The thought of a psychometric test can cause consternation for people applying for jobs in marketing or events. After all, if there really are no right or wrong answers how do you prepare?
There is evidence that indicates that psychometric tests - combined with other selection criteria - result in a more accurate, rounded view of a candidate than interviews alone. Employers are attracted to the idea because it makes them more confident in their appointment decision, and makes it less likely a candidate will leave their role soon after their appointment. So as you may well be asked to undertake an online or paper-based psychometric test as part of an interview process it makes sense to understand more about them.
What is a psychometric test?
There are broadly two types of psychometric testing: the personality test and the aptitude test. In the personality test, you will be asked questions relating to your emotions and behaviours and how you handle certain situations.
The aptitude test is more about your skills and, often, your numerical and verbal reasoning.
It is sometimes said that people get hired for their skills and fired for their attitudes, so employers want an understanding of both before they appoint.
How can I prepare?
Unlike traditional exams it is difficult to prepare for personality assessments and we would never suggest trying to ‘game’ them. There are two main reasons for this recommendation.
- You will almost certainly get found out as the best tests are designed to cross check responses against each other. Any inconsistencies will be spotted and highlighted.
- Even more importantly, you do not want to expose yourself to an environment for which your personality is not suited. Maintaining a false persona can only be maintained for so long; it is stressful and potentially be yourself.
So the important point here is to be yourself. But be the best version of yourself you can be.
If you are asked to complete a psychometric test you will often be asked to complete numeracy and verbal reasoning test. We will discuss these in a future blog.
Analyse the job specification
It’s always worth looking at the job spec in detail to understand the kind of behaviours the employer is looking for. Consider whether they are the sort of behaviours you naturally exhibit. Are you really comfortable working in a team? Or are you a lone wolf? Are you a natural leader? Or the perfect second in command acting more as an influencer?
If you are comfortable these are behaviours that fit your natural style make sure your answers reflect it. If not, consider if it is the right role for you.
There are some free tests to use for practice online including these sites:
Please note our provision of these links should not be seen as an endorsement. You should always be cautious about the information you provide online.
If you have never taken a psychometric test before, it is worthwhile doing some practice beforehand. Although no two tests are the same there are similarities. Aptitude tests are particularly worth practising to help you get into the mindset of how they work. And some of them are fun…
Well, kind of fun.
Make sure you have plenty of rest the night before a test and make the most of any breaks between the tests. Many are time restricted so don’t rest during the test.
But it is important not to rush things. Take the time to read through the instructions and the questions properly and understand what you are being asked before you attempt to answer them.
Don’t be freaked out by the questions
Some questions may seem a little odd and you are left wondering why on earth they are being asked. It’s worth remembering these tests are not designed to catch you out so answer as best as you can.
See the test as an opportunity
People who run psychometric tests should normally offer to provide feedback on your results and it’s worth taking up the offer. You will gain an interesting insight into your skills and/or personality which may help you in future job applications or career planning.
Finally, remember that employers will normally have to pay for every test their candidates take, so if you are asked to complete one it’s a positive sign that the employer is taking your application seriously.
At Regan & Dean we noticed that more and more of our clients are implementing testing at first stage to help them shortlist for face to face interview. We find that when a company tests it does speed up the recruitment process and hiring decisions are made more quickly.
At Regan & Dean we always try and reassure our candidates if this is part of the process and will send through practice tests beforehand. Most nervousness by candidates is dissipated as soon as they start the test at home and in fact most enjoy the process and look forward to receiving the feedback report from the client.