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Ask a Recruiter: “I have been told I’m going to have to complete a psychometric test. What is it and is there any way I can prepare?”

Published on: 31 Mar 2020

If you haven’t been asked to complete a psychometric test before the first thing to say is that there really is no need to worry. The second thing to say is also good news as, yes, you can prepare for them.

Psychometric tests are essentially a tool for employers to gain insight into a candidate’s character traits. In this regard, they are not so much a test as a questionnaire, designed to better understand your personality and designed to be used to assess how well suited your personality traits might be to the role in question, team dynamic or company culture as a whole. This does rely on the hiring company understanding what type of personality would be suitable and why.

It is also worth mentioning that the decision making process is likely to take into account a number of assessments including of course, your interview(s). Perhaps having done the psychometric test a good question for you to ask at interview would be; what sort of character traits they are looking for and why?

The human psyche is too complex to be summarised by 50 or so questions, but it is possible to get a general sense of someone’s aptitudes and preferences through these tests. Recently I was seeking a test for an internal recruitment drive and took one as a tester. I then showed it to those closest to me to get an outsiders opinion. The feedback was that it was mostly well matched, uncannily so in some aspects, but also not at all in some, so it should be used as a guide.

You will typically be asked a number of questions concerning your personality and either be required to grade possible answers from most to least (like you) or score the questions on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. You will find questions reappearing, but with slightly altered wording, this is to check for consistency in your answers.

Sample tests are available for free online, if you have not done one before it would be time well spent. You can take them to familiarise yourself with the process and even to get a sense of how your personality is being analysed. You can’t “cheat” as there is no right or wrong answer, but you can ensure that you best represent yourself. As these tests are often done remotely and can be time bound it is important to carefully pick your moment. Ensure you won’t be disturbed and don’t do it last minute, after a long drive home or a hard week at work – let’s be honest we are rarely feeling our best at those times and it is bound to come out in your answers.

Lester Lockyer, Recruitment, Training and Development Manager at ALLEN & YORK