A psychometric test, or aptitude test, provides insights into someone’s cognitive ability and indicates the potential of a candidate to excel in a position or career.
Psychometric testing takes various forms (numerical, mechanical, logical, verbal, etc); the tests are intended to streamline the recruitment process and reveal top applicants efficiently. Most psychometric tests are administered online or in-person at an assessment centre. The test length relative to the time assigned to answer the questions will require mental agility to deliver rapid accurate responses.
They are now a common hurdle, particularly in graduate scheme applications. The tests are often used in tandem with each other, the chosen test selection dictated by the career sector to which the applicant is applying.
Psychometric test scores do not stand alone but are often considered in combination with candidate CVs, cover letters and other assessment rounds such as more tailored, sector-specific tasks, role-play scenarios and group interviews.
The value of performing well in psychometric testing should not, however, be overlooked. A high psychometric test score will dramatically increase your chances of securing a final stage interview.
Why do employers use psychometric tests?
Employers commonly receive an extremely high number of applications for anyone role. Quick and easy to administer at scale, psychometric tests are an excellent way to reduce the size of the applicant pool.
The tests enable employers to confidently siphon the top 5–10% of candidates, who have displayed that they possess key transferable skills. This streamlining speeds up the recruitment process, providing a logical candidate shortlist of manageable length and reducing HR costs.
The tests are considered to be reliable indicators of candidate potential and suitability, as a strong correlation between a high score and subsequent high-quality performance in the role has been identified.
Verbal and numerical reasoning tests tend to be most popular with employers, as they test key transferable comprehension and arithmetic skills. The testing of accuracy under pressure indicates how the candidate will cope in a demanding everyday role.
Whilst psychometric testing may be an initially daunting prospect, remember that – unlike some recruitment stages – it can be comprehensively prepared to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Practising the psychometric tests you are likely to encounter will ensure that, come assessment day, you achieve the high scores that reflect both your ability and potential.
The main types of psychometric tests
Here at Practice Aptitude Tests, we have broken down the structure and content of the different types of psychometric tests commonly encountered in the recruitment process. Explore the detail of each by reviewing the list below, so you know exactly what to expect from each test type.
Numerical reasoning tests demonstrate your ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. The questions are not testing high-level ability, but your capacity to use simple mathematical concepts to analyse data and draw conclusions. They assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, number sequences, data interpretation, financial analysis and currency conversion.
Mechanical reasoning tests challenge your understanding and application of mechanical concepts. You will be required to deduce the elements at work in a particular scenario and answer a directly related question. Usually specific to the sector, they require an element of background knowledge and experience. Common topics include forces, energy, electrics and gears.
Made up of non-verbal content, logical reasoning tests assess your ability to interpret shapes, numbers and patterns. Candidates must identify the next figure in the sequence from a selection of possibilities. These tests commonly encompass elements from both diagrammatic and numerical reasoning assessments.
Verbal reasoning tests assess your comprehension and interpretation of written passages. A short excerpt of text is provided for review and candidates are then asked questions relating to its content. Typically, you will be presented with a series of statements that make certain inferences and tasked to deduce whether each statement is ‘True’, ‘False’, or if you ‘Cannot Say’.
Testing pure logical reasoning, diagrammatic tests involve the analysis of sequences of shapes and patterns. You will be required to identify the rule that governs the sequence to choose the next correct element from a provided selection or to correctly apply the rule to a new scenario.
Abstract reasoning tests measure your ability to deduce the relationships between shapes and within patterns. They do not require any numerical or verbal analysis, but test your logic and lateral thinking, alongside your accuracy and speed.
Spatial reasoning or awareness test is used to assess your ability to identify patterns, visualise movements and mentally manipulate 2D or 3D objects. Common questions include identifying which image is a rotation of a given shape and which net corresponds to a certain 3D image.
Situational Judgement Assessments
Situational judgement tests are used to assess how you would approach different practical situations that may arise in the workplace. Your response to a series of hypothetical scenarios helps employers to judge whether your behaviour and attitude align with company expectation and ethos.
An E-tray assessment involves a simulated email inbox in a particular scenario. With background information provided and in keeping with a given job role, you will be required to read and respond to the messages accordingly. These assessments provide an excellent insight into a candidate’s approach, manner and written communication skills.
What to expect when taking a psychometric test
Any type of psychometric test will require you to answer multiple-choice questions within a given time limit. Both test length and time provision will vary depending upon test type and provider.
As psychometric tests are an assessment of mental agility, you will need to be prepared to answer the questions rapidly without compromising accuracy.
If the number of questions seems overly ambitious in the given time, it may be that the test is intended to be ambitious. Focus on correctly answering the questions rapidly, but do not rush to finish the test.
It is common for multiple psychometric tests to be administered in the same session. For example, you may be required to sit a verbal reasoning test, followed by a numerical reasoning and a situational judgement assessment. Knowing as much as possible about the test structure beforehand will help you pin down the specifics of what to expect.
What are psychometric tests used for?
Psychometric tests are used by employers to assess a candidate’s traits, as well as their knowledge and skills. This allows employers to build a personal profile and see if it matches with the company’s culture and the role in particular. They also provide an overview of how the person might perform in the workplace. This all helps employers streamline the hiring process by finding the right candidates more quickly.
You can access HR Headhunting platform to conduct your psychometric test for potential candidates.