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How to prepare for psychometric testing

Expert Knowledge Rebecca McFarland

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What is psychometric testing?

There are lots of different types of psychometric tests that can be used to test your aptitude, capability and behavioural style. Psychometric tests often consist of a number of questions (usually multiple choice) that need to be answered within a specific timeframe. As technology progresses and organisations become more progressive, gamified testing is becoming more and more prevalent. In these instances, the test appears as a game and you are measured based on decisions and actions you take within the game environment.

How is psychometric testing used in recruitment?

Psychometric testing can be used at various different stages of a recruitment process. It could be used up-front as an initial objective measure to shortlist candidates, or it could be used at a later stage, to make a decision about the preferred applicant. Tests to determine your aptitude or capability are generally used to rank candidates, particularly when there are a large number of applicants to assess. The employer will usually decide on a benchmark score that candidates must achieve in order to progress with the process. Behavioural testing on the other hand, is used to ascertain whether candidates have the specific behavioural style, preferences, emotional intelligence and personal qualities to be matched to a specific team or role type.

So, how can I prepare for psychometric testing?

That is the million dollar question! Unfortunately there is no sure-fire way to prepare for a psychometric test, due to the fact that there are so many variables. With this in mind, we’ve prepared some common tips that you can use, to ensure you’re in the right headspace when you take your test.

Be Honest

If you are completing a behavioural psychometric test, you might be inclined to cheat the system by responding in a way that you think the employer would want you to. This is certainly not recommended. First of all, you’d be cheating yourself as you could potentially be placed in a role that is not aligned with your personality and behavioural preferences. This could lead to disaster. Secondly, most tests have a built in mechanism to alert recruiters when an applicant is not being honest and consistent in their results. This of course, is not a good look.

Leave yourself plenty of time

A psychometric test is definitely not something you want to rush. So, it’s not a good idea to try and squeeze it in on a busy day when you’re rushing to appointments. You want to be as relaxed and calm as possible, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time, not just to complete the test, but also to settle any nerves and complete the available practice questions before you start. If you’re stressed, rushed or not in a good mood, this could potentially affect your test results.

Practice, practice, practice

As I’ve mentioned, there’s generally not a lot you can do to prepare for a psychometric test. You can, however, spend some time completing practice tests online and getting used to the different styles of testing. Try to look for tests that are the same type that you’ll be sitting as part of the recruitment process; check to see whether the test will be cognitive, behavioural or a combination of both. Timed practice tests are a great way to replicate the test environment and train your brain to work in a pressurised situation.

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