You have been invited to complete psychometric tools, tests or instruments.
Congratulations you have the chance to shine. It means you have been successful in being short-listed or are part of a sift that will take you nearer to your goal – your new job.
Bear in mind the reason why you are being asked to complete the psychometric tests and remind yourself of the competencies, behaviours and level of attainment required for the role you are applying for. These will help you with your preparation and ensure that you are as well rehearsed, that you have practised to the best of your ability and that if you are a good match for the role, you will reach your potential and have job satisfaction.
Always remember that the recruitment process is two-way. Best practice suggests that you will be given feedback from any psychometric tool you complete and this information should be used for your personal development whether you accept a new role or continue to job search.
What are psychometric tests?
There are two kinds of psychometric tests.
All these tests, instruments, tools and questionnaires are marked and scored against a comparison group. Your results or profile are then normed. This means you are not competing against other candidates or applicants but measured against typical group with expected level of results.
Ability and aptitude tests
Timed exercises with right or wrong answers. These tests may involve critical thinking, analysing different data, basic arithmetic, vocabulary, decision making etc and assess your ability to answer correctly within a specific time. You can access practice materials online to prepare yourself.
Personality and motivation questionnaires
Untimed and have no right or wrong answers. Your profile can indicate your preferences, your natural behaviours, how you like to be managed and how you might communicate best with a team, etc. Your potential, motivation and other behaviours can also be identified. Difficult to practice for, best responses are your intuitive answers. In Situational Judgement exercises your ability to make decisions in real-life workplace situations is being analysed.
16 top psychometric tool test taker tips
- Read invitation documentation – you will be sent a letter/e-mail inviting you to complete the psychometric tests. Make sure you fully understand the requirements, timings and actual tests involved. The letter should mention the test, publisher and the website so you can access practice and preparation documentation.
- Preparation of tools – check beforehand or in any correspondence if you are able to use your own calculator or dictionary if appropriate especially if you are attending an assessment centre. You will be given rough paper but it’s useful to have a pad of paper or notebook with you; and if you are completing the tests through an online portal, it is just as important to have your workstation prepared..
- Practice the test/s – by practising you can develop your test-taking strategy and balance speed and accuracy. If your scheduled test is not available to practice on, find others that will be available online.
- Early night – have a quiet, alcohol free, relaxing evening the night before taking the test/s. You want to be feeling your best and as alert as possible.
- Not a competition – remember you are not competing against other candidates, you just need to do your best
- Make yourself comfortable – ensure that you are able to sit, complete the exercises and that you don’t need to take a break during the set time.
- Keep a cool head and stay focused – it’s easy to get distracted if you are in an assessment centre; other people working, what’s going on round you – forget it. Concentrate on what you have to do and how you are going to do it. The same goes for if you are completing these test online; prepare your environment carefully making sure you are not disturbed or distracted – phones OFF.
- Reread and reread again. It’s imperative to carefully follow all instructions that you are given either verbally or printed. Once you have the details check that you understand exactly what you have to do and if it is within a time limit or not.
- Move on. If you are struggling with one aspect or question of the test, go on to another part. Don’t dwell on it. If there is time at the end, revisit and attempt to answer.
- Relax and enjoy the experience. Hard to do however, think of it as a development experience and one that you can learn from. When you get feedback, make sure you understand how you can use the results to progress your career or job search.
And with regard to online tests – do these yourself, do not get anyone else to take it for you. The issues around cheating are immense. And if you took a job that was beyond your capability you would do yourself more damage in the long run.
Lynn Tulip is a BPS level 2 accredited career management & HR specialist, highly experienced in the administration, interpretation and feedback of a wide range of published psychometric tools. She is author of Get That Job and Can’t Get That Job.
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