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What is psychometric testing and how can you prepare for it?
“Before moving you to the next round, we’d like you to take a psychometric test.”
If you’ve gone through the job search process, chances are you would’ve heard this request at some stage. Psychometric testing is a common recruitment tool, with 80% of Fortune 500 companies using them in some capacity to test candidates’ suitability for a role based on required personally characteristics and aptitude. In other words, think of it as a measurement of the mind in order to identify additional abilities.
While you can’t avoid taking a psychometric test, the good news is that it’s possible to prepare for one to make the experience less daunting.
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Below, we cover the essentials of psychometric testing, what to expect and how to best prepare.
What is psychometric testing and why do companies use it?
Psychometric tests come in two forms:
- Aptitude tests (covering literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills) and
- Personality tests (which shed insights on your behaviour and personality)
Although it can feel like the HSC or exam time all over again, keep in mind there isn’t a perfect result for a psychometric test. Different roles have different needs — for example, analyst positions require critical thinking skills while marketing roles require strong communication and creative skills. Psychometric tests are merely a tool that helps a company understand how well your behaviour style and mental capabilities fit those they’re looking for in the role.
The most common types of psychometric testing
1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The MBTI measures where you fall in four areas — sensing or intuition, introversion or extraversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving — and assigns you one of 16 different personalities.
Almost 80% of new hires in Fortune 500 companies have taken the MBTI, because it helps companies better understand a candidate’s personality, decision-making process and communication preferences. You can take a similar test for free here – understanding your own personality helps with self-awareness particularly your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to certain tasks for work.
2. Verbal reasoning assessment
Verbal reasoning assessments measure your ability to grasp language in the workplace. Verbal reasoning tests present you with a passage to read and then you’ll need to answer questions based on that passage. Here, employers are looking for your ability to extract information from written material (like reports and documents), draw conclusions, and present your findings to others. These are common for communication-based roles.
3. Numerical reasoning assessment
Numerical reasoning assessments are especially important for analyst roles, finance roles and strategist positions.
They test your ability to understand numerical data, as found in business performance graphs or financial reports, and draw conclusions from this information. These tests are usually timed with around one minute per question, and companies like Ford and JP Morgan test candidates on 20 questions in 20 minutes.
4. Logical reasoning assessment
Logical reasoning assessments are common during the recruitment process for professional services roles or roles in consulting firms. Citigroup, Ernst & Young and Morgan Stanley are known to use logical reasoning tests.
They assess your ability to take information, recognise important facts and draw conclusions. You’ll need to interpret patterns — either in numbers or in the form of pictures — or read an argument, then present conclusions based on the information provided.
Psychometric testing tips
- Answer honestly. While it’s tempting to provide answers you think the company wants to hear, remember that for many questions, there is no right answer.
- Prepare with psychometric testing practice. There are plenty of examples of psychometric testing that you can use to get a feel for the type of questions you’ll be answering, especially for aptitude tests.
- Set yourself up for success. Most companies conduct psychometric testing online. This means you can set up your environment to help you succeed: choose a quiet space without distractions and take the test when you’re mentally alert.
Above all else, remember psychometric testing is just one of the insights hiring managers use to make their decision. By being prepared with a standout resume and killer answers to the most common interview questions, you stand the best chance of shining and proving you’re the right fit for the job.