February 6, 2015, by James Jupe
Q and A for Psychometric Tests
By Sarah Durke, Employability and Education Projects Officer
If you’re looking for a graduate role this summer or an internship, it’s more than possible that you will come across psychometric tests as part of the recruitment and selection process. Here’s some helpful answers to questions we get asked about these tests.
What are psychometric tests?
Psychometric tests fall into two categories; aptitude tests and personality tests.
Aptitude tests, such as, numerical reasoning, measure your ability and look at what you can do. The tests usually consist of multiple choice questions with a single correct answer; they are strictly timed and often designed so you cannot finish answering all the questions.
Personality tests identify characteristics and examine how you react in different situations. The questionnaire is normally made up of multiple choice questions, but there are no right or wrong answers and no time limit.
Do all employers use psychometric tests?
No, not everybody uses psychometric tests. However, over two thirds of graduate recruiters do use them as part of their selection process*. Numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning are the most popular tests but there are diagrammatic or spacial reasoning tests too.
*AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey 2014 (Summer Review)
Where do they come in the recruitment cycle?
If your application form has impressed an employer, you will then be invited to take the aptitude tests. You may be sent a link to take the tests, which you will need to complete within a specified time frame. It is not uncommon for you to be asked to retake the tests later at an assessment centre!
You may be asked to complete a personality questionnaire at any point in the recruitment cycle, but typically they are used at a later stage.
Why do employers use them?
Employers use psychometric tests in several ways; to understand your potential, to objectively compare you to other candidates and to narrow the field. They may also use them to get an idea of how you would fit in to their organisation.
What’s in it for me?
Aptitude tests give you an opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and to be compared objectively with other candidates. They can also help you reflect on whether you have the right skills, knowledge and abilities for the job.
How can I prepare for psychometric tests?
The best way to prepare for aptitude tests is to practise them which requires dedication, working with focus, analysing what goes wrong, and working on your weaknesses.
When doing aptitude tests make sure you have everything you need before you start the test — a quiet location, rough paper and a calculator — read the question and watch your time; don’t spend too long on one question.
There is no pass or fail for personality tests, so just try to answer the questions honestly.
We subscribe to Graduates First and Profiling for Success so you can access these free of charge. These online programmes offer a range of psychometric tests, with detailed feedback on your performance to help you identify areas to work on.