What Is a Psychometric Test and Why Do Employers Look at It?

Scholarship Guide meeting room interview

As companies are starting to place more importance on a social and cultural fit, psychometric tests are becoming more commonplace to help employers make an informed decision about a candidate’s suitability for a role within their organisation.

Psychometric tests may sound daunting but it’s merely a way of gathering information about the job applicant. Your responses will be assessed by an expert and the results handed over to your potential employer to compare with other candidate profiles.

Two Types of Psychometric Tests: Personality Tests & Ability Tests

These tests are typically categorised into 2 main groups: Personality Tests (such as the Myers-Briggs tool) and Ability Tests (that test you on logical and quantitative problems).

While the former has no right or wrong answers and measures characteristics for the job at hand, the latter has correct responses and judges you based on your problem-solving skills.

Personality tests are more relaxed and feel like a fun quiz. They help employers assess if you will fit into the company’s culture. On the other hand, ability tests are conducted like an academic exam with stipulated completion times that measure your mental aptitude – especially for jobs like IT or engineering.

Psychometric tests are commonly utilised at different stages of the selection process, for example:

  • You may be prompted a URL that takes you to the tests after submitting your online application.
  • You may be asked to do the test right before your interview.
  • Possibly at the second stage of interview, you may be asked to retake the test to confirm the results of the previous psychometric test

How to Ace the Ability Test?

  1. Practice makes perfect! There are many practice websites with various psychometric tests to try for free. Familiarise yourself with all the questionnaires and the various styles to avoid being tripped up by an unfamiliar format.
    This will help you improve on your timing and accuracy and pinpoint areas that need more concentration. You can also visit your University Career Services office to enquire about their practice tests. They may be able to advise you on the specific tests for the career you have chosen and how you can skew your sessions towards the enterprise. Although practice tests are common and can be easily found with a quick search, employers usually engage an expert to help them create a test for their enterprise—so they are bound to be unique.
  2. Start teasing your brain. Work on your lateral thinking to identify word or number patterns quicker. Start by brushing up on simple math like probability and ratios or train your brain to recognise number strains with brain teasers like Sudoku. Try doing the BODMAS rule (bet you haven’t heard that one in a while) all in your head – no cheating with a calculator.
  3. Read between the lines. When reading an article, think about what the implications of each sentence: Why was this word chosen instead of that? What is the writer’s intention when formulating the sentence?
  4. Be wary of commonly misspelt words. Do you know the difference between “you’re” and “your”? How about “recognize” and “recognise”? After the psychometric test, it is highly recommended that you obtain feedback from the accessor. It’s a chance for you to develop your skills and gain insight about your application, whether or not you have been offered the role.

The psychometric test is not the be-all and end-all of the selection process, so do not fret if you did not do well. Along with your experience, resume, and proven track record in the industry, and, of course, the actual interview – your potential employer will take all aspects into account before selecting an applicant.