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Psychometric Testing Made Easy

Every job applicant feels intimidated by the words psychometric and test in the same sentence. Fortunately, there’s no need to be anxious. Psychometric tests are a common step in the recruitment process, especially for larger companies. In this article you’ll find answers to common questions about psychometric testing as well as tips to help you succeed.

What is Psychometric Testing?

Psychometric testing is a form of personality profiling. The tests require job candidates to sit one or more written examinations. Psychometric questions encompass two areas:

1. Aptitude Testing: Aptitude tests assess your intelligence and ability. Employers use the results to determine whether you are capable of doing the job. Test questions focus on areas such as abstract reasoning, numeracy, literacy, analytical thinking and information checking.

2. Personality Assessment: Personality tests measure your behaviour, emotions and thought processes. Employers use the results to assess whether your personality type is a good fit for the job and company culture. Test questions focus on your opinions, actions, reactions, behaviours, thoughts and feelings.

In the early stages of the recruitment process, psychometric tests are used to filter out applicants who will not be suitable for the job. In later stages, the test results of final candidates may be compared to determine who is the best person for the position.

How Psychometric Testing Benefits You

Every candidate is given the same psychometric test. This uniformity removes biases and prejudices that interviewers might have.The employer develops the test by establishing the desired mix of personality traits that match the position. Each candidate’s results are mapped against the employer’s ideal. The result is a fair assessment uninfluenced by interviewers’ opinions.

In addition, employers may provide you with results and feedback. The feedback you receive can be very enlightening, helping you to make better career choices.

What Are Employers Looking For?

By combining the results of your aptitude test and personality assessments, employers are seeking an insight into your ability to:

  • Work within a team
  • Work autonomously
  • Tolerate stress
  • Hold a social conversation
  • Fulfill the job’s intellectual requirements
  • Work with enthusiasm
  • Self motivate

This is just a sample of many character traits that may be assessed. Exactly what traits a psychometric test targets will depend on the employer and the position on offer. Overall, employers are looking for an assessment that confirms you’re the right person for the job.

What Can You Expect?

Psychometric tests are administered under exam conditions. Most recruiters keep the test fairly short; expect thirty minutes to one hour. A typical 30 minute test will be comprised of 25-35 questions as follows:

1. Aptitude Questions - If you’ve ever enjoyed crosswords, brain teasers, Mensa puzzles or completed an IQ test, you’ll be familiar with these types of questions. Questions may ask you to solve puzzles or identify patterns. Expect to see lots of shapes, lines, numbers and words.

2. Personality Questions - Similar to a survey form, personality questions usually ask candidates to rate their feelings, thoughts or behaviour on a scale of 1 to 5. For example, you might be asked to rate whether you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree.

Typically, both sets of questions will be in multiple choice format.

How to Prepare for a Psychometric Test

Unlike standard examinations, memorising facts won’t help you get better results. The best way to improve your results is to practice with sample tests. Become familiar with the style of questions and general layout of a typical examination. Familiarity will help you remain calm, answer quickly and perform better during the actual exam. You can practice using psychometric test examples available online or through career advisory centres. A quick Google search will help you locate plenty of free sample questions to hone your skills.

In addition to practice exams, prepare for your test by knowing what’s expected on the day. Ask your recruiter how long the exam will last, how many questions to expect, what you should bring and whether you’re allowed a calculator. Companies with large Human Resources departments may even supply sample exams, so be sure to ask.

Can You Influence Your Result?

Other than preparing and practicing, you cannot influence your results. Do not try to give answers you think the employer wants. There is no way to rote learning answers or sneak notes into the examination room. You cannot cheat in a psychometric test. In fact, many exams have built-in lie scales. If your answers are outside the expected norm, you might be asked to explain yourself. Always be completely honest in your answers.

In Summary

If you’re worried about sitting a psychometric test, don’t be. Psychometric testing is only a small component of the job application process. Your results will be assessed together with your overall impression, qualifications, experience and your interview performance. If you don’t succeed, take heart; you’ve probably been saved from a job you would hate.

Visit The Job interview section for more articles related to your job preparation.

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