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Psychometric tests and assessment centres

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are online or paper based questionnaires designed to identify candidates’ skills, knowledge and personality. These tests are used by some employers as part of their recruitment and selection process. There are a variety of different types of test and these usually fall into the categories of personality, aptitude or ability tests.

Aptitude or ability tests

Usually timed and taken under exam conditions, aptitude or ability tests assess reasoning or cognitive abilities. Common tests include:

  • spatial reasoning
  • verbal reasoning
  • diagrammatic reasoning
  • error checking
  • numerical reasoning

Personality questionnaires

Personality questionnaires assess different aspects of your personality and explore the way you react in different situations. There are no right or wrong answers and they are not usually timed.

They are used to see whether you would ‘fit-in’ with the culture of the organisation and suit the role applied for. You should answer questions honestly and not try to second guess what the employer is looking for.

When do employers use psychometric tests?

Sometimes psychometric tests are used in conjunction with a face-to-face interview and are often carried out during an assessment centre, possibly alongside other tests. Sometimes they are used as a ‘first-sift’, so only candidates achieving a certain mark would proceed to the next stage.

The following is a range of sites where you can practise ability/aptitude tests and personality questionnaires:

What are assessment centres?

Assessment centres normally form the final part of the selection process, after interview, so if you have reached this stage, you are doing well.

Candidates are set a number of exercises designed to assess whether they possess the competencies and personal qualities sought be the employer for that particular role and their suitability for the organisation.  Exercises will assess competencies such as: leadership, analytical skills, oral and written communication, numerical aptitude, ability to work under pressure, and team working.

Employers will want to see how you work with other people and how you react in social situations. Tasks may include a range of activities including the following: 

  • Psychometric tests and/or personality questionnaires 
  • Interviews – with one or more interviewers 
  • Individual and/or group presentations 
  • Group exercises – such as a team building task or business case study 
  • In-tray or e-tray exercises 
  • Social events 
  • Written exercises or case studies

Page last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016 at 11.39am.


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