One of my clients who I had recently helped to make big improvements to her CV, called me in a panic the other day, “I’ve got an interview”, she said “but they want me to take some psychometric test or other. I hate doing tests and I don’t even know what is involved…help!”
I thought it was fantastic news that she now had a foot in the door and was in a better position to sell herself to get the job. However she didn’t share my enthusiasm, or at least not initially. We talked for a while and of course a lot of it came down to that little four letter word that has a habit of installing fear in the best of us, TEST!
Who remembers tests at school? and later word changed to exam, another scary four letter word! As I explained to her, the key to doing well in tests is preparation and that includes looking to see what the worst case scenario is – which of course is to fail. But is it the end of the world? In many situations you can resist the test or in my clients case, she might not get the job but it’s not life threatening and the benefit is that she could learn from the experience.
I have recently been doing a lot of work putting together a package to help clients prepare and pass psychometric tests so this particular client agreed to be my ‘guinea pig’ which was a definite ‘win win’ situation for us both. So what is psychometric testing and why are more and more employers using them?
In short, psychometric tests produce clear results which give potential employers valuable information about you and your abilities so they can make a direct comparison between you and other candidates. With psychometric tests, your answers are compared with those of a ‘comparison group’ Each comparison group is made up of hundreds of people who have reached a certain educational or occupational level. They can be designed to measure almost any aspect of your mind but are usually split into 2 groups:
- Ability tests are usually carried out within a specific time frame and include reasoning using numbers, words and/or diagrams as well as questions where there are no real right or wrong answers. They help employers understand how capable you are at a specific skill that is relevant to the job and they can give an indication of your overall level of intelligence.
- Preference tests are not usually timed, include personality, values and integrity questionnaires and there is no one correct answer to a question. These generally give an employer a clear picture of your personality traits including the sort of things that you really enjoy doing as well as those situations that you would prefer to avoid.
Employers are now making more and more use of psychometric testing early on the recruitment process because it is a very cost effective way to reduce the number of potential candidates from the mound of applications they are now receiving; but more importantly because it enables them to see much faster whether or not a candidate really is suitable for the position.
Getting good scores in psychometric tests is not so difficult is you are prepared to put in the preparation time and after a bit of practice, you might even find them fun!
My fully tried and tested program for helping you to prepare and pass psychometric tests will be available from September but in the meantime if you need any help please get in touch. I would also be very interested to hear about your own experiences of psychometric testing.