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Career Management

Learn how to apply for jobs, gain experience and build a long term career

Employer Psychometric Tests: What to Expect

These days, it’s increasingly common to find that you are asked to participate in some form of psychometric test as part of a recruitment process.

This is because recruitment can be costly for businesses, and employers need to feel confident that they are choosing the right candidate who will fit seamlessly into their existing teams.

Psychometric tests are designed to assess your intelligence, check your skills and help you learn more about your personality.

It’s a detailed process that enables an employer to learn more about who you are as a person and find out how you work, what your motivations are and if you have any significant risk factors.

You may wish to think about a psychometric test as an analytical way for employers to ensure that you are a perfect match.

With data analytics, employers can create a position for you that works to your strengths, making the world of work far more enjoyable.

Why do employers use psychometric tests?

Depending on the type of test you are asked to take, a psychometric test may:

  • Assess your skills and capabilities
  • Provide an insight into your aptitude for the job role
  • Help employers to understand who you are and what your personality type is
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses

There are a myriad of reasons why an employer may choose to implement psychometric testing.

They may be nervous about making a final hiring decision. They may need someone who can immediately hit the ground running. They may be looking for a specific skill set. Or they may require testing to make predictions of how you work.

Additionally, psychometric tests are hugely influential in removing any unconscious bias from the recruitment process.

They allow a standardised way to directly compare candidates, enabling employers to make an informed and fair decision.

The different types of psychometric tests

The accessibility of psychometric tests means that it’s now easier than ever for employers to incorporate psychometric testing into their recruitment campaigns.

They are also far more affordable, which means that it’s not just the large, global corporations that use these tests.

Many smaller firms are now investing heavily in psychometric tests because they need to return on their recruitment investment quickly.

As psychometric tests have become more mainstream, new variations of the tests have emerged.

For example, you may be asked to complete an aptitude test to confirm if you have the right skills for the role.

Or you may be asked to participate in a behavioural assessment, so an employer can understand how you react to different situations.

Some employers may lean towards one style over another; others may employ a combination of the two.

To help you understand what to expect from a psychometric test, here’s a brief overview of the different types available.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are about testing your cognitive capabilities.

Employers will have reviewed your CV and cover letter to determine what skills and experience you have, but these tests will delve deeper into your abilities.

There are many different aptitude tests available, from numerical and verbal to abstract reasoning and spatial awareness.

The choice of test will depend on the type of job that you are applying for.

Typically, you can expect to be presented with a series of multiple-choice questions. In addition, you will be expected to complete these questions within a specific time frame.

  • Numerical reasoning tests – These are designed to assess your basic arithmetic skills and simple maths calculations. The level of complexity will depend on the role that you are applying for.
  • Verbal reasoning tests -If you are asked to participate in a verbal reasoning test, employers will be looking to test your vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. It’s a way of testing whether you can understand different concepts and identify when words or phrasing may change depending on the context.
  • Abstract reasoning tests – Abstract reasoning is a way for employers to see how a candidate takes in new information and can spot patterns. Employers rely on abstract reasoning tests to identify the best candidates for senior positions – it’s a way of assessing whether those candidates are good at problem-solving or have data analytical skills. They are often a good indicator of general intelligence.
  • Logical reasoning tests -Within these assessments, employers will be looking to establish whether you can find the answer from the information provided. It’s about spotting patterns or number sequences and how you use logical thinking to find a solution. Logical reasoning tests are standard within financing, accounting or professional services job roles.

Behavioural tests

Behavioural tests look at a candidate’s personality and how well they will fit into the existing team.

They aim to find out what motivates you, how you react to pressure or stressful situations, and whether your personality may be particularly suited to specific job roles.

  • Behavioural tests – Behaviour can change according to who you work with. These tests will see how you behave at work and how you interact with other people. It can allow an employer to understand your strengths and weaknesses and make predictions on how professional you may be in the workplace.
  • Personality tests – Employers use personality tests to predict how you will relate to others and your general working style, to see if you are a good fit for the role and the team.
  • Situational judgement tests (SJT) -The purpose of the SJT is to analyse how you are likely to behave in certain work-based situations. You will be asked specific questions that replicate the workplace, to test whether you respond in ways that align with the corporate culture.
  • Leadership skills tests – Some people are natural leaders, while others have to learn the skills required to lead a team. These tests will predict whether you could make a good leader, and if so, what your strengths and weaknesses could be. It’s an effective way for employers to predict a candidate’s future career potential.

How to pass employer’s psychometric tests

Now you know what to expect from a psychometric test, it’s essential to consider what you need to do to maximise your chances of success.

We recommend that you take the time to understand more about the different types of psychometric tests and use online practice sessions to understand the question structure.

There are no right or wrong answers in some psychometric assessments (such as personality or behavioural tests). However, aptitude tests will be testing to see that you know how to undertake basic calculations or have a basic grasp of spelling or grammar, and these will require practice and further study.

The more time you spend acquainting yourself with the question style, the easier you will find it on testing day.

Different test providers have very distinct types of questioning, so it may be prudent to ask the recruiter to confirm the test provider in advance.

Once you’re aware of the type of test you will be asked to participate in, it’s often beneficial to create a study schedule.

By taking the time to brush up on basic maths or grammar skills, you can improve your chance of achieving a higher score.

As we mentioned, there are many practice psychometric tests that you can undertake online. These are valuable aids and can give you details of what to expect on test day.

As you practise the tests, try to time yourself to see how long you have to answer each question and to assess the speed at which you must answer. Often aptitude tests have strict time limits to test how the candidate does under pressure and the only way to get good at this is to practise.

Personality and behavioural tests require a different type of preparation. It is good to take steps to know yourself better before answering these sorts of questions, but it is also prudent to think about the company that you wish to work for.

Try to research their corporate values and what they stand for as well as the key competencies that the role requires. This will help you identify what strengths you need to highlight within your test.

Finally, as with any other exam, make sure that you feel calm and collected when test day comes.

Try to ensure that you’ve had a good night’s sleep the night before and that you are hydrated and have eaten something. You don’t want to be easily distracted – you want to focus entirely on the test questions.

This is a guest blog, written by Amy Dawson at WikiJobs.

Leeds City College