Nottingham student Darryl smiling on campus in a UoN jumper

August 31, 2022, by jhillary1

Psychometric Tests – Expect the Unexpected

By Darryl Giffts-Walker, Environmental Science with Industrial Year graduate

If you’re looking for a graduate role or an internship, it’s more than possible that you will come across psychometric tests as part of the recruitment and selection process.

It’s not just confined to the industries you might expect, but common across all sectors and career fields, so it’s beneficial to have an understanding of what they are and what employers are looking for by using them.

Darryl, gives an insight into his experience:

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are the bread and butter of many job applications, and most graduate applications. They’re designed to test a range of skills from numerical reasoning to literacy skills. Many of the psychometric tests I’ve done have been straightforward e.g. find the percentage change from year one to year three. Some, however, can be quite difficult and based on real-world situations.

My recent psychometric test at Parker Hannifin involved reorganising a schedule for a meeting room that was fully booked, as well as determining who should be granted holiday based on past performance and requests; they vary widely and test different skills! For example, the rescheduling activity made you consider a range of factors such as availability of other rooms, length of the meetings and groups size. It also tested prioritisation and problem solving skills, as well as the ability to work effectively under pressure. This was also done at home before the assessment centre and took about an hour to do all the tasks, so managing your time and distractions is vital.  

How to approach the unexpected

The meeting room test was unexpected, but I felt very well prepared as I had done lots of rescheduling during my placement year. Even if you haven’t done a Year in Industry (which I would highly recommend you do!), you can use examples from university. We’ve all tried to book a group study room in the library to find they’re all booked up. What did you do to solve this? Use examples from your time at university or any part-time or industry experience to demonstrate you have the skills employers are looking for.  

My advice for you

1. Preparation is essential, as with any stage of a job application, especially for psychometric tests. The Careers website has lots of great advice and practice tests to work through.

2. Book an appointment with a careers adviser; lots of the psychometric tests I’ve passed were a direct result of these appointments.

3. Choose a sensible time to complete the tests. You may be a night owl, but employers are not likely to be impressed by candidates who complete the tests late at night or early in the morning.

4. Try Graduates First, a platform with a wide-range of resources. Use your university email for free access. They have lots of great examples and tips to help you prepare for the real test, and definitely gives you the edge over other candidates.  

5. Try to relax, as many tests can be very difficult. Remember, if you struggled, the chances are lots of people struggled. I gave up on a test I found too difficult but was invited to the next stage as several people had given up before me!

For more advice, guidance and top tips on psychometric tests, plus access to free practice tests as a UoN student or graduate, visit the Careers website.

Posted in Applying For JobsInterviews