Whether you have already had to complete some psychometric tests, have heard them spoken about, or know nothing about them, this blog will be for you because you will learn how important this stage of the recruitment process is going to be for graduates on the job hunt. Lots of graduate schemes now use psychometric testing as an initial stage of their recruitment process, so it will be essential for all graduates to know why recruiters use them, how to succeed in the tests and what pitfalls graduates usually find at this stage.
If you are struggling with passing this stage of tests, don’t panic, as a lot of graduates have agreed this is a common hurdle of the recruitment process, including myself! I ruined my chances with a fair few companies because I was making stupid mistakes on the psychometric tests and not getting through to the next stage. But this is the same for a lot of people, so just focus on the fact that every test rejection was just practice for you, and the more practice, the better you will naturally get.
What are Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric tests provide a well-rounded view of a prospective candidate, revealing their logical processes, problem-solving, analysis and aptitude to the type of working environment they are applying for. In the same way, they can also provide an insight into the personality traits of a candidate and how this would also fit into a team.
These tests can range from verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, situational judgement, and numerical reasoning tests. Each with their own skillset and traits the tests are designed to scrutinise. But don’t fear, not every company will choose all 4 of these types to test you on, and there are plenty of practice tests out there for you to try out beforehand.
Psychometric tests have actually been around since The University of Cambridge developed the first kinds of these tests in the 1880s, and now a significant number of companies use psychometric testing currently, with this number still growing. Around 75% of Fortune 500 companies recruiting are using psychometric testing, demonstrating how vital it is going to be for graduates to be successful in this stage of the recruitment process.
Why is it Important for Recruiters to use?
- The professional job market is very competitive and can make the recruitment process too long for companies to dedicate their time too. Therefore, they must find a way to get rid of applicants that don’t fit the mark easily.
- Having an objective and measurable stage to the process helps ensures that the recruitment process remains fair and reliable.
- It allows recruiters to choose how to test prospective employees as each test is designed to assess a different trait or attribute. Your answers to the tests can show the recruiters how you might perform and act in the workplace and adds another level of unconscious bias as all personality is removed from this stage.
How to Succeed with Psychometric Testing?
- Practice realistic tests online. The University of Reading has a subscription to Graduates First, but there are a number of other websites like Practice, WikiJob, or Assessment Day which have free trials. When you practice, try and mimic the environment of an exam so you can really concentrate without distractions.
- Identify and work on your weakest areas. After practicing a few times, you will quickly realise which types of tests you struggle with most, so practice more on those sections.
- Do your research into the company. This is especially important with the situational judgement and logical reasoning tests because you need to ascertain what the company is looking for in order to demonstrate you have those attributes in your answer. For example, if in their job description they mention you will work as a team lots, and team working is a core value of the company, you want to make sure you stress that you’re a team worker in your answers.
- Don’t rush. Make sure you have checked the timings of the test and, if it is timed, know how long you should spend on each question in order to finish. Sometimes questions don’t actually have a right or wrong answer, so make sure that you aren’t rushing to just tick what you think is correct.
Realistically the best way to get better at psychometric tests is the same as improving on any exam – practice, practice, practice!
What are the Mistakes to Avoid?
- Answering the questions can be a lot harder without practicing so people that go into the test with little to no practice will always struggle more than those who have done practice tests and built up their confidence and ability.
- Try to answer as best and as truthfully as you can. Sometimes companies will use the same type of psychometric testing, but they are testing for very different things. For example, in a situational judgement test, 2 companies might ask the same question of, ‘what do you do if you are ever stuck on a problem’, but one company might have a policy where if you’re ever stuck you ask someone for help straight away, but the other company might want you to individually problem-solve before having to ask someone. So, try not to overthink your answers, as hard as that can be!
- Getting others to help you on the tests might seem like a good idea but it can actually hinder you on 2 sides. Firstly, getting help on timed exams can often mean you are wasting time consulting someone, and you become distracted with what they’re saying. Secondly, employers can sometimes ask people to re-take the tests in order to verify their scores later in the process.
- Read the question. Teachers have drummed this mantra in all of us ever since our first tests in primary school and it still rings true for these tests. Many questions are answered incorrectly because someone hasn’t properly read the question and understood what the question is asking them. This is especially the case for multiple choice questions because sometimes the question will ask for 1 answer, but then sometimes they will want more than 1 answer given.
If you want more information head to Prospects or book an appointment with the Henley Careers team who can give you information on how these tests can be structured or help you out if you are struggling in a specific area.