Top 5 Ways Staffing Agencies Can Help Prepare Employees for Placement Exams

For many staffing agencies, the final hurdle that stands between a new hire and their placement is testing. The need for assessing a caregiver’s ability to provide competent, safe, and effective patient care is not the topic of this article. So, let’s jump over that topic and get right to the 5 easy things you can mention to your caregivers to set them up for a positive competency testing experience.

1) Recommend Reviewing all Provided Materials

Typically there will be prep materials offered prior to starting a competency exam. For some caregivers, it may have been quite some time since their last standardized test. So, the #1 recommendation we have for preparing for a competency test it to study the prep materials provided.

Half Stack Prophecy BooksProphecy’s Clinical Assessments either come accompanied with a study guide (for all education modules) or a content outline (for specialty specific competency tests). The study guides contain all of the information needed to successfully pass the assessments. Content outlines, on the other hand, may contain important formulas, conversions, or abbreviation legends to assist the caregiver in completing the assessments, however they do not provide guidance on actual answers. Since the specialty specific competency tests are evaluating the caregiver’s ability to provide the job knowledge, skills, and abilities required on the first day of the job, no prompting should be needed.

2) Remind Them to Read all Instructions

Time and time again reading instructions would actually help us complete daily tasks more efficiently – assembling new furniture, driving on vacation, cooking a new recipe, etc.

Although the instructions do not give a pass for the assessment as a whole, they will set up the expectations for the caregiver prior to launching the assessment. The instructions should detail if the exam is timed, the format of the testing process, how many questions to expect, a pass/fail score, allowed re-entry attempts, etc. All of this information helps ease the caregiver’s nerves as it answers questions that might lead to extra anxiety adversely impacting their potential success.

3) Create a testing environment

Whenever possible, we suggest clients create a proctored testing environment to minimize distractions for the caregivers. However, we know that this is not feasible for every organization – especially if you are working with travel nurses. The ability to test anywhere with Internet access is a definite bonus in certain instances.

If your caregivers will be testing in the comfort of their own home, remind them that they should minimize distractions and set aside ample time to complete the assessments.

4) Clearly communicate testing standard

Each organization should have established guidelines for testing. Share these standards in

  1. Are caregivers offered the option of retesting?
  2. If so, how quickly will they be able to retest?
  3. Should a caregiver fail the maximum number of times, how long should they wait to reapply with your organization?

Prophecy’s recommendation on retesting is 48 hours between testing attempts. This gives time for remediation on the information answered incorrectly the first time around. Plus, it allows time for the caregiver to get over the initial shock of failing an assessment – something we have all dreaded since the first grade!

5) Ask for comfort level

Take a moment and ask each caregiver for any outstanding questions they want to run by you before testing. They may be trivial, or they may be doosies! But, at least you will give them the opportunity to be honest and open about their comfort level prior to starting their assessments.

Testing providers may have additional resources you can make available to caregivers wanting extra support. Prophecy offers training videos on the caregiver login screen and makes a step-by-step instructions PDF available for all clients.

Bottom line – you are all on the same team! Although you want to steer clear of the liability exposure of unqualified applicants, in a perfect world you are hoping they all pass their assessments with flying colors. So, take a few extra minutes to mention these 5 tips and you may just see those passing rates on the rise!

About Prophecy Healthcare®
Originally founded in 2004 as, Prophecy Healthcare® got its start as the first online Pre-Employment Testing Company exclusive to the Healthcare Industry. Initially focusing solely on clinical assessments measuring clinical competencies, efforts to exceed industry expectations led to isolating critical competencies missed in traditional testing initiatives, such as stress tolerance, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. The Prophecy approach offers the ability to find candidates with the clinical hard skills, personality attributes, and desired soft skills to match each organization.
For more information about Prophecy, visit or call 336.802.1070.


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