How to Prepare for a Psychometric Test

See also: What is Psychometric Testing?

So, you’ve been asked to take a psychometric test for a job that you’re applying for. This may seem like a daunting task but these tests are not something to be scared of.

Below we will cover what psychometric tests are, what they actually test, and what you can do to make sure you’ll do well.


What is a Psychometric Test?

Psychometric tests provide employers with a greater understanding of who you are as an individual.

They are used in conjunction with CVs, covering letters and interviews to determine a candidate’s suitability for a role. There are several different types of psychometric test that have been designed to measure different aspects of your personality.

By completing a psychometric test an employer will aim to find out:

  • Whether your personality and approach to work will fit with their business and its ethos;
  • Whether your personality and approach to work will fit with the specific job role;
  • Whether you are a logical thinker and problem solver;
  • Whether your numeracy and literacy skills are adequate.

Why Psychometric Tests aren’t to be Feared

When you think of the word ‘test’ you immediately think ‘pass or fail’ so, when you’re told that you have to complete a psychometric test as part of an application process, it’s only natural to be apprehensive.

However, psychometric tests differ from other tests in that they do not have right or wrong answers. These tests are instead used to understand each candidate on an individual level and how they perform in real-world situations.

Most often, psychometric testing is used during graduate assessment days to help narrow down a large number of applications, but psychometric testing is by no means limited to graduate recruitment.

Large organisations use psychometric testing to help fill a substantial number of positions within a small period of time. It helps them objectively filter candidates, no matter what level of experience they may have, to find those most suitable for the role.

Psychometric tests are usually taken online at home, allowing you time and privacy to complete them. Occasionally they can be carried out during career assessment days at the place of employment.

Psychometric tests are often divided into two parts, a personality test and an aptitude test, with the personality test being the one you will normally be asked to complete first.

Personality Tests

The best advice for taking a personality test is simple: be honest.

If you distort the truth or answer the questions based on what you think the recruiter or employer wants to hear, you may end up in a job that isn’t for you.

Personality tests are not only designed to test your suitability for a specific job role, they also give the employer a greater understanding of whether you would be a good culture fit for the business.

Personality tests are the best way for an employer to assess whether you have the right attitude and aptitude for the role they are recruiting for and for their business. If you feel the need to moderate what you are saying about yourself, you may need to consider if the company and the role are really the right fit for you.

Aptitude tests

The second part of a psychometric test is the aptitude test. This type of test is customisable based upon the type of role for which you are applying.

These tests are designed to test your literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills. It then goes without saying that for roles where one of these skills is more dominant, you will need to be good at that particular part of the test.

When you have a solid idea of what position you want to apply for, you can better judge what skills an employer may be looking for. From this you can focus your preparation on the areas in which you feel less confident.

Aptitude tests can also be customised in terms of difficulty levels.

If you are applying for an entry level job, the test which you are asked to take will reflect this and should not be too difficult. If you are interviewing for a high level executive role on the other hand, the aptitude test may be significantly more challenging.

If you are unsure about the job which you are applying for, thoroughly research the vacancy details so you can prepare for your test accordingly.

Psychometric tests give the employer an idea of how you cope under pressure in a working environment and how you handle problem solving.

Beyond the numeracy and literacy questions, a lot of the questions asked are based on common sense; all you have to do is provide a logical solution to the given problem.

The personality test is something that you should be able to complete at your own pace but be aware that most aptitude tests tend to have a time limit. But don’t worry about time, these aptitude tests are designed so that most people are able to finish them comfortably within the given time limit.

What do Psychometric Tests Reveal?

Remember that psychometric tests have been designed for recruiters and organisations to gain a greater understanding of you as an individual and your working habits and preferences in a short amount of time.

In terms of revision, there isn’t much that you can do besides being yourself and making sure that your writing skills and maths are up to scratch. So, just as you would before any other exam, ensure that you are well rested, well fed and well hydrated as you’ll want your brain to be working at full capacity!

What does an Employer do with the Results of a Psychometric Test?

Another thing to remain aware of is that the success of your application doesn’t solely hinge on the results of your psychometric test.

The results are taken into consideration along with your CV and interview to give the employer a balanced view of who you are and how you’ll perform within their company. They will only use your test results in order to help inform their hiring decision, so don’t forget to put on your best shirt for the interview!

If you still feel unsure or perhaps anxious about taking a psychometric test, there are numerous resources online providing example tests of varying difficulty levels that allow you to practise the areas that you feel less confident.

Many employers or recruiters may also provide you with example tests before the interview actually takes place, so you can ensure that you are fully prepared.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

In conclusion, psychometric testing isn’t something that you can revise for but, if you use online resources, take the advice provided by employers and what’s been covered in this article, getting your next job should be a breeze.

About the Author

Patrick Bell is Managing Director at Genesis Associates, a recruitment company that specialises in finding the best talent across engineering, sales and the creative industry. Providing expert guides to enhance candidates’ existing skills and relocation support for global hires, Genesis Associates provides the full package.