assessed by the employer for its grammar, relevance, and authority. Writing a report, an essay, a blog post, a press release, or editing a preliminary draft are examples of common activities.

A communication skills test is an assessment designed to evaluate an individual’s proficiency and effectiveness in various aspects of communication. It assesses an individual’s ability to convey information, ideas, and emotions clearly, accurately, and appropriately in different contexts and through different channels.

A communication skills test typically measures several key components of communication, including:

  • Verbal communication: Assessing an individual’s ability to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly, use appropriate vocabulary and grammar, and engage in effective verbal interactions.
  • Written communication: Evaluating an individual’s skills in writing coherent and concise messages, structuring written documents effectively, and using proper grammar and punctuation.
  • Listening skills: Assessing an individual’s ability to actively listen, comprehend spoken messages, and demonstrate understanding through appropriate responses.
  • Nonverbal communication: Evaluating an individual’s ability to interpret and use nonverbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures, to enhance communication and convey meaning effectively.
  • Presentation skills: Assessing an individual’s ability to deliver presentations or speeches confidently, engage the audience, and convey information in a compelling and organized manner.

Communication skills tests can take various forms, including written exercises, role-plays, oral presentations, or simulations. They may involve scenarios or tasks that require individuals to demonstrate their communication skills in practical or simulated workplace situations.

Communication skills tests are used in a variety of contexts, including recruitment processes, employee evaluations, professional development programs, and educational settings. They help employers assess a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively within a team, with clients, or in customer-facing roles. Communication skills tests also provide individuals with insights into their strengths and areas for improvement, guiding them in developing better communication strategies and enhancing their overall effectiveness in conveying information and building relationships.

Aptitude test

The majority of aptitude tests are standardized examinations that are designed to gauge an applicant’s general behavior and aptitude using criteria that are the same for people with similar backgrounds and levels of expertise. Applications must answer questions on their logical thinking, memory, linguistic and mathematical literacy, attention, and other related skills during aptitude tests. Employers utilize aptitude tests to evaluate certain qualities in job candidates, such as logic, analysis, decision-making, and strategy. Before administering such a test, organizations often obtain the candidate’s consent and maintain the results’ confidentiality.

Personality test

Employers can learn more about a candidate’s personality, strengths, working style, and preferences by using personality tests. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the evaluation is not a thorough or conclusive evaluation of the candidate or a verdict on their personality. High-calibre applicants may typically be effectively screened using these exams, which reveal their abilities, knowledge, skills, and personalities. These exams are frequently used by employers who wish to fill top leadership roles with amiable, trustworthy, and capable workers who are capable of handling work stress. In these evaluations, consent and secrecy are also crucial.

Hard skill evaluation test

Hard skills assessments focus on the knowledge and abilities needed to do the job. They aid in gauging an applicant’s capacity to carry out particular work duties and obligations. Employers can gauge the level of applicants’ competence and hard skills by administering written exams throughout the interview process. Written examinations for hard skills assessments often consist of multiple-choice questions, though they can also be subjective and include essay-style questions. For jobs in the IT sector, design firms, and other expert-driven roles, these assessments are typically routine.

A hard skill evaluation test is an assessment designed to evaluate an individual’s proficiency and competence in specific technical or job-related skills. Hard skills are specific, measurable abilities that are typically acquired through formal education, training, or hands-on experience. These tests aim to measure an individual’s knowledge, expertise, and practical application of hard skills relevant to a particular field or job role.

Hard skill evaluation tests vary depending on the specific skills being assessed. Some examples of hard skills include programming languages, data analysis, accounting principles, foreign language proficiency, mechanical or technical abilities, and software proficiency.

The format and content of a hard skill evaluation test will depend on the nature of the skill being assessed. It may include multiple-choice questions, practical exercises, coding challenges, written assessments, or performance-based tasks. The assessments may be conducted online, in-person, or a combination of both, depending on the context and requirements.

Hard skill evaluation tests are commonly used in various contexts, including recruitment processes, employee performance evaluations, certification programs, or educational institutions. These tests provide objective and standardized measures of an individual’s technical expertise, helping employers assess qualifications, validate claimed skills, and make informed decisions regarding job placement or professional development opportunities.

It’s worth noting that while hard skills are essential for certain job roles, the assessment of soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability, is also crucial in evaluating an individual’s overall suitability for a role. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation often includes a combination of hard skill evaluation tests and assessments targeting soft skills.

The benefits of using a written test during an interview

Using a written test during an interview can provide several benefits for both employers and candidates:

Ensures applicants are at ease

Candidates can feel more confident and experience less anxiety by taking a written assessment before a verbal interview. Some applicants might have anxiety when speaking in response to inquiries. With a written exam, they have the chance to produce more deliberative and perceptive responses that highlight their abilities. These examinations will be very beneficial for those who struggle with verbal communication. This can improve the candidate’s interview experience and help the interviewer evaluate the candidate’s talents.

Simplifies the hiring procedure

Written interview questions are used by employers to speed up the hiring process. Many firms require candidates to take a written exam or answer a number of written inquiries before calling them for an in-person interview. This is typically the scenario where companies receive a large number of applications for open positions and undertake a written exam or exercise to assist them narrow the field of candidates before beginning verbal interviews.

Verifies the abilities of the applicant

During the on-site interview, there may be written exercises and exams that serve as a way to assess the candidate’s knowledge and abilities. These assessments support employers and recruiters in determining the veracity of the claims made by candidates in their job applications. For example, if a graphic designer presented a false claim on their employment application that they knew certain designing programs and tools, they would not be able to pass the test.

Makes the hiring process uniform

A written test also increases the objectivity of the evaluation process because it subjects all candidates to the same test. In situations where there are too many prospects to choose from, these exams and evaluations can assist recruiters in making educated decisions. Written activities, which are more standardized forms of assessment than oral interviews or CVs, which are subject to unintentional personal biases, enhance the standardization and uniformity of the short-listing process.

Objective evaluation

Written tests offer a standardized and objective method of evaluating candidates. The questions and scoring criteria are consistent for all participants, reducing potential biases and subjective judgments in the assessment process.

Comprehensive assessment

Written tests allow for a more comprehensive assessment of candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. They can cover a wide range of topics or job-related tasks, providing a deeper understanding of candidates’ qualifications beyond what can be assessed through verbal communication alone.

Time for thoughtful responses

Written tests provide candidates with time to carefully consider and craft their responses. This allows them to demonstrate their analytical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and writing skills in a controlled and deliberate manner, leading to more thorough and well-articulated answers.

Reduced interview bias

Written tests can help reduce biases associated with factors such as appearance, gender, or cultural background. By focusing solely on written responses, interviewers can evaluate candidates based on their qualifications and capabilities rather than extraneous factors.

Efficient screening process

Written tests can serve as an effective initial screening tool, allowing employers to assess a large pool of candidates efficiently. It helps filter out candidates who may not possess the required skills or knowledge, enabling employers to narrow down the selection process and focus on those who demonstrate a strong foundation.

Validation of qualifications

Written tests provide an opportunity for candidates to validate their claimed qualifications. It ensures that candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job effectively, enhancing the accuracy of hiring decisions.

Demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism

Strong written communication skills are often valued in many roles. Performing well on a written test demonstrates a candidate’s ability to communicate clearly, adhere to guidelines, and present themselves professionally.

Benchmark for comparison

Written tests create a benchmark for comparison among candidates. By evaluating responses against predefined criteria, employers can compare candidates’ performances objectively and make informed decisions based on relative merits.

Overall, incorporating a written test during an interview can provide a more well-rounded assessment of candidates, enhance objectivity in the evaluation process, and aid employers in identifying the most qualified individuals for the job. It allows candidates to showcase their knowledge and skills in a controlled and focused manner, ensuring a fair and comprehensive evaluation.

Advice on how to ace written interviews

Here are some practical pointers and advice that you may use to ace interviews and written tests:

Do your research and become ready.

Before you begin working on a test that your potential employer has given you, learn about the business and the position to become familiar with its needs. Make sure to emphasize the talents you believe would be most applicable to the position if any of the sections on your resume asks you to describe your experience or credentials. You can practice your responses in advance to some often asked questions about your application for employment in case you have to complete a written test in the interview.

Before the interview, research the organization, role, or topic at hand. This will enable you to provide well-informed and relevant responses. Prepare examples and stories that highlight your skills and experiences.

Understand the expectations

Familiarize yourself with the purpose and format of the written interview. Understand the instructions, question types, and evaluation criteria. Take note of any word limits or time constraints.

Don’t panic.

Before the written tests, candidates occasionally suffer pre-interview anxiety and uneasiness. Job candidates can utilize a variety of methods to relax, such as exercises for deep breathing or a brief walk before the test. Instead of rushing over the interview resulting in mistakes, take your time and give insightful responses.

Read the directions thoroughly.

The majority of written tests include detailed instructions and guidelines. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure you thoroughly understand them before you begin responding to the question. Some written assignments may purposefully provide instructions that deviate from the recognized norm. Your comprehension, precision, and capacity for following instructions may be tested by this. Make sure to ask the interviewer to explain anything you are unsure of or confused about.

Read the questions carefully

Pay close attention to each question. Understand what is being asked and ensure you address all aspects of the question in your response. Consider the key points or keywords in the question that should guide your answer.

Structure your responses

Organize your thoughts before you start writing. Create a clear and logical structure for your responses. Include an introduction, main points, and a conclusion. Use paragraphs or bullet points to enhance readability.

When responding to questions, be truthful.

There may be personality-related questions in some sections of a written exam. Instead of crafting answers you think the hiring manager would enjoy reading, give true answers to these questions. Avoid making any false statements and respond to all inquiries as best as you can. Simply and staying within the allowed word limit, respond to open-ended questions concerning your objectives, profession, experience, and area of expertise.

Be concise and to the point

Keep your responses clear and concise. Avoid unnecessary jargon or overly complex explanations. Focus on delivering your message effectively while staying within any specified word limits.

Proofread and edit

Take the time to review your responses before submitting them. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Ensure your writing is coherent and flows smoothly. Consider seeking a second opinion or using grammar and spell-checking tools to enhance the quality of your writing.

Showcase your communication skills

While written, your responses should still demonstrate strong communication skills. Be clear, articulate, and organized in your writing. Use appropriate language and tone. Aim to engage the reader and make your points compelling.

Manage your time effectively

Be mindful of the time allocated for the written interview. Plan your responses accordingly to ensure you have ample time to address each question. Pace yourself and avoid rushing through your answers.

Candidates frequently receive a time constraint from the recruiter or hiring manager for their written assignments. Most of the time, businesses allot just enough time for a task to be completed successfully. This is typically done on purpose to assess your productivity, time management, and organizational abilities. You can move on to other areas and return to the lengthy portion of the written test later if you spot it early enough. Make sure to review it prior to submitting the final version if you’ve got the time.

Stay focused and stay on topic

Keep your responses relevant and focused on the question at hand. Avoid going off on tangents or including excessive information that may distract from the main points. Maintain a balance between being detailed and concise.

Practice and seek feedback

Practice writing responses to sample questions or scenarios. Ask for feedback from trusted individuals who can review your written responses and provide constructive criticism. Incorporate their suggestions to enhance your writing skills.

Remember, preparation and practice are key to performing well in a written interview. By following these tips and investing time in honing your writing skills, you can increase your chances of delivering strong, thoughtful, and impressive responses that showcase your qualifications and abilities effectively.


In conclusion, a written interview is a form of assessment conducted through written communication channels, where questions and responses are exchanged in writing. It offers a structured and flexible format for evaluating candidates’ qualifications, skills, and abilities. Written interviews provide benefits such as objectivity, comprehensive assessment, time for thoughtful responses, reduced bias, efficient screening, validation of qualifications, and a benchmark for comparison. They allow candidates to showcase their written communication skills, research abilities, and problem-solving capabilities. Employers can assess a larger pool of candidates, make informed hiring decisions, and gain deeper insights into candidates’ capabilities. Written interviews serve as a valuable tool in recruitment processes, admissions, research studies, and various professional evaluations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Written interviews

  • How do I prepare for a written interview?

To prepare for a written interview, it’s essential to understand the purpose and format of the assessment. Review the instructions carefully, research the topic or organization, and practice writing concise and well-structured responses. Familiarize yourself with common question types and consider seeking feedback on your writing style and grammar.

  • Can I use external resources or references in my written interview responses?

The guidelines provided for the written interview will indicate whether external resources or references are permitted. Some assessments may allow candidates to use research materials or cite sources, while others may require candidates to rely solely on their own knowledge and experience. It’s important to follow the instructions provided and adhere to any specified limitations.

  • How important is grammar and spelling in a written interview?

Grammar and spelling are important in a written interview as they contribute to clear and effective communication. Writing with proper grammar and accurate spelling enhances the readability and professionalism of your responses. It’s advisable to proofread your answers before submitting them to ensure they are error-free and well-presented.

  • Are there specific word limits for each question in a written interview?

Written interviews may or may not specify word limits for each question. It’s important to read the instructions carefully and adhere to any specified limitations. If no word limits are mentioned, it is still recommended to provide concise and focused responses to ensure clarity and demonstrate effective communication skills.

  • How long do I have to complete a written interview?

The allotted time for a written interview varies depending on the assessment and the number of questions. The instructions will typically indicate the time frame within which you need to complete and submit your responses. It’s important to manage your time effectively, allocate sufficient time to each question, and ensure you submit your answers before the specified deadline.

Remember that the specific guidelines and requirements for written interviews may vary depending on the context and purpose. It’s important to carefully read the instructions provided for each specific assessment to ensure you understand the expectations and requirements.

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