Psychometric Testing

Psychometric tests help to identify your skills, knowledge and personality. They’re often used during the preliminary screening stage for employment, or as part of an assessment centre.  They’re objective, convenient and strong indicators of job performance – making them very popular with large recruiters.

The majority of psychometric testing is completed online, though some paper questionnaires remain.  Most tests are timed, but some can be completed in multiple sittings.

Types of Psychometric Testing

There are two main types: personality tests and aptitude tests.  Personality tests explore your interests, values and motivations, analysing how your character fits with the role and organisation.  They analyse your emotions, behaviours and relationships in a variety of situations.

Aptitude tests assess your reasoning or cognitive ability, determining whether you’ve got the right skillset for a role.  Usually administered under exam conditions, you’ll often be given one minute to answer each multiple choice question.  Your intelligence levels are compared to a standard, meaning that you must achieve a certain score to pass.  Common tests include:

  • diagrammatic reasoning
  • error checking
  • numerical reasoning
  • spatial reasoning
  • verbal reasoning.

Numerical Reasoning

These tests assess your interpretation of charts, graphs, data or statistics, investigating your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately.  Numerical reasoning tests may also challenge your knowledge of rates, trends, ratios, percentages and currency conversions.

Verbal Reasoning

Your understanding of written information, evaluation of arguments, and communication of concepts is being tested here. You must read short passages of text before answering questions that assess your comprehension. Verbal psychometric tests challenge your ability to think constructively and use written information to construct accurate conclusions. Some tests also assess your spelling and grammar.

Abstract Reasoning

This is your chance to demonstrate your ability to learn new things quickly.  Abstract reasoning tests measure your ability to identify a set of rules and apply them to a new situation, judging how well you follow information or spot patterns.  Questions often consist of a series of pictures, each of which is slightly different. You must then choose another picture from a number of options to complete the series. These aptitude tests are particularly common for IT, science and engineering roles.

Situational Judgement

You’ll be given a hypothetical work-related situation and asked to choose a preferred course of action from a list of options.  You may be asked to choose the most and least effective response, rate the responses in order of effectiveness or choose only the most effective course of action, so make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Error Checking

Data checking tests measure how quickly and accurately you can detect errors. They’re common for clerical and data input vacancies. Fault-diagnosis tests, meanwhile, test your ability to approach problems logically. This method of psychometric assessment is often used to recruit for technical roles, discovering and repairing faults in electronic and mechanical systems.

How to pass a Psychometric Test

  • Do lots of practice – the test will probably be online so get used to working on a screen. As well as giving you a feel for the questions, practicing will also highlight any gaps in your knowledge.
  • Have the right equipment – you should take a few pens, rough paper, a calculator (you won’t be able to use your phone in most cases), a watch and a dictionary. The employer may insist that you use their equipment but it’s better to arrive prepared. Make sure you’ve practiced with these tools, as the more familiar you are the quicker you’ll start working and the more you’ll get done.
  • Read the instructions – before you start make sure you understand what you’re being asked to do and how long you’ve got to do it. Double check any graphs, tables or images to ensure that you haven’t missed anything and know what they’re showing.
  • Be aware of the time – make sure you know how long you’ve got for the overall test and each question. If you get stuck on a question just move on and come back as some questions can take longer than others.