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Graduate Careers Advice Video: Graduate Psychometric Tests
Psychometric testing, i just want a job not a psychometric evaluation. Fortunately i know something with the inside scoop on psychometrics.
What exactly is psychometric testing?
Literally, psychometric testing is measuring what is in the mind and that can be a range of things from what you can do, so are you the kind of person who is good at working with numbers or good at working in three-dimensional space through to how you go about doing things, so your style in terms of doing you need to be around other people at work? Are you very practical? Are you theoretical?
Psychometric tests tend to come in two flavours. Firstly you tend to get ability type tests. They look at things like intelligence, so things like verbal and numerical and verbal reasoning. Secondly you get preference based tests so they look at things like people's personality and motivation.
Essentially we use psychometric testing to fit people to graduate jobs better and that's good for the company because it has a direct effect on the company's profitability but it's also good for you as a candidate because it means that if you're successful you'll end up doing a job you enjoy and that's a good match for your skills but equally if you are unsuccessful then you've avoided something that you wouldn't enjoy doing or you might have found a struggle.
There's an awful lot of good evidence that suggests that psychometric tests actually work in the sense that they tell us something useful about what those people will be like once they get into the job.
There are loads of different types of tests; you have reasoning tests which might look at numerical, verbal, logical or special reasoning or checking, understanding mechanical principles. You've got tests which measure your work style, motivation, interests, and values even. Then you've got judgement tests which will put you in graduate job situations and ask you to make a judgement about your preferred course of action or to make different courses of action and then you've got simulation exercises so that might be a group exercise, role play, presentation or in-tray type exercise.
The types of tests that recruiters will use depends largely on the graduate job so the first thing a recruiter will do before under taking a recruitment activity is to sit down, have a good look at the graduate job they are recruiting for and decide what are the key things for this job and decide on the assessment approach accordingly. Of course it also depends on numbers so if you are one of 100,000 graduates you can be expected to be tested a lot, if you are one of only 10 then you might go through to one of those later face to face stages where you are there with other candidates and recruiters face to face more quickly.
Let's look at inductive reasoning so this is the test which looks at essentially your ability to come up with the rules given a set of symbols.
Psychometric tests are essentially a two way street. On the one hand of course they tell potential employers about a candidate but they can tell candidates a bit about themselves and their employers. For example, I mentioned personality questionnaires. These are a very good way to help people understand about their own preferences and their own personal style. For example are you the sort of person who likes working with detail? Do you like working at a very fast pace or at a more steady pace?
The most important thing as far as I'm concerned is to be comfortable with what's going to be required of you in the testing process. A really good way to do that is to look for example at our test practice site which is situated at www.shldirect.com and on there you will find information on all the different types of test so that you can know exactly what you will be required to do.
Really, what the practice helps you do is it helps you feel comfortable with the questionnaires. What a lot of research finds is that where people are less familiar and less comfortable with tests they will naturally suffer from a degree of anxiety. That anxiety ends up distracting people from the task at hand and which can lower people's performance . So practicing will make you better in the sense that it will make you more comfortable.
If you practice, are you not cheating yourself in some way because you might not be the right person for the job?
So when it comes to personality testing, yes that's absolutely true and I wouldn't recommend second guessing because often you may be wrong anyway. Often personality questionnaires are used to help graduate interviews so for instance if someone comes up and is very extrovert you will probably get asked as to how that personality works for you in practice. Now if you're not really like that the risk is the interview probably won't go so well. Now you will normally find that they feel quite repetitive and often people will think, oh, is this a test of am I answering in the same way? Actually it's not really that at all. It's just about getting a sense of if someone is very extrovert for example, they will always say yes to the questions about socialising, most people who are kind of in the middle will sometimes say yes, sometimes say no. So it's not about being completely consistent.
99.9% of the time, people are really struck by just how accurate the tests are so anecdotally as well as scientifically they are accurate.
So it turns out psychometric tests aren’t as scary as they sound. In fact a personality based test could well tell you what job you’re suited for and even ability based tests will at least make sure you don’t do a graduate job you’re no good at...but don’t leave it to chance, make sure you practice.
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