By Fleur Hellemans
As part of a sound recruitment process, it is commonplace for candidates to sit psychometric assessments, particularly for more senior positions.
If you’ve never sat one before, they can seem intimidating, but remember that they are designed to help the recruiter and the client get the “complete-picture” of you. CVs and cover letters are helpful, but they can be biased towards the person who wrote them. That’s why we interview, conduct reference checks and carry out psychometric assessments.
For example, someone may claim to have “leadership skills”, but what exactly are these skills and are they relevant for a different role in a new company? This is where psychometric assessments can add value as they provide thorough, accurate and objective insights into people’s capabilities and working style against specific job criteria.
What are they?
In short, psychometric assessments are a series of questions that test your cognitive skills and abilities, and look at your dispositions and preferred behaviours and working style. Generally speaking, psychometric assessments for selection can be grouped into two main categories:
- Measures of maximum performance (aptitude/ability assessments)
- Measures of typical performance (personality assessments).
Depending on the employer and the position, different assessments can be used. Often technical roles require competency or skills-based tests. Many leadership roles look at personality assessments to gain deeper insight into leadership style and whether there will be a good fit with the company culture and team.
These are usually timed and measure a skill or aptitude in a specific area. The most common categories are:
Verbal - depending on the level being tested, this may include spelling and grammar, completing sentences and definitions or reading written passages and responding to questions.
Numerical – depending on the level being tested, this may include completing numerical sequences and calculations or interpreting tables, graphs and data.
Abstract/Diagrammatic – these assessments are comprised of shapes and puzzles, designed to look at your ability to solve problems that you haven’t seen before.
These look at your traits and working style and can help evaluate what factors lead to enjoyment in a role. As such they help assess job and company fit. There are no right or wrong answers in these assessments. The best approach is to answer honestly - why would you want to work somewhere where you’re not going to fit anyway?
Regardless of the type of assessment you’re going to sit, preparation is key. Almost all assessments are carried out online nowadays so ensure you have a good internet connection. It also helps to do some practice questions, so you know what to expect.
If you want to practice ability/aptitude assessments so that you feel comfortable with the format, take some time to look at these links here and here.
Please note that although the type of questions will be similar, you will not get exactly the same questions. Also be mindful that practice questions are often set at an easier level than the test you may be asked to complete.
The final point to make is that if you’ve been asked to sit assessment(s), chances are you’re amongst the top candidates chosen for a role. Regardless of whether you get the job or not, be sure to ask for feedback, as this may help you clarify your ideas about your suitability for different kinds of work and identify areas of strength, as well as areas you may wish to develop.