Psychometric Testing

Finding the right candidate for a job is never easy. As companies are coming to realise the high cost both financially and in productivity of staff turnover, there is now more than ever a strong push to recruit people who fit into the company culture from the very start.

As a result psychometric testing is fast becoming a popular screening mechanism and an integral part of the selection process.

Basically psychometric tests are tools for measuring the mind.

There are two main types of psychometric tests:

Aptitude which assess your ability and
Behavioural / Personality  which help build up a profile of your characteristics and personality.

In this section, there are tips for both employers and job-seekers on understanding psychometric testing.

     Organisational Awareness

     Strategic Thinking

     Communication

     Client Focus

     Client Relationship

     Teamwork

     Leadership Ability

     Innovation

     Time Management

 

Candidates

 

A increasingly popular part of the interview process is psychometric testing. Candidates have been asked to take part in these tests when interviewing for a new position. Although they can seem slightly daunting, psychometric testing can offer you the opportunity to shine in a selection process where a more accepted style of interviewing may not have done so.

There are basically two types of psychometric tests:

1.       Aptitude or IQ tests

2.       Behavioural/Personality Tests

Here are a few tips on preparing for both.

 

Aptitude or IQ Tests

 

     Understand what the employer is looking for - these tests are generally designed to measure your logical reasoning and your ability to think on the hoof.

     Remember, these are usually short questions and there is generally only one right answer.

     There are several types: numerical, spatial, abstract reasoning and data reading. However verbal ability and numerical ability are the most common and those you are most likely to come up against. You may not be able to study for these but practice will certainly make you more comfortable when it comes to the real thing.

     Practice these tests by giving yourself a specific amount of time to complete them. The real thing is usually designed to make it difficult to finish in the time allotted. Practice pacing yourself as this is the Golden Rule when it comes to the real thing.

     In the run up to the test, start getting your head in gear by working out mathematical problems in your head.

     When you are sitting the test, you will have very little time so read the question carefully, give it your best shot if unsure and move on the next. You are unlikely to have time to go back so always fill in an answer.

 

Behavioural / Personality Tests

 

     The first rule in these tests is to understand that there is no right or wrong answer as such. The best policy is to be as truthful as possible. They are generally designed to see if you are suited to the position and the company.

     If you try to give the answer you think the tester is looking for, you are likely to end up giving inconsistent answers which won't appeal to your potential employer. Your best bet is probably your first instinct.

     If you are hesitating over an answer, think about what the position requires- eg someone who can work with a team, someone who can work on their own or someone who can lead a team. This may give you a pointer to the type of answer your tester is looking for. However do be as truthful as possible within these confines.

 

Clients

 

There are basically two types of psychometric tests:

1.       Aptitude or IQ tests

2.       Behavioural / Personality Tests

For a full explanation of these tests please see the Psychometric Testing for Candidates section.

From an interviewing point of view, more and more employers are using a type of psychometric testing called Competency Based Interviewing in their employee selection process. To help you understand this method and to use it in future interviews with potential employees, we have outlined below a brief explanation of this process and full guidelines to use in interviews.

The basic premise driving this type of interview is that a candidate's past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Competency based questions are directly linked to an essential function of the position.

Interviews not based on behavioural interviewing techniques usually tend to focus exclusively on education and experience, precisely the same information that is on the CV. This information was what got the candidate the interview and should only form the actual basis of the interview itself. To predict how an applicant is likely to handle the job, HR managers need to ask for examples of things the candidate has actually done that would demonstrate the key characteristics the firm needs.

There are a number of categories of competency based interview questions:

          Organisational Awareness

          Strategic Thinking

          Communication

          ClientFocus

          Client Relationship

          Teamwork

          Leadership Ability

          Innovation

          Time Management


Examples of competency-based questions follow:

Organisational Awareness

     Describe the structure of your company and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a personal / professional goal.

     Also describe how you would perceive the new company and how you would adapt to this culture

Strategic Thinking

     Describe your most challenging project and what you changed to adapt to that scenario.

     How did you go about assessing your own performance within this assignment?

Communication

     How do you keep your clients informed about difficult issues that directly affect their bottom line?

     Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required you to use excellent communication skills.

     Give an example of how you have developed communication skills in others? (Particularly helpful when interviewing at managerial level)

Client Focus

     Give an example of how you provided service to a client beyond their expectations. How did you identify this need? What was their reaction?

     Describe the process you use to stay in touch with clients' short and long-term needs.

Client Relationship

     Describe how you develop new client relationships?

     Describe how you keep your existing client base throughout threats from competition.

Teamwork

     Describe a situation in which you were a member of a team. What did you do to make a positive contribution to the team?

     Describe a situation where there was conflict within the team? What did you do to resolve it?

Leadership Ability

     Describe how you led a team (comprised of different levels of staff). How did you improve their work?

     Describe a situation where you had to take charge either with a demanding client or with your own team.

Innovation

This is particularly relevant at managerial level where employers are looking for an individual who can make a positive profit making contribution for the firm.

     Describe something you have done that was new for your firm that improved the performance of your team or the value of the work done.

     Have you done anything innovative that would be of direct interest to your clients or enhanced awareness of your organisation?

Time Management

     Give me a specific example of a time when you failed to complete a project on time.

     How did this outcome affect your company?

     What could you have done differently?

     How has that experience affected the way you deal with deadlines now?

 

The major benefits of this type of interviewing are that these questions allow the candidate to relate their answer to a real life experience rather than giving a generic textbook answer. This enables the candidate to reveal the most relevant information in context to the current job opportunity. It is ironic that while most hiring is done around technical skills, most staff retention issues arise based on softer skills such as attitude. A technical question would never reveal such a potential behavioural flaw. When competency-based behavioural interviewing forms the framework for the entire recruitment process, interviewers are able to make much more effective hiring decisions.

Competency-based behavioural interviewing enables the interviewers to select the best possible candidate for their organisation and as such is an invaluable tool for any recruitment partner.

 

Reproduced with kind permission from

 

Brightwater Support

 

www.brightwatersupport.com

mail@brightwatersupport.com

 

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