Sharpen Your Pencils, It's Time to Nail That Test
Testing is often part of the interview
process for top positions
In today's tight job market, job seekers can expect closer scrutiny in the form of psychometric testing, as well as aptitude and personality testing. However, few if any rely solely on psychological tests to survey a job applicant. It is just one of several data points used to make a hiring decision. Explore a variety of job assessment test tips that can assist in impressing your next employer.
Common Types of Tests:
Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure the extent to which a candidate’s personality and cognitive abilities match those required to perform a given role. Employers use the information collected from the psychometric test to identify a candidate’s personal traits and work style that are difficult to extract from a face-to-face interview.
These tests are characterized by structured systematic ways of evaluating how people perform on tasks or react to different situations. Aptitude tests attempt to determine and measure your ability to acquire some specific set of skills through future training. The tests assume that people differ in their special abilities and that these differences can be useful in predicting future achievements. Aptitude tests use standardized methods of administration and scoring with the results quantified and compared to how others have done at the same tests.
Personality questionnaires differ from ability tests in that they look at “style” rather than ability. In other words, they examine how you typically prefer to relate to others or approach tasks and solve problems. Companies often administer personality tests for positions that require strategic thinking and complex decision-making.
Hints and Tips for Candidates
- Ask the potential employer for samples of the questions expected. If you receive any, this will give you an opportunity to work out the type of questions you'll need to practice.
- Find websites and books that have practice tests, and do as many as you can. Focus most of your energy on practicing the skills in which you're weakest so you improve them and your confidence level.
- Before you start the test, do not be afraid to ask questions if something is unclear.
- During the test read each question carefully, if you are unsure of the answer make a best guess and move on. Work quickly and as accurately as you can. Most ability tests will be timed, keep a close watch on the clock.
- Whether or not you're successful in getting through to the next stage of the job hunt, ask for feedback on the psychometric tests. While there are no wrong or right answers in personality tests, there can be indicators of areas in which you would benefit from self-improvement, such as training in assertiveness.
- Again, you may want to ask for a practice test. Most questionnaires are not timed; work through them at a comfortable pace, but do not ponder too long over any one question.
- Most questionnaires ask you to consider how you typically behave in a work setting, so follow the instructions and do not think about home or leisure situations. The questionnaire is about how you see yourself now, so think in the present.
- The best advice is, and always has been, to simply answer the questions as candidly and as openly as possible. Generally, the first answer that “pops” into your mind is the best answer. Lying or exaggerating on an assessment can potentially result in two things: being dropped from consideration or ending up in a job you dislike.
- Watch out for absolutes like always, ever, and never. Unless it’s an honesty question, it’s best to answer in the middle of the range.
- Test publishers validate an applicant’s score by measuring the consistency of their responses to similar questions with slightly different or reverse wording. To avoid extra scrutiny, read carefully and provide similar responses to questions that assess the same trait.
- When you have completed the test, ask for feedback. And, If test results are not supplied to you automatically, it's a good idea to ask for them anyway as it shows you are engaged and proactive at every step of the process.