Psychometric tests: an overview

Many employers use psychometric tests to find the best candidates. So what should you expect?

You may be asked to take psychometric tests after you submit your application form, alongside a first or a second interview, or during an assessment centre.

Psychometric testing typically includes a combination of ability, aptitude and personality tests. They are designed to measure your strengths and weaknesses, and uncover any other job-relevant information about you that an interview alone may not be able to uncover.

All these tests are usually conducted online, under timed, exam-like conditions and most involve multiple-choice or true/false answers.

Ability tests

These measure either general or particular skills and capabilities, and include:

  • numerical reasoning tests – they assess your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. The employer wants to know if you can interpret and draw conclusions from data, graphs, charts or statistics, and if you can use numerical information to make logical decisions that solve problems
  • verbal reasoning tests – these are designed to measure if you can analyse written information (for example, company reports) to arrive at accurate conclusions
  • logical reasoning tests – these are sometimes also called deductive reasoning tests. You are given some basic information or rules, which you need to apply and follow through to arrive at what happens in a given scenario.

Aptitude tests

These tests check your potential to do the job you have applied for, or your suitability for the role. Situational judgment tests are a type of aptitude test that help predict how you might naturally respond to specific situations in the workplace. They are also used to assess your communication style and your ability to work within a team.

Personality tests

Employers look for candidates who will fit into the role, the team and the company culture, so they want to know what you are really like as a person. People differ in their style or manner of doing things, and in the way they interact with those around them.

Personality tests – and there are many out there – assess your typical behaviour when faced with a given situation or your preferred way of resolving a situation. There are no right or wrong answers, and you should not try to second guess what the employer wants to see – they will check for consistency in your responses.

"Employers look for candidates who will fit into the role, the team and the company culture, so they want to know what you are really like as a person"