Psychometric & aptitude tests

Psychometric, or online testing, is an important component of the selection process. Psychometric testing refers to the process of measuring a candidate's relevant strengths, development areas and preferences.

They may include:

  • Cogitative ability tests (abstract, verbal, numerical reasoning)
  • Mechanical reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Emotional intelligence.

Employers often use psychometric testing as an initial screening at the start of the selection process. Large numbers of applicants can be screened out of the process by setting cut off scores relevant to the skill required.

Personality tests

Tests related to emotional intelligence are best approached by answering honestly and instinctively. There is no benefit in trying to second guess what the employer is looking for, as you may end up working in a role that is unsuitable for you. These assessments can't really be considered 'tests' because there is no right or wrong personality. Further, because personality is said to be stable over time, you can't really prepare for these assessments.

The outcome of a personality test can give an indication of how you might respond in particular situations. Therefore, employers may use personality inventories as a basis for further conversation about your suitability for a professional role.

Personality inventories may also be used as part of an ongoing individual professional development plan. In this sense, it's best to answer questions honestly without giving them too much thought about how you might come across, even though some tests allow you to influence the outcome relatively easily.

Aptitude tests

These tests assess your cognitive abilities, usually in the form of numerical, verbal and / or abstract reasoning tests. They are designed to inform the employer about the extent of various skills you possess. Because your skills improve with increased practice, you can prepare for these tests; however, it is unlikely that you can improve your cognitive ability significantly within the (relatively) short period of time of the application process. You can prepare, though by practicing examples, so you know what types of questions to expect.