Sharpen Your Pencils, It's Time to Nail That Test
Testing is often part of the interview
process for top positions
If you're looking for a job or a promotion then you've probably spent hours preparing your resume and getting ready to face some tough interview questions.
But what if you're expected to take a psychometric, aptitude or personality test? More and more employers use these job selection tests, and you need to be prepared for anything they throw at you.
Common Types of Tests:
These tests provide a standardized (i.e. rigorously developed and applied) form of assessment and can measure a wide range of attributes, such as dexterity, literacy, numeracy and specific abilities such as verbal, numerical, abstract, spacial or mechanical reasoning. Tests, when professionally developed and used, have consistently shown to be a very objective and accurate method to identify the most qualified candidates for a particular role. They can also provide high quality specific information on each candidate, and when used in an Assessment Center context, they extend the overall picture of a candidate.
Ability tests are usually administered under timed conditions and are completed using paper and pencil, on-screen or online formats.
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, through future training, some specific set of skills. 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 with 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 do things, such as the way you relate to others or how you approach tasks and solve problems.
Personality characteristics typically cover social confidence, anxiety levels and decision-making styles. They tend not to be timed and there are no right or wrong answers, as they are concerned with how you see yourself.
Hints and Tips for Candidates
- When you are advised you will be completing an ability test as part of a selection process, ask if you will be sent a practice test.
- Do yourself justice by practicing the relevant skill areas, e.g. if numerical reasoning - read financial reports in newspapers, practice studying and interpreting information presented in a financial format, and refresh your memory about straightforward calculations such as percentages.
- Before you start the test, do not be afraid to ask questions of the administrator if something is not clear.
- 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, therefore monitor your own time.
- 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.
- Do not try to create an 'unreal' image: be honest about how you see yourself rather than how you would like to be.
- When you have completed the test, ask for feedback.
- There are also a number of good books on the subject of personality and psychometric testing so, go to the library or local bookshop and browse.