Employers often use psychometric testing to vet potential employees and help them understand a little more about your personality and ability to fit into the role they are offering – and this type of testing is becoming increasing popular.
Some tests are paper-based, others are computer-administered. Firms might create the job and people specifications, and then use personality and ability tests on candidate shortlists; or might use the test to create candidate shortlists in the first place.
Why not just interview?
Recruiting the wrong person can be a very expensive mistake! Conversely, recruiting the right person can transform an organisation for the better. Some personal characteristics, such as team-working skills, reasoning ability and personal empathy, are difficult to assess at interview and testing can be a more reliable indicator. Importantly, psychometric tests can minimise recruitment bias on the basis of gender, race and disability and may also allow the interview to be tailored for the individual. In short, these tests can make the recruitment process fairer to the employer and the applicant.
Types of test Ability/aptitude tests
These are designed to assess the skills/knowledge you possess that are important for the job and come in many forms. With technical jobs, they might involve specialist questioning or practical testing. You would probably be told beforehand if this kind of test were to be conducted, so you can prepare by
Some aptitude tests may assess your potential to learn rather than testing specific skills. These are usually multiple-choice questionnaires, with definite right and wrong answers, and your work is generally timed. The most common types of aptitude tests include:
These measure your attitude, motivation and work style. These tests are designed to assess your typical behaviour, preferred way of doing things and how you are likely to behave in various situations. Employers use them to help them find people with characteristics that may be particularly suitable for a particular position.
General advice for taking psychometric tests
Ask for feedback on your test results. Even if you are not hired, it can be useful to learn a bit more about yourself and how you come across to others. Asking demonstrates that you consider their tests to be important and useful.