You may find that part of the assessment process requires you to take aptitude and / or psychometric tests. There are many different types of test, but amongst the most common are:
- Verbal reasoning tests assess your ability to understand, analyse and interpret written information.
- Numerical reasoning tests assess your problem-solving ability. The tests work by either providing straightforward problems or by setting questions that require mathematical calculations or interpretations – a bit like the numerical quizzes or puzzles you may come across in newspapers or magazines.
- Abstract reasoning tests involve problem solving that is neither verbal nor numerical.
- Psychometric / personality tests look at several aspects of your personality. These can include what motivates you, what you value, what your work and / or life preferences are, and how you interact or develop relationships with other people.
What preparation can I do?
You may wish to familiarise yourself with various formats of each type of test to put yourself at ease. There are lots of books and websites that can help you and provide example tests for you to try: www.psychometrics.co.uk andwww.shl.com.
- Listen to or read the instructions very carefully and don’t be afraid of telling your assessor if you do not understand something.
- Ensure the environment in which you take the test is free of disruptions, especially if you are taking the test at home on the internet – choose a time and a place that you feel comfortable with.
- Most tests are timed, so work quickly and accurately – remember that it is quite common not to complete the whole test.
- The most important thing with the personality test is to be yourself and to be as honest as possible. The test is not designed to trick you, trying to second-guess the answers is not advisable as you will be asked the same thing in several different ways.
Will the test decide if I get the job?
The tests are only used to measure specific aspects and do not provide a full picture of you as a candidate, often they will be used in conjunction with interviews, references and work simulations. Combined, these provide a better picture with which to assess your overall ability to meet the role criteria.
As tests form only one piece of the jigsaw to aid your potential employer’s decision- making, they can fall at different stages in the recruitment process. The test may be required to shortlist candidates with their CV, as part of a first interview, or to plan future training.
Recruitment is a two-way process and it is just as important for you to be given feedback after the tests, just as it is important for the company to analyse the results. The feedback will often provide useful information for you. If you do get the job, it is good practice to discuss the findings with your new employer, as this can serve as a very useful training and development tool for you and the company.