Careers and Enterprise

Practise psychometric tests

Psychometric tests or aptitude tests are used by recruiters as another part of their selection process to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role.

These tests are mainly used as part of applications to graduate schemes and larger organisations, and the type of test given will depend on the role you are applying for. Numerical tests will be given for finance and management roles and spatial or diagrammatic tests are more common for jobs in engineering and IT.

Employers will email you a link to a test and give you a certain number of days in which to complete it. This usually happens after you have submitted your application, before being invited to interview, but some companies now only allow access to their application form after first passing their psychometric tests.

Get it right

Practice, practice and practice some more. Not only will this help you improve your speed and accuracy when answering questions, but it will also help you become familiar with the technology and pressure of being timed. Taking sample tests will improve your ‘exam technique’ and help to minimise any nerves.

There are many different types of tests, which will assess different types of abilities. Employers will choose which one to use based on the day to day requirements of the job. Generally numerical tests will be given for candidates applying to roles that involve finance, budgets and statistics; spatial or diagrammatic tests are more common for jobs in engineering and IT; and verbal tests are used for roles that involve working with large amounts of text such as law, HR, marketing and publishing. Some recruiters use video games as an alternative way to test candidates, where the game is a way to assess your skills, decision making, response to challenges and risk taking.

Employers will email you a link to a test and give you a certain number of days in which to complete it. This usually happens after you have submitted your application, before being invited to interview, but some companies now only allow access to their application form after first passing their psychometric tests. As with all tests, it is important to read the instructions carefully and complete it in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. You might not be given much warning before being invited to take a test, so set aside each week to practice so you are ready.

Not every employer will use these tests. They are more commonly used with very large employers who provide Graduate Schemes. The recruitment pages on the organisation’s website will usually give details of the application process, and whether tests are given.