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How to do your best in psychometrics and selection assessments

So you’ve applied for a job, and now the hiring manager wants you to do assessments as part of the employee selection process. I know from experience that preparing for, and completing psychometrics, as a potential employee and job seeker, can often fill you with anxiety and apprehension. In this blog post I want to share some insights, tips and advice on how to do your best in your assessments so you can fulfil your potential and land the job you want.

What are Psychometrics or Selection assessments?

Psychometrics, are tests and assessments which measure certain psychological constructs, such as personality, intelligence, and aptitude. Psychometric tests are used to assess these constructs and to make predictions about future behaviour. Some selection assessments may be more practical or immersive in nature, similar to the situations and activities you would do in a job.

They can be used in a variety of settings, including education, employment, and clinical settings. In the context of employment, psychometric tests are used to assess a candidate's suitability for a particular role. A psychometric battery is a set of psychometric tests that are administered together. The specific tests that are included in a psychometric battery will vary depending on the role and the organization. Generally, these tests are administered online and can be either supervised or unsupervised. There are many different types of psychometric tests, but some of the most common include:

  • Cognitive ability and aptitude tests to measure general intelligence, problem solving and how you work with numerical or verbal information to solve problems. They can be used to assess your ability to learn new information and to solve problems. They are generally timed, feel rather pressurised and assess your accuracy as well as pace.

  • Personality tests measure personality traits such as your preferences for being sociable, the type of information you enjoy working with, your team or leadership orientation and how conscientious or reliable you tend to be. They can be used to assess a candidate's fit for a particular role or culture.

  • Situational judgment tests measure how you would behave in a particular situation. They can be used to assess your decision-making skills and ability to handle stress.

  • Emotional Intelligence tests assess how you express yourself, perceive yourself and manage stress. Emotional intelligence is important in the workplace.

When you apply to a job you may be asked to complete these assessments as they offer some benefits in job selection for the hiring organisation and HR managers, these include:

  • Increased accuracy: Psychometric batteries can help to increase the accuracy of hiring decisions. This is because they measure a variety of factors that are related to job performance, such as intelligence, personality, and motivation.

  • Reduced bias: Psychometric batteries can help to reduce bias in the hiring process. This is because they are designed to be objective and fair. They are not influenced by the candidate's race, gender, age, or other personal characteristics.

  • Increased efficiency: Psychometric batteries can help to streamline the hiring process. This is because they can be administered online and they can be scored quickly and easily.

However, it is important to be aware of the limitations of psychometric batteries and that is why Human Resources and hiring managers use them in conjunction with other selection methods such as interviews or assessment centres.

When looking at the assessment battery, here are some tips to set yourself up for success and perform your best on the different types of tests you may do:

  • When taking any psychometric test, it is important to be honest and to answer the questions as accurately as possible. The tests have sophisticated measures to check your responses for bias and consistency. The results of the test will be used to make decisions about your suitability for a particular role, so it is important to give the best possible impression.

  • Bearing this in mind, there are test specific tips you can apply to your process of responding to different assessments:

    • For cognitive, aptitude or abilities tests you are generally allowed a pen, paper and calculator at hand. Check this with your administrator but it can be very useful to help you with your accuracy and speed in responding.

    • Only do these assessments when you are alert and relaxed, possibly in the morning with a good breakfast and some refreshments at hand. Comfort breaks should be taken before or after the test.

    • For personality assessments keep your work self in mind. For example, if you are answering questions about your preferences for conflict resolution think of yourself at work and how you would describe your behaviours.

    • Only do these assessments when you are relaxed and in a calm state of mind, at any time of the day when you will have an uninterrupted hour or so.

    • For situational judgement tests try immerse yourself in the situation and really keep yourself in your work self mind-set.

    • For emotional intelligence tests its important spend some time emotionally centring and calming yourself, try some deep breathing or focused attention before starting.

    • Similar to personality, do these assessments when you are relaxed and in a calm state of mind, at any time of the day when you will have an uninterrupted hour or so.

Then in general, other additional and standard tips I give candidates when doing psychometric tests:

  • One of the best things you can do for yourself is to practice. While the assessments offer practice items as your start, there are also several websites that offer some exposure to the assessments, these include:

  • If you have concerns, contact your administrator or the HR contact running the assessments. If you have a connection problem or bad experience, please give the hiring manager or human resources consultant feedback.

  • Check the assessment deadlines so you do not miss the given time frame for completion.

  • Carve out specific times to do the assessments, book them into your diary or schedule, when you will have a quiet, uninterrupted environment with stable internet connection.

  • Before you take any psychometric tests, it is important to do your research (like reading this post) and understand what they are and how they work. This will help you to feel more prepared and confident when you take the tests.

  • In most cases, you cannot do most assessments on your phone or tablet. Check your software and hardware suitability. When you log onto the test website or platform, there will be links to check your laptop/ computer or operating system, do the checks.

  • Take the time to read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked of you.

  • Do not rush through the assessment or guess, the tests are designed to measure your true abilities, so guessing will not help you. Your most strong inclination is usually the most accurate when answering personality assessments.

  • Be honest, there is no good or bad personality, only personality traits and preferences which may be more suitable to particular job and organisational culture.

  • Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. When you are taking a psychometric test, focus on your strengths and try to answer the questions in a honest, unbiased manner.

  • Your assessment results can be influenced by factors such as your mood and motivation. Try to set yourself up for success by consciously setting and examining both these personal factors.

The night before you take a psychometric test, it is important to get enough sleep and try maintain a balanced blood sugar. This will help you to be alert and focused during the test.

  • On that note, if you have recently been through a traumatic or life changing event, it may impact your results. Here timing is delicate as the hiring organisation has time limits and you may not be in the best frame of mind. If it is not possible to move the assessments out, try focus on your enduring personality traits through life as you have “always been”, not your current possibly turbulent emotions.

I hope this post have given you some insights into what to expect when taking a psychometric test, how best to prepare for selection assessments and maybe, some useful tips on how to do your best when completing assessments.

All my best,


The Humble Humanologist

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