One of the most stressful stages in the interview process is psychometric testing. This could be due to confusion about what psychometric testing is and its purpose in the selection process. Psychometric testing are standard exercises focusing on aspects of your knowledge including verbal and numerical reasoning, personality traits and other abilities. This allows a company to understand your abilities to assess if they will fit the requirements of the role and to ensure your personality and work ethic is aligned to the company’s culture and current staff. There are two types of psychometric testing – personality and abilities.
Surprisingly, personality testing often causes the most anxiety for candidates going through a selection process. This is often because candidates feel that there is a “right” or “wrong” answer for each question. Despite being called a “test”, the personality test is anything but and should be thought of as more of a “profile”. The company isn’t looking for a specific set of answers but rather to gain an understanding of your personality profile – how you will react in certain situations, how you process and understand others, how you like to work to ensure that there are no problems integrating you into the team.
Personality profiling normally takes the structure of below:
> Picking on a scale a response that feels appropriate to a statement for example, on a scale of 7 from “least like me” to “most like me” pick a response for the statement “I like to lead meetings”.
> Picking one response that is most like you and one response that is least like you from a block of 3 – 5 statements.
Some tips for completing personality profiling:
> Don’t try to second-guess the “right” answers – it is not a test; inconsistent or unrealistic responses will get picked up in the way the exercise is designed.
> Personality tests are designed so they include several questions measuring an identical personality trait. Hence, consistency in the way you respond to questions is very important.
> Treat each statement, or block of statements, on its own merits; think about what you are like now, and how you would normally behave if at work.
> Most importantly, relax and answer the questions at your own pace.
There are several types of abilities testing. The most commonly tested include numerical reasoning, diagrammatic/inductive reasoning and verbal reasoning. Whilst they do have a correct answer for each question, it is important to remember that every individual has strengths and weaknesses in each category and therefore the overall picture is needed.
Numerical reasoning contrary to popular belief is not actually measuring your mathematical skills. They are designed to measure your ability to utilise information provided in tables, charts and figures in order to make a business related decision.
Diagrammatic/Inductive reasoning tests are designed to assist employers to identify your ability to solve problems. These tests are designed to give an understanding of your ability to quickly identify relationships, patterns and trend in data and your ability to think strategically and understand “big picture” concepts.
Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure your ability to understand and respond to questions about information provided in a passage of text.
Some tips for completing abilities testing are:
> Do read the instructions and the questions thoroughly before answering.
> While you do need to keep an eye on the time as these tests are often timed, don’t rush the questions. Similarly, don’t spend too much time on one question, if you are stuck move on.
> Brush up on your basic mathematical skills including reading graphs or charts and using a standard calculator.
General Tips for Completing Psychometric Testing
> Attempt some free practice test questions to prepare.
> Arrange a good test taking environment for yourself, free of interruptions and noise if you aren’t required to take the test at a specific location.
> Don’t complete the testing late at night when tired. Mid morning is best if possible.
> If you can, take short breaks in between sessions to refresh yourself. This could be as simple as going to the bathroom or having a walk around the room.
> Find out feedback on your results if it is available.
You can find free practice tests to complete at the below websites:
> www.shl.com - click “try a test” on the right of the screen and follow the options
> morrisby.com - click “practice questions” under “individuals”
> www.psychometrics.co.uk - downloadable practice questions for verbal and numerical tests. Click on “practice psychometric tests” > https://www.jobtestprep.co.uk/shl-practice-tests?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0sq7r-aI2gI VWA4rCh04bgbQEAAYAiAAEgJ86PD_BwE - graduate level practice tests
We recommend www.practiceaptitudetests.com/amember/signup/index which is a paid website but overall rated best one (from our small survey)!
Eric and the Clear Search Team