Psychometric Tests – What Are They And How Do I Prepare For One?

Posted October 9, 2019, by Elesha

“We’ll also need you to take a psychometric test…”

If you’ve been told a psychometric test is part of the recruitment process for the dream job your chasing, you might be stressing out just a little.

Fear not. These tests aren’t quite as scary as they sound but preparation is a must if you want to do your very best!

What Are Psychometric Tests?

In a nutshell, psychometric tests are questionnaires that help your potential employer work out whether the information on your CV and the answers you gave in the interview reflect a true representation of your personality and skills. 

For example, everyone knows that interviewers want to hear you talk about ‘teamwork’ and other important ‘soft skills’ when applying for a job, but do you actually have these skills? 

Naturally, we put forth our best selves on our CVs and in interviews but our perceptions of ourselves are usually biased in our own favour!

This is where psychometric tests come in. They’re designed to uncover traits of your personality, behaviours, and skills you wouldn’t necessarily reveal in an interview.

2 Basic Types Of Psychometric Tests

There are many different types of psychometric tests and the ones a company uses will be highly job-specific. 

However, there are two common types of tests recruiters use regularly to see what your strengths, weaknesses, and skills are, and how they match up with the job requirements. 

Personality Tests 

These are based around all-important soft skills and designed to gain insight on how you’re likely to behave and interact with others at work.

Theses tests will cover things like time management, communication style, teamwork, management style preferences, etc.

There aren’t actually any right or wrong answers, you’re answering based on your own personality, but there are answers a recruiter will see as a better fit for the role than others. 

Abilities and Skills Tests

These tests are designed to reveal your skill level and ability in areas such as numeracy, understanding written information, problem-solving and how you approach abstract concepts.

Like an exam, there are time limits for these tests and they do have correct and incorrect answers. 

Jobs And Industries That Usually Require Psychometric Tests

Historically, psychometric tests were used in the application process for roles like very high ranking management positions and military service.

These days, employers across all industries are using them for various positions. So, potentially, you could be asked to complete a psychometric test for any job but usually, it’s blue-chip and professional services organisations that will require one.

It’s unlikely you’d be asked to take one for a lower-level role.  

You might be asked to take the test before you even get to the interview stage. Some employers use psychometric tests to whittle down the list of potential candidates in the first stage.

How To Prepare Yourself For A Psychometric Test 

These aren’t ordinary tests! It’s definitely not the best idea to show up without any prior preparation.

In fact, how much you prepare could be the difference between landing the job or not. 

The truth is, there’s no way to ‘beat’ or ‘hack’ a psychometric test but being as prepared as possible will help you do your best on the day!

Before The Test

Do your homework about the company

First, find out as much about the company as you can; what it’s like to work there and what they look for in candidates.

Find out what kind of test you’ll be taking

Ask the recruiter the kind of test(s) you’ll be taking – personality, skills, numerical reasoning?  Not all employers will let you know in advance but it’s worth asking so you can feel more prepared. 

Take practice tests

Practice really does help!

Google ‘psychometric test sample questions’ and you’ll have a range of options to choose from, like this sample Q+A test from Practice Aptitude Test or Psych Press

Familiarising yourself with the types of questions you can expect beforehand means your head won’t be reeling on the day! Practice tests reduce stress and panic – which impair your performance.

Be honest in the personality tests

Don’t pick an answer just because you think it’s the one the recruiter is looking for. Answer honestly.

Remember, you want to land a job that is the right fit for you in an environment where your personality really can thrive.

Use a calculator

Numerical reasoning questions are designed to measure your ability to interpret numerical data, not to test your math skills – go ahead, breath a sigh of relief!

This means in most cases you will be able to use a calculator to work through the answers – phew!

During The Test

Don’t stress too much about the time limit

If your test has a time limit, don’t let it psych you out.

Start with the goal of completing all the questions but don’t stress too much if you don’t get through them all. Many tests are designed so only 1% to 2% of people will actually correctly answer all questions within the time limit.  

Guess if you’re REALLY stuck

In some aptitude tests, you might not be able to skip questions.

If you hit a mental block and are stuck on it for more than a few minutes, just take your best guess so you can progress. Don’t let a few tough questions waste too much of your time. Know when to cut your losses. 

Every question in an aptitude test is worth the same number of points so no bonus points for figuring out a hard question.

Missed landing the role? Check out the 4 steps to take when you don’t get your dream job. 


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