Opinion

4 tips for surviving a psychometric test

Many of us probably still have memories of well-meant personality tests at school that aimed to determine the kind of career we would suit. However, after inputting answers into a computer the size of a small shed, the test results were usually fairly uninspiring and rarely led us on the path to our dream job!

But these days the worlds of psychology and recruitment are seamlessly working together - as a result psychometric tests are a lot more accurate! They are being used more and more to provide recruiters with an idea of how well candidates will perform in particular roles. And it can take you, the job seeker, one step closer to getting a job that suits you down to the ground.

Around the country, including the East of England, recruitment for finance and HR jobs can often include a range of tests to help businesses filter the huge amounts of applications. There are two main types of psychometric test: aptitude tests, which measure ability to perform or carry out specific tasks, or personality questionnaires, which look at your preferred approach to work and how you interact with people. Either one of these require some preparation time.

Although they can often be quite enjoyable to complete, some are also rather tricky. So we’re giving you a little ‘survival kit’ to help you get through it.

1. Practise makes perfect

With personality questionnaires there’s not always a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, therefore, it’s better to respond to questions using your first instinct and with honesty but don’t over analyse.

When preparing for an aptitude test, it is useful to practise online examples. There are lots of free practice tests online, so if you find out what kind of test you’re going to do, find similar ones on the net and get used to the style.

2. Keep cool, calm and collected

We’ve all been through the stress of exams of some kind, so treat this test with the same care. You probably got a good night’s rest before your driving test for example, so do the same here! And should you feel yourself getting a bit flustered during the test, remind yourself that is only a job, not life or death. This often does the trick in lowering the pulse rate and can actually result in you performing much better.

3. Think it through

Really focus when reading the instructions, questions and other text. What might seem straightforward at first could be more complex than it first appears. So read, re-read and think things through before giving your answer. Also beware of multiple choice questions where more than one answer is correct!

4. No going back?

Before starting, find out if you can go back to any of the questions. This way if you’re really struggling with a question or you change your mind, you can skip back and amend your response. Also, aptitude tests are quite often designed in such a way that it is not actually possible to complete the whole test.

As you can see, psychometric testing can indeed be challenging, but give yourself the best chance by following tips like these. And remember that the employer will also be looking at your application, interview and references. So although the tests are useful in narrowing down applications, they’re also just one part of the broader recruitment process