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Psychometric tests

These tests are a tool used by some employers at pre-interview stage.

Psychometric tests have been used by employers for over 100 years, and recent surveys suggest 75% of the The Times Top 100 companies, plus around 70% of UK companies with over 50 employees, use these as part of their recruitment process.

There are different types of tests, and they all focus on a different set of skills or abilities. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that employers have different benchmarks – although the test scoring is produced according to specific guidelines and by trained professionals - and it is not necessary to score high in all areas included in the test.

Preparing for these tests can be very useful to boost your confidence and be more focused when you find yourself being assessed through them. 

Types of tests

The specific tests used by each employer can vary enormously, and you can find a list of all types of tests on the Institute of Psychometric Coaching website. Broadly, they are grouped in: 

Aptitude tests

These can be logical, numerical, verbal and they all focus on your reasoning. You are timed, there is a right/wrong answer, and they tend to be the test type most used by employers. A simple search on the web will give you numerous free resources to practice your skills. GraduateFirst and PracticeAptitudeTests include some valuable examples.

Workplace skilled based tests

  1. Personality assessments. Personality tests are designed to measure your behavioural style, opinions and motivators. Unlike for the reasoning tests, in the personality ones you are never timed, nor is there a right/wrong answers. The responses are tested against the ideal profile created as a best fit to the role. You should always focus on being true to yourself when undertaking the personality assessment tests. Some very useful tips, expanded here, are:
    • Change your behaviour, not your personality 
    • How you answer matters 
    • Stress can influence your answers
  1. Situational judgment tests and strengths. In these tests your decision-making is assessed: you are presented with a series of work-related situations, and you are asked to rank different options.

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Further readings

Edenborough Robert (2005). Assessment Methods in Recruitment, Selection & Performance: A Manager's Guide to Psychometric Testing, Interviews and Assessment Centres. Kogan Page Publishers.

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