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Psychometric Testing; how can you prepare?

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Matt Darvill Interviews, Career Advice, Job Search...

Psychometric testing, in various forms, has been around for some time. It has been widely used as part of the recruitment process for graduate schemes, but many other employers (particularly larger organisations) are now also introducing a testing element within their onboarding process for all types of roles; from entry-level to executives.

Psychometric testing comes in two forms; ‘competency’ and ‘personality’.

Competence

Competency or aptitude tests are similar to a traditional exam, often with multiple choice questions where you are usually marked against a benchmark score or pass rate. The content of the test could depend on the type of role you are applying for, such as numeracy for an accounts role, or a language based test for a marketing role. Some aptitude testing can also be more generalised to look at your skill set as a whole; such as verbal reasoning tests which measure how well you can extract information and analyse the data in order to form conclusions.

The best thing you can do to prepare for a competency test is to practice as much as you can using examples online. There are various free resources available on the internet, which may at least help get you back into an exam mindset, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been in a test situation!

Our top tip is to make sure you take the time to read the questions carefully. Beware; they can be worded to try and catch you out!

Personality

Personality testing is totally different, there is no pass or fail, or even traditional right or wrong answers.  You’ll usually be presented with various statements about how you would feel or act in certain situations and asked to answer by marking on a scale where you would put yourself (i.e. 5 for strongly agree, or 1 for strongly disagree).

Companies use them to find people with the behaviours and attitudes that are necessary to perform the job and who are going to fit into their culture. The idea is to create a completely objective way of comparing people and to gain insight into some of the personality traits which may be difficult to ascertain through traditional questioning.

In our experience, employers are unlikely to base any recruitment decisions solely on the results of a personality test and is more often used in conjunction with other methods of selection (such as a face to face interview).

One piece of advice is to avoid missing any questions or selecting a ‘don’t know’ answer. This shows a level of indecisiveness and will not score highly.

The key to these tests is to answer completely honestly. Take time to read the question then go with your gut instinct. If you try and second guess yourself, and answer with what you think they want to hear, the system will show that your answers are not consistent which will go against you. Be yourself! After all, if you’re not a fit for them, then maybe the job isn’t right for you!

Lastly, good luck! We’d love to hear what testing you’ve encountered within a recruitment process, let us know in the comments below.