One of the nation’s most important tests has decided it needs to look for new aptitudes—and administer the exam in a way that also tests key skills for our times. Both changes could be worth emulating the next time you vet a potential worker.
The test, known simply as the GED, has been used since just after World War II to provide high school dropouts with the equivalent of a diploma. Until recently, the test has been a paper-based exam consisting of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. It stressed memorization over any other talent.
But in January, a new GED test arrived. You take it on a computer (thus testing your tech skills), interact with digital charts, and compose essays along in lieu of the old multiple choice questions (don't worry, they're still there, too).
Though the answer is still the most important part, the new GED shifts more weight onto the thinking behind that answer. The idea is simple: the real world isn’t multiple choice, so why should a test to determine real-world competency be?
That notion also should hold true for your job interviews. An interview that includes open-ended questions can highlight valuable critical thinking skills. Hiring a worker? Ask what tools they’d bring to a specific job. Looking for a manager? Task them with composing an e-mail or respond in writing to a common inquiry. How the candidate answers can be as revealing as the answer itself.
Check out the GED practice exam for inspiration.