What is a Psychometric test and how do you prepare?

Have you been asked to attend a psychometric test as part of your job application? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know.

While one-to-one interviews are the most popular way to assess whether a candidate is right for a job position, occasionally employers like to take things one step further, with psychometric testing.

Employers can opt for psychometric tests as they enable them to gain a deeper insight into your personality traits, your competencies, your style of working, and what motivates you – things that might not come across clearly (and truthfully) in an interview. It’s also an entirely objective way to test candidates against each other, as the results enable employers to make like-for-like comparisons – it’s a completely level playing field!

There are different kinds of psychometric tests, and each involve a different form of preparation. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up our top tips on how to ace a psychometric test below.

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test usually falls into two camps: aptitude and personality tests.

  • An aptitude test will usually involve a task that gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability in that field. For instance, if you are applying for a PR position, you might be given a writing task. If you’re applying for a financial role, you might be given a numerical test. Likewise, a sales role might require you to give a presentation, or a verbal reasoning test. This will likely be timed, and under exam conditions.
  • A personality test is used to analyse your behaviour, and forecast how you might react in certain situations in the work place. These will usually involve a series of questions, either verbal or written. There’s no right or wrong answer here, so your best bet is to answer honestly.
What is a Psychometric test and how do you Prepare?

Image: Adobe Stock

How to prepare for an aptitude test

To prepare for an aptitude test, our advice would be that practise makes perfect! There are lots of resources available online, so why not try out a numerical, verbal reasoning, or logical test here.

According to David Clift, HR Director StepStone, the key is treat an aptitude test like you would a regular test:

Much like a regular exam, it’s also important to read every question thoroughly – don’t start writing anything until you’re confident you know what it means! Think about your timings too, if you’ve been given half an hour and you have 100 questions to get through, don’t spend too long dwelling on anything you’re unsure on.”

If your potential employer is kind, they’ll inform you of the aptitude task in advance of the interview. They might give you a brief – whether it’s to write a press release, or complete a logical test – which will ensure that you can prepare effectively. Remember to read the brief throughout, list out the key objectives, and ensure that you keep them front of mind when preparing. Compare these to the job specification too – by getting in to the mind-set of the employer you’ll ensure you’re ticking all their boxes.

How to prepare for a personality test

A personality test is a little difficult to prepare for – the best way to get an idea of how a personality test works is to try one out in advance.

While there’s no real way to prepare, our advice would be to keep calm, answer your questions honestly, and don’t be afraid to go with your gut – even if that results in more of a controversial answer. All the employer wants to know is what makes you, you!

Practise, Practise, Practise

To help you prepare for a psychometric test – whether it’s personality or aptitude – we’ve rounded up our favourite sites to check out below.

According to David Clift, using online resources can help you get into better mental shape:

“By practising online, you’ll be able to gain an understanding of the different types of test available, whether that be a logic, written or verbal test. For example, a logic test will require you to think laterally, while a written or verbal test is a practise of your ability to convey information in a concise way. By going over example tests over and over again, you’ll gradually train yourself on how to approach each question.”

If you’re practising a personality test online, remember to answer each question honestly. There’s no right or wrong answer, meaning a truthful one is the most likely to do you justice.

It’s also important to take note of your results and work on improving for next time. By recording your answers, you’ll be able to track your progress, giving you a confidence boost for when the big day comes.

Top tips for the day

–        Get a good night’s sleep to ensure you are mentally alert

–        Exercise – the endorphins will do you good!

–        Don’t overdo it on the caffeine – this can cause your concentration levels to sink

–        Relax, take a deep breath and count to ten. The best way to get through a psychometric test is to keep calm – you’ll rush your answers otherwise.

–        Be yourself. Remember that they want to get to know the real you.

What is a Psychometric test and how do you Prepare?

Image: Adobe Stock

Interpreting feedback

Once you complete the psychometric test – whether it’s a personality or aptitude test – it’s important to ask the prospective employer for your results.

For an aptitude test, you will likely receive a score out of a round total, which will be benchmarked. This will give you a clear indication of how you performed, and what areas you need to improve on should you need to, whether that be your written communication, or verbal reasoning.

The results of a personality test will give you an insight into your personality attributes; you’ll find out how well you perform under pressure, whether you work best in groups or independently, and whether you are good at multitasking, amongst other things. The results shouldn’t be taken in a negative way – working in one particular way isn’t usually preferable to another. The key is to apply the results to the context of the role you are applying for. If you work best independently but the role requires teamwork, you can identify this as a key area to focus on, and work with your potential employer to ensure that it’s a skill you refine.

Remember that psychometric tests are not designed to catch you out, they’re simply an opportunity for your perspective employer to get more of an idea about your defining characteristics. As long as you practise, and be yourself, you’ll likely get a good result. The results of psychometric tests are a great way for you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and ensure that you refine them for the role you are applying for, and those in the future. It’s a great opportunity, so even if you aren’t successful with your application this time around, make sure you take the results from a psychometric test on board.

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