Psychometric Testing Guide
Preparing for life after university seems like such a mammoth task. CV’s can be digitalised, printed, a video - and your method of choice will reflect who you are and how you like to present yourself. Interviews can be done in groups, sometimes with role-playing involved, and again, how you respond to situations and fit in a group says a lot about the way you work. But there’s something else that’s been around for a long time in the realm of interviews, yet you may not be very familiar with it.
It’s called ‘psychometric testing’, and it can be seen as one of the most daunting phases of recruitment processes because it hones in on your psyche - or the way you think - on a much more pointed level. Often the types of responses the tests are looking for might be trickier to extract from you in a regular face-to-face interview because you might feel under pressure to answer in a particular way to suit the people asking, rather than focusing on being honest and direct.
So, why are these tests a good thing?
You may be aware that some employers can be guilty of hiring someone based on their ‘look’, vibe, or other not-so-crucial traits, often without realising it. You may have even experienced this before, yourself. This is called ‘unconscious bias’, and it means that sometimes the right person for the job doesn’t end up being employed, aaaaand it sucks. The good news is that it’s becoming increasingly common for companies looking to hire Uni graduates to use psychometric testing because they allow the candidates to be judged with no unconscious biases.
These tests are a lot more efficient at honing in on the vital traits and skills that companies are searching for, and have been proven to be very accurate indicators of how someone will perform in their job in the future. It’s a way for companies to look for your natural instincts and unlearned abilities through assessing your answers to multiple choice questions and sometimes written answers, without wondering if other factors such as who asked you the question, influenced your response.
Psychometric testing examples
Psychometric testing can cover different areas and bases. The three common ones you’re likely to come across in Psychometric Testing New Zealand are:
1. Aptitude tests: to measure critical thinking, problem-solving, and your ability to learn and apply new information
2. Skills tests: to measure basic competencies associated with essential work activities
3. Personality tests: to assess behavioural patterns and traits which might affect your workplace performance
Within these categories, tests can target different subjects:
1. Numerical - Dealing with graphs and grids, etc.
2. Verbal - Evaluating your ability to draw conclusions and information from written text. You will be asked to answer whether a statement following a passage can be verified by the information provided.
3. Logic - Focusing on sequences of images and testing your cognitive abilities.
4. Language and Literacy - Focusing on your grammar and spelling.
5. Technical - Focusing on your numerical, visual, mechanical and/or spatial skills.
6. Spatial reasoning - Looks at your ability to navigate 2D and 3D images. Tests evaluate your spatial visualisation, mental folding, and mental rotation abilities, in addition to your spatial and visuospatial function.
7. Mechanical and Electrical reasoning - More focused on your knowledge of terminology.
8. Error-checking - These are all about attention to detail and spotting mistakes.
9. Concentration - Seeing how well and accurately you can complete tasks under time pressure.
The type of role you are going for will determine which test(s) you need to take. Questions can pop up more than once throughout the test but be worded differently. Why? To measure the consistency in your responses and decipher how your thinking processes and sequencing work.
So, at what point will these tests occur?
The tests may appear at any stage in the recruitment process, but more often than not, you will undertake the test at one of these three stages:
1. Immediately after you submit your application form;
2. As an add-on to your interview;
3. Immediately before or after your actual interview.
There are pros and cons to each of these timings, which you can judge yourself, but whichever scenario you find yourself in, the trick is not to get stressed out. At the end of the day, look at it this way - if the company finds that you don’t quite have what they’re looking for, at least you know that your test scores might have saved you from ending up in a job that you’re really not cut out for.
Psychometric testing tips
Where do you even begin to sort your brain out for psychometric assessment?
Quite often it’s hard to judge what exactly you’ll get asked. There will be companies who can inform you of some of the content, and there may even be mini practice tests available for you to do at home, but it’s not going to be like an exam where you can cram-study all the content beforehand. If you do manage to do some psychometric tests free online, don’t spend ages trying to determine which answers others might think are the best. Go with your gut feeling. It’s impossible to cheat the system anyway because it picks up on slow responses and inconsistencies that seem a bit too drastic.
Get a good night’s rest before the day of your test. There is no point staying up all hours freaking out over something you really have no control over. Practice filling something out under time pressure. You’ve all been there in exams, but remember what that felt like? Suss out your best coping mechanism for moments when it all seems a bit much. Hone in on how you normally respond to different scenarios in life and get familiar with how your mind works.
You’ll be given a time limit and you won’t have room to go back and change anything, so be sure of your answers. Tests can be anywhere from 10 minutes to indefinite length - if you’re not given a specific timeframe, sometimes you end up having up to a certain time to answer each question before it automatically moves on.
And, if you’re wondering which types of jobs will require this sort of testing, there are no limits. It’s becoming an increasingly popular method of recruitment processes and has proven to be successful and worthwhile when scouting for new workers!
By Ellie Bambury