Being tested during the job application process
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Many employers use psychometric tests as part of the recruitment process.

They are very commonly used when applying for graduate jobs, work placements and internships.

What is a psychometric test?

Psychometric tests are a way for employers to assess your numerical, verbal or digital skills as well as personality depending on the role you are applying for.

In other words, recruiters use psychometric test scores to work out whether or not to proceed you to varying stages of the recruitment process. These tests also evaluate your capacity to work with others, process information and cope under pressure.

Types of psychometric testing

There are various types of tests, some of these are detailed below:

Personality tests explore your interests, values and motivations, analysing how your character fits with the role and organisation. They analyse your emotions, behaviours and relationships in a variety of situations.

Aptitude tests assess your reasoning or cognitive ability, determining whether you’ve got the right skillset for a role. Administered under exam conditions, your aptitude levels are compared to a standard, meaning that you must achieve a certain score to pass.

Common tests also include:

  • Numerical reasoning: These tests assess your interpretation of charts, graphs, data or statistics, investigating your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. Numerical reasoning tests may also challenge your knowledge of rates, trends, ratios, percentages and currency conversions.
  • Verbal reasoning: Your understanding of written information, evaluation of arguments, and communication of concepts is being tested here. You must read short passages of text before answering questions that assess your comprehension. Verbal psychometric tests challenge your ability to think constructively and use written information to construct accurate conclusions. Some tests also assess your spelling and grammar.
  • Abstract reasoning: This is your chance to demonstrate your ability to learn new things quickly. Abstract reasoning tests measure your ability to identify a set of rules and apply them to a new situation, judging how well you follow information or spot patterns. Questions often consist of a series of pictures, each of which is slightly different. You must then choose another picture from a number of options to complete the series. These aptitude tests are particularly common for IT, science and engineering roles
  • Situational judgement: You’ll be given a hypothetical work-related situation and asked to choose a preferred course of action from a list of options. You may be asked to choose the most and least effective response, rate the responses in order of effectiveness or choose only the most effective course of action, so make sure you read the instructions carefully.
  • Error checking: Data checking tests measure how quickly and accurately you can detect errors. They’re common for clerical and data input vacancies. Fault-diagnosis tests, meanwhile, test your ability to approach problems logically. This method of psychometric assessment is often used to recruit for technical roles, discovering and repairing faults in electronic and mechanical systems.

You may take tests early on, as part of the initial online screening process, or as part of the interview stage.

This type of assessing helps employers to:

  • Identify the people best suited to a particular job.
  • See if you are a good fit for their company culture.

The tests may appear at any stage in the recruitment process but usually, you will undertake the test immediately after you submit your application form or as an add-on to your interview or immediately before or after your actual interview.

Preparing for a psychometric test?

You do not have to revise before a psychometric test, though it helps to get some practice.

By practicing it will give you a chance to:

  • Get familiar with the types of questions employers may ask.
  • Overcome/lessen your nerves.
  • Work out how much time you’re likely to have on each question so you can pace yourself.
  • Learn tips to make sure you perform at your best.
Tips applicable to psychometric tests
  • Take care of the environment surrounding the test, sit somewhere quiet with no distractions and try to stay calm.
  • Have a pen, paper and calculator to hand.
  • Make sure you have a reliable internet connection.
  • Log on with plenty of time ahead, close down all other windows and maximise the test window.
  • Check the timings – some tests will actually tell you how long you have for each question, for others you may have to work it out.
  • Read the instructions carefully and do the practice questions before you start.
  • Do not use the back button in your browser as it may end the test without saving your answers.
  • If you can’t answer a question don’t stick on it and lose time– take a guess and move on.
  • If you answer a question and have time before the next one appears, use the time to calm yourself with a couple of deep breaths.

You can find free practice tests on sites like:

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