Psychometric Testing - A CV Centre Guide
What Are Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric Tests have been developed as a means of assessing an individual's character and abilities and are often used by employers to ensure that a candidate is suitable for a specific role. They are becoming increasingly popular during the recruitment process either in the initial stages, where it is necessary to whittle down a large number of applicants, or in the latter stages to finalise the decision. Employers can use generalised psychometric tests or they can even use tests that are specifically tailored towards assessing suitability for a particular role. For example, an administrator would need to be able to demonstrate organisational skills, efficiency and good written communication skills and a psychometric test could be developed to assess these particular attributes.
What Are The Popular Types of Psychometric Tests?
The most frequent kinds of psychometric tests that are given to candidates measure cognitive abilities, e.g. numerical and verbal reasoning tests. There are also other kinds of tests which are administered, but not as frequently, such as logical reasoning, spatial reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning tests. In addition, many test batteries evaluate personality traits and decision making, e.g. personality questionnaires and SJTs. Popular publishers of these tests are SHL, Kenexa, Saville, Talent Q and Cubiks.
Another example of a psychometric test commonly used in the recruitment process is a DISC Profile. A simple questionnaire is completed, the results of which can provide an employer with an insight into an individual's approach to work, their motivation and their strengths or weaknesses. This information can then be used to make an assumption as to how a person will respond in a particular situation.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is another popular psychometric test that assesses an individual’s personality by distinguishing between:
- Introversion and Extroversion
- Intuition and Sensing
- Feeling and Thinking
- Judging and Perceiving
There are 16 different personality types that can be determined by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator based on the differing preference levels of the above factors.
Many people are now using psychometric tests to help them to identify what career path they are ideally suited to. Schools and colleges commonly encourage students to complete a Morrisby Profile, a specific psychometric test designed to assess your abilities, work style and key talents before matching these to a list of the most appropriate jobs accordingly.
There are two specific types of assessment that make up a standard psychometric test:
- Aptitude Tests
- Personality Questionnaires
An aptitude test does not necessarily assess your skills or experiences in a particular area but is rather a judge of your potential to undertake certain activities. Based on the results of an aptitude test, an employer can ascertain whether or not you will be capable of performing the tasks involved in a particular role. Perhaps the most common aptitude tests are those which assess numerical reasoning and verbal skills.
Numerical tests are normally based on your ability to apply basic mathematical principles including calculations, identifying sequences and patterns and thinking logically. You can help to prepare yourself for numerical reasoning tests by practising basic sums without using a calculator, reciting times tables and completing number puzzles.
Verbal tests can include an assessment of your spelling, language comprehension and grammar. You may well be required to identify synonyms, antonyms or analogies or to provide the missing word from a sentence. Crosswords and other word games or puzzles are an ideal way of preparing for verbal tests.
Once it has been ascertained whether or not you are capable of performing a role, a personality questionnaire can be used to indicate if your personal characteristics are actually suited to the position. There is a real danger that significant differences between your personality traits and those of the people you will be working with can cause conflict and result in under-performance, poor motivation and general unhappiness in the workplace.
Possibly the most important advice for the completion of a personality questionnaire is to make sure that the responses you give are totally honest. It can be tempting to try to give the responses that you think the employer is looking for, even if this is not actually an accurate representation of your character. However, there really are no right or wrong answers in a personality questionnaire and, if you are called for interview, you will need to be able to demonstrate the personality traits that you claimed to possess in the questionnaire. Sometimes, a personality questionnaire may even pose very similar questions that are worded slightly different just to try to catch out people that may be attempting to portray a false representation of their character. Ultimately, it is to your benefit to be honest when completing a personality questionnaire otherwise you may end up in a role that you are just not suited to.
In general, psychometric tests should be approached calmly and rationally - remember that there will not be any "trick" questions so, quite often, the answer that seems the most obvious is indeed the correct one. You can prepare yourself by making sure that you have a good sleep the night before and, while making sure that you remember to eat breakfast to boost your energy levels, avoid drinking too much coffee as this may have an adverse effect on your responses. Listen carefully to any instructions that you are given before the test and make sure that you read each question carefully. Finally, remember that you will not be tested under circumstances that are any different from other people completing the tests so your chances of success are just as good as anybody else's.
Professional Interview Coaching
At The CV Centre, day in day out, we successfully coach our clients to truly excel at interview. This enables us to bring you the very best of what we have learnt - helping you to excel at interview yourself.
When it comes to interviews, people often think, "Well, I'll just turn up and be myself." Which is fine, but it won’t get you the job! You need to plan and prepare for an interview as you are still up against many other applicants and this is your key opportunity to make an impact. Your CV may get your foot in the door but you're on your own in the interview – and sometimes the most able candidate on paper can really shoot themselves in the foot when they actually get to the interview.
On average, there's likely to be at least 5 other candidates being interviewed for the same vacancy. So, everything else being equal, that gives you, at the most, a 20% chance of getting the job. But there's so much you can do to improve your odds of success.
Author: James Innes