Employers want to make sure they get it right when they’re recruiting; getting the wrong person can be expensive and time consuming. For many employers, a straightforward interview and CV screening exercise isn’t enough for them to assess a candidate’s strengths and personality, so many will set additional tasks such as group assessments or asking candidates to give a presentation. One of the most commonly-used tools, and the one which many candidates are fearful of is the psychometric test – but are they as scary as they seem?
What Is Psychometric Testing?
The idea of psychometric testing is to get under the skin of the candidate and assess either their personality, or skills such as numerical reasoning and cognitive ability. Tests are usually completed under exam conditions, and then the candidate’s scores can be compared with other applicants and used in conjunction with notes from interview or their CV to decide who gets the job. Psychometric testing is very common in the graduate recruitment process, or in any other type of recruitment which uses assessment centres.
One of the most commonly used types of psychometric test is the Personality Test. This type of test presents you with statements or ways of behaving, and you have to mark on a scale how much you think this applies to you, from “not at all” to “very much”. There are no right or wrong answers and don’t be tempted to choose the answer which you think the employer is looking for as there are usually hundreds of questions to answer which will catch out people who are being deliberately deceptive.
Don’t be frightened of this type of test expecting that you’ll be asked to do “hard maths”. Numerical reasoning tests explore the way you look at data, interpret graphs, pull information from tables and pie charts and work out how numbers are related to each other. You may have to do basic addition or subtraction but are usually allowed a calculator. There are lots of numerical reasoning tests online so if you know that you’re going to have to sit one, practise in advance.
Just as with numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning is about interpreting language. Usually the test will have short passages of text to read, with questions to follow. You will have to draw conclusions from what you’ve read, and not make false assumptions if you’re not given the facts to back them up. Again there are lots of this type of test online if you want to practise taking them in advance.
Other Types of Test
Employers may choose to administer other tests, such as error checking tests for clerical roles, or judgement tests for people working in high pressure environments. Remember that the key with all of these tests is to manage your time to make sure you complete all of the questions or as many as possible, go with your gut instinct on the personality type tests, and read the instructions in full before starting work to make sure you know what’s required.