With the job market constantly changing and becoming more and more competitive, employers are always coming up with new ways to make sure that they’re recruiting the very best for their businesses. From weird interview questions to assessment centres and presentations, companies like to find the most effective ways to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to recruitment.
One of these slightly more old school (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but arguably unusual methods interviewers choose to employ is subjecting candidates to psychometric tests or personality tests. Now while these can come in many different forms, generally speaking, they are designed to gain an understanding of how suitable (or indeed unsuitable) an individual is for the role in question based on their personality and behavioural traits.
Your personality and behaviours have a massive effect on what type of work you excel in and, more importantly, enjoy. This is why very selective employers like to use psychometric tests, not only to make sure that the person is right for the job, but also to ensure the job is right for the person. There’s no point putting someone who is born to be a salesperson into an administrative role, it’s equally pointless to place someone with a predominantly analytical mind in a customer service role. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; no matter how much you force it, it just won’t work.
Psychometric tests are an extremely useful, and eerily accurate, tool for assessing candidates – one which doesn’t require any preparation on the applicant’s part and is based solely on who the person is and how they behave. So while your past experience and professional skills are undoubtedly important, psychometric assessments are a much more organic way of matching people with roles.
At an interview, it may catch you off guard if the interviewer asks you to complete one of these tests but don’t worry, it’s not a trap! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and different attributes to bring to the table; the interviewer is just trying to find out which ones you have.
We understand that interviews can be stressful enough, so we want to prepare you as much as possible (we’re lovely, aren’t we?). Here’s our advice on how to tackle psychometric tests.
1. Don’t freak out
Due to the nature of these tests, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be informed prior to your interview that you will be completing one. So, when the assessment is placed in front of you, it feels like the pressure is on. Just relax. The great thing about psychometric tests is that you can’t fail it; there is literally no right or wrong answer to any of the questions, it’s all about you. As an added bonus, the tests are usually relatively easy and enjoyable to complete.
2. Bear the role in mind
The point of these tests is to assess your personality against the criteria of the role you have applied for. If you’re currently working in a very different job and you have that role in mind when completing the test, this could skew your results. It’s advisable to imagine yourself working in the role you have applied for when you complete the psychometric test. However, don’t just try to guess what the employer wants, this brings us onto our next point…
3. Be honest
Just to throw a spanner in the works, although you should answer the questions with the role in mind, you should also be honest! If you try to beat the system and say what they want to hear, when really it’s all a load of hogwash, then you could find yourself in hot water. Remember, the interviewer is probably well versed in these tests, and will already have their own ideas about what personality type you are. Also, if you do get the job based on false test results, you may end up in a role that’s really not right for you.
4. Don’t spend too long on it
With these sorts of tests, there’s a temptation to over-think things – especially with something that is so easy, it’s understandable you may start to think that there’s a catch! We assure you, there’s no catch, so don’t spend too long labouring over your answers; if you take longer to complete the test you may end up giving inaccurate answers because you over-analysed the questions. Additionally, if candidates usually complete the assessments in a certain amount of time, and you take noticeably longer, you may lead the interviewer to question your ability to complete tasks efficiently – not good!
5. Trust your gut
Psychometric tests are all about you – and no one knows you better than you! So, the chances are that your first instinct is right. If you feel like you know the answer to one of the questions right away, don’t talk yourself out of it because your instant response is likely to be spot on.
All in all, it’s best to approach these tests calmly, honestly and confidently – take advantage of the fact that this is one of the very few times that you’ll complete an assessment where there is no pass or fail! They’re relatively interesting, too, because they make you reflect upon yourself in a way you may not always have the opportunity to. Enjoy it! Whatever the result, you’re gaining valuable experience when it comes to interviews and if you make sure that you seek feedback regarding your test results, you can learn more about who you are as a professional.
If you don’t get the job based on your psychometric results, don’t be disheartened, it means that this wasn’t the role for you, but the right one is definitely out there!
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