Psychometric tests can involve a combination of diagrammatic, verbal, and numerical tests.
They are usually conducted remotely prior to an assessment centre. Tests may be repeated at the assessment centre to confirm that you are the same person who completed them originally. Do not be tempted to get outside help when you take the tests the first time around.
You may also be asked to take a personality test. Don’t try to ‘guess’ answers which might impress the employer, simply answer the questions honestly. If you have researched the role before applying, it is unlikely that the test will show you to be an unsuitable candidate.
Taking practice tests will improve your performance significantly.
Example psychometric tests
Situational Judgement tests
SJTs assess your approach to situations encountered in the workplace. They typically present you with a written scenario and ask you to select the appropriate response from a multiple choice list.
They are designed to assess your potential across a number of competencies. Companies often use these tests to check for cultural fit*.
*Cultural fit is the likelihood that a job candidate will be able to conform and adapt to the core values and collective behaviours that make up an organisation. This is demonstrated by your soft skills and personal goals.
Role play is essentially situational judgement in real time. Instead of a written description the scenario is acted out with you taking part.
You should be ready to play one or more of a variety of parts alongside other candidates. These could include a manager, a customer or other stakeholder, depending on the type of employer you are being assessed by.
They are often used in customer service based roles to see how you communicate and problem-solve.
You will typically be presented with a scenario in which you arrive at your desk to find a number of tasks requiring your attention. You will be asked to rank these in order of priority, and to explain your reasons for doing so.
These tasks have strict time limits and are designed to show how well you can work under pressure, delegate or prioritise.
Example in-tray/e-tray exercises
You will be presented with information from various sources relating to a business problem. Your task is to assess the information, make recommendations on how to resolve the problem, and justify the reasoning behind it. You may be asked to give a presentation on your recommendations to a panel.
This enables employers to assess your ability to assimilate, critique and summarise data. It is popular with tax, accounting, and other roles which require complex data analysis or are research-based.
Example analysis exercises
Presentations demonstrate your ability to analyse data and to present your findings in a concise and persuasive manner. They are also used to assess commercial awareness. They are therefore popular with retail and fast moving consumer goods employers. Roles such as Engineers, Project Managers and Analysts are also likely to be assessed in this way.
You may be asked to present on a subject related to the job, or to analyse a current event, discussing the impact of economic factors on the business, e.g. fiscal policy, spending and inflation and how these impact on customers, stakeholders and competitors.
You may be expected to have a grasp of business challenges which may not be addressed explicitly via the employer’s website etc.
You may get advance notice of the topic, or be presented with a brief on the day. Use audio-visual aids where appropriate/possible. Make absolutely sure your presentation doesn’t overrun - this will certainly count against you.
Practising presentation delivery and examples
These may include discussions, role play or practical exercises such as building a tower with only drinking straws and tape.
The focus is not on whether you complete the task. Assessors look for evidence of enthusiasm, original thought and the ability to explain ideas, negotiate and work effectively as a team. This is also a test of resilience, assertiveness and persistence - good for commercially driven roles.
Although you are being assessed with a group of people you are often not competing against them - many companies aim to recruit all suitable applicants. Approach the tasks with the aim of developing working relationships, rather than seeing the other candidates as competition.
You should be yourself - don't worry about taking a lead role unless that is your natural inclination.
If you do take the lead ensure you keep to time, reminding the group of how long they have left and checking in with any sub-groups. This will demonstrate your time management skills.
You may want to ensure that your voice is heard and your ideas get used. This might cause conflict, and make it difficult for anyone to been seen in a positive light. Focus on the task, ensuring everyone has a clear role. Showing that you can listen as well as provide feedback and ideas, and also bring more reticent candidates into the discussion will give a favourable impression of your leadership potential.
Example group tasks
The programme may include social events such as lunch or dinner with management and recent graduate employees. Your conduct at these events will also form part of the assessment. Use the time wisely to ask sensible questions and make a good impression.