Online psychometric tests

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:23

Employers use psychometric tests to help them find the best person for the job. Aptitude and ability tests show whether a candidate has the necessary skills to perform the job – or the potential to learn new skills. Personality tests find out whether a candidate’s character suits the position.

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Psychometric tests can be seen as fairer than other selection methods, firstly because the results are quantifiable and also because you are measured against an objective standard so you’re not competing directly against the other applicants.

Psychometric tests can be used at different stages of the selection process:

  • As a first step, to narrow the field when there are large numbers of applicants. This could be as part of an online application. If you do well in the tests, you’ll be invited to an interview.

  • Alongside a first interview, so the company can decide whether to put you through to the next stage of selection.

  • At a later stage, possibly with a second interview or as part of an assessment centre.

What to expect from psychometric tests

Most tests involve multiple-choice answers and provide a numerical score. A higher score is not always ‘better’ – tests often measure multiple skills. In skills tests, the results compare your ability levels to those of other people; in personality tests they reveal how much of a certain characteristic you possess. Psychometric tests are put together by experts to make sure that they are accurate. They are backed up by evidence that shows how well they work, so don’t worry about the tests being unfair.

Types of psychometric test

There are two main kinds of psychometric test: skills tests and personality tests. Skills tests measure how well you do something, and can be split into ability and aptitude tests. These are often confused, since they’re quite similar and many tests measure both.

Ability tests include numerical, verbal and logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to identify mistakes accurately. Aptitude tests are more specific, and examine your potential to learn to do a new task rather than testing the skills you already have.

Personality tests assess your motivation, attitude and preferred way of going about things. This helps employers to see whether you match the characteristics needed for a particular job. Personality tests are usually untimed. There are no right or wrong answers, so don’t try to guess which answers the employer wants: there are built in checks to guard against this. Answer truthfully, but don’t overthink your answers as your initial response will be the most accurate representation of yourself.

With timed tests, the key is to strike a balance between speed and accuracy. Don’t go so fast that you start making mistakes but don’t be so careful over each answer that you don’t finish. Practise, and you’ll find the speed that works best for you.

Some tests are designed to see how well you cope with pressure: often the time limit is so tight that most people are not expected to complete the test. Just answer as many questions as you can.

Tip: how to find free psychometric tests

  • Your careers service: they will have books and access to online tests.

  • Your invitation to the testing process: this may include some practice questions.

  • You can also do practice tests online, with these tests covering numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive logical thinking and deductive logical thinking.

Tips for dealing with psychometric tests

  • Find out in advance what tests you’ll be doing and do some practice questions.

  • Listen carefully to instructions and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.

  • If you think you’ve done badly at a test, don’t worry – it’s not the only thing you’re being assessed on and there are other ways to let your strengths shine through.

  • Get feedback on your strengths and the areas you could work on.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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