How to succeed in psychometric based job interviews

Psychometric testing is, in short, a measurement of the mind. Behavioural traits and personality can be the hardest thing to assess at interview. Employers will often choose to use psychometric testing to gain a more objective overview of a candidate’s character. They can also reveal strengths, weaknesses and working style. 

If you’re job hunting it’s very possible you will be given psychometric tests as part of the interview process. It’s important to be well prepared if you want to perform well and in psychometric tests.

What is Psychometric Testing?

We use the term ‘Psychometric testing’ to describe tests that determine personal proficiencies. They can be generic tests which determine your personality style. Alternatively they may be more in-depth tests to ascertain if the candidate will fit into a particular team or working environment. These tests give the candidate a score or a ‘type’ which employers can use to determine if the individual has what they are looking for.

Similar to competency based interviews, there aren’t necessarily right or wrong answers for most psychometric tests. They simply require you to answer to the best of your abilities.

Types of Psychometric Testing

Psychometric tests come in two main types: Ability Tests (also known as cognitive or aptitude tests) and Behavioural /Personality tests.

Ability / Cognitive / Aptitude tests

Employers use these types of test to evaluate how well a candidate will perform certain tasks. Candidate are often required to take them under ‘exam conditions’ with strict time limits. Results are standardised to allow for comparison with other candidates.

Examples of these tests include:

  • Verbal tests
  • Numerical tests
  • Written communication, spelling or punctuation tests
  • Abstract reasoning tests

How do I succeed in Ability tests?

Study available material, such as the job description or company website. Speak to your recruitment agency if you are using one. Highlight the attributes that you deem to be the most important and be prepared to demonstrate your abilities.

Practice, practice, practice – Complete as many practice tests as you can. Get to a point where you feel comfortable with the material. There are several free resources available online, including Psychometric success and profiling for success.

Be honest – If you have any requirements which you’re worried will count against you in these tests, contact the employer or ask for an alternative testing method.

Read the questions thoroughly – When you’re filling out the assessment, always re-read the question and don’t rush. Otherwise you may miss a vital piece of information or misrepresent yourself.

Behavioural / Personality tests

Employers use Personality tests to help predict a candidate’s behaviour in an occupational context. They allow employers to make a more informed choice about a candidate’s character traits. They can also show how they will fit within the business.

There are no set correct answers for these questions so they often require less preparation than other tests. The employer simply wants you to answer honestly. Aim to give a good representation of how you would perform in each situation.

How do I Succeed in Behavioural / Personality Tests?

Be yourself – There are no right answers. What might be a desirable response for one employer may not be for another. The best you can do is answer honestly.

Don’t be too neutral – Part of answering honestly is not being afraid to say something wrong. Many candidates choose to play it safe with certain questions. This can result in their personalities not standing out.

Don’t predict – Unfortunately, there is no way to predict what an employer really wants. Stay focused on your own answers and motivations throughout.

Don’t panic – Psychometric tests alone won’t be enough to gain or lose you a job. They help an employer build a profile of your personality. They also help them understand you’d fit into the company.

Finally, remember that psychometric tests do not work in isolation. There are numerous elements to achieving success at interview. Have a look through some of Copeland’s candidate resources to ensure that you are prepared for all aspects of a job interview. Make sure you’re just as prepared for the rest of the interview as you are for any potential questions which may arise.

Further Reading

How to succeed in a video interview

Get your interview presentation right

Copeland are UK automotive industry recruiters who help automotive industry employees progress their careers. 

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