Psychometric Testing Preparation

Candidate Information

Here is some information to help you prepare for psychometric testing. You will find this section useful if you have been asked to undertake some psychometric assessments, personality assessments or cognitive reasoning assessments. You will find answers to some FAQs, links to some practice questions, and general information about how your psychometric assessment results are used.

Psychometric assessments are often used by organisations and recruiters as one part of a selection process, or to help inform staff development initiatives. They provide information about your operating style, interests and abilities, and the types of roles you are most suited to. Psychometric assessments only provide one part of a picture, and as such they are considered alongside interviews, referee checks, and previous experience. Psychometric assessments are validated and well researched tools, and paired with other performance information forms accurate indicators of future job performance and potential. Psychometric assessments help improve selection processes and are valuable in identifying future career and leadership development opportunities.
Psychometric assessments allow you to show off the qualities and abilities that you possess. They help to inform employers about your style and interests even if you have not had a chance to demonstrate these through experience. Psychometric assessments within a selection process helps to ensure everybody is on an equal footing and has an equal opportunity to do well. Testing may also help you understand the requirements of the position you are interested in and provide a chance for you to learn more about yourself and your personality. On completion of your assessments, an organisational psychologist will give you verbal feedback about your strengths, development areas and results on any ability assessments. This information can help you to understand roles you are best suited for, the key contributions you are likely to make and where there is room for you to grow or develop.
People often ask “what do psychometric assessments measure?” Psychometric assessment reveals information about an individual that can help predict the type of behavior a person is expected to exhibit in future roles. There are three broad types of psychometric assessments used within a work context:

• Personality Assessments: these assessments are aimed at discovering your personal preferences, strengths, and ‘flipsides’. Personality preferences can indicate the type of job a candidate should enjoy and be well suited to. Most preferences have both a ‘strength’ and a ‘flipside’ (or reverse). For example, if you like focusing on details, you might be well suited for work that requires close attention to detail like accounting or air traffic control. The flipside is that someone who has a preference for high attention to detail may be less comfortable when it comes to adapting or shifting quickly between different tasks.

• Motivation / Values Assessments: these assessments measure an individual’s values and beliefs. Or to put it another way – the underlying interests a person has which drives them to act in a certain way. For example, a person who values being charitable and helping others may feel demotivated working in a commercial environment where the sole focus is making money. These assessments can help predict the type of organisational culture and career an individual will most enjoy.

• Abilities/Aptitudes: these tests are designed to measure potential. While the skills required for jobs are often too varied to build specific tests around, we use more narrow measures, namely abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning to make inferences about a candidate’s likely potential in a role. For example, a candidate who does well on a verbal reasoning assessment is likely to draw accurate conclusions when it comes to reading through written material on the job.

You cannot fail personality assessments as there are no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers, and no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ personalities. Instead, personality assessment results are used to describe your preferred style and behavioural preferences.

With ability assessments, on the other hand, there is only one correct answer to each question. However, it is not like school or university where you pass or fail. Instead, your result is reported against a comparison group depending on the level of role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a managerial role your result may read like this – “On the numerical reasoning assessment, you scored better than 46% of people in a managerial norm group. This result suggests that you should be as able as most people in this comparison group when it comes to undertaking numerical calculations and correctly interpreting numerical information.

You do not need to prepare for personality or motivational assessments as there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to these. However, if you are taking an ability assessment, you may want to look over and practice some similar ability assessments. The following test publishers provide free online practice assessments: PFS, SHL, Saville or OPRA.

Please note the practice questions contained in these links may vary from the ability assessments you will be undertaking. The practice assessments may be in a different format and at a different difficulty level. So you may not improve your actual abilities by undertaking these practice assessments, however, they are likely to improve your test taking abilities (i.e., being able to answer a number of questions under a time restraint). You will also have the opportunity to complete some practice questions before moving into the graded component of any ability assessments.

There are also some preparation tactics you can do to ready yourself for specific assessments. For example, if you are set to undertake a numerical reasoning assessment, it would be useful to review some basic mathematical rules (i.e. speed = distance / time), to undertake some mental arithmetic and ensure you are comfortable using a calculator. Or if you are undertaking a verbal reasoning assessment you may like to brush up on your comprehension, read widely, look up the meaning of any words you are unfamiliar with and pause to check your understanding after reading statements or text.

It is quite normal to feel some nerves before taking assessments. Try to remain calm and know that the assessments are only one part of the picture. Assessment information is used to verify the other information gleaned during the selection process (i.e., from your CV, interview, referee checks and at times any previous performance information). We encourage you to eat well and get a good night’s sleep before undertaking the assessments. If you are ill or not feeling your best, please be sure to inform us so that we may reschedule your testing or appointment.

When you are ready to undertake your assessments make sure you have some paper, pens, a calculator (if you have been asked to supply one) and reading glasses (if you require these) with you. Ensure you have blocked out enough time to undertake the testing and have a quiet and interruption free space.
Remember, a number of ability assessments are timed. If you are undertaking timed assessments, you should roughly calculate how much time you can spend on each question. Most often, on timed assessments, it is advisable to have a ‘best guess’ if you are feeling stuck on a question, rather than considering a question for longer than needed. Other ability assessments are untimed. For untimed assessments, you be told how long they generally take to complete. However, this time does vary from one individual to the next, so ensure you have allocated some additional time for the assessment and have not scheduled in a back-to-back appointment.

For personality and motivational assessments, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. Ensure you understand the directions and read the questions carefully. We encourage you to not spend too much time thinking about a question, but instead to use your ‘gut feel’ or go with the option that first comes into your head. Also, try not to answer in a way you feel will appease the hiring manager as many personality assessments include measures to identify those who attempt to do this. This approach can also result in inconsistent assessment findings, where a person’s described style does not match with the information gleaned through the other components of the selection process (i.e., interview, CV, referee checks). Also, when completing personality assessments, you may feel questions are very similar to questions you have already answered. Try to deal with each question as it is presented rather than feeling the need to answer these questions in the same way.

While we encourage you to complete all of your assessments in one sitting, we understand this is not always possible. Therefore, you are able to complete one assessment and then come back at a later time to complete additional assessments.

You will first be informed that you are required to undertake a psychometric assessment battery by the organisation you have applied for or by a recruiter. We will then be in touch with you to provide more information about the assessments and to arrange your testing. Often you will receive an email which provides your login details for completing the assessments in your own time. On other occasions, you will be invited in to complete the assessments on a set day. After you have completed the assessments and the results have been processed, we will be in touch to provide you with verbal feedback on all the assessments. At this point, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts on the results, and if necessary to provide any additional comments or context for consideration. If the assessments have been conducted for recruiting or selection purposes, your results will then be compiled into a report and provided to the hiring manager or panel. Alongside the report, the hiring manager or panel will also receive verbal feedback from an organisational psychologist. The information provided from the psychometric assessments will then be considered alongside the other components of the selection process, and often the findings are explored further during referee checks or in a subsequent interview. The organisation then looks at all the information they have about you from the recruitment process and makes a selection decision. Eagar People does not advise organisations or recruiters whether or not they should employ someone. If you undertook assessments for leadership or career development purposes, your results will never be disclosed to the organisation you work for without your consent.

The psychometric assessment report provided to an organisation or recruiter for recruitment purposes is deemed to be “evaluative material” and therefore you cannot have access to this under section 50(2) of the Privacy Act (2020). However, you are entitled to know how you went, what your results mean, and to be able to share your views on the psychometric assessment results. Therefore, you will always receive comprehensive verbal feedback on your assessment results from an Organisational Psychologist. During this session, you will receive feedback on your reported personality preferences, key strength areas, development areas and the results of any ability assessments you undertook. During the feedback session, you will be able to share your opinion about the assessment results and provide any further comment or context relevant to the findings. The session can also be useful in helping determine roles that you are well suited to or areas where you may want to focus your developmental efforts.

If you choose, then after a selection process is complete, you can get back in touch with us and purchase a feedback report for $100 plus GST. However, please note this report is of a general nature and not specific to the role you are being considered for. Over and above the verbal session with the Organisational Psychologist, a number of people find this report useful in understanding their personal style, strengths, and developmental areas.

This depends on a range of factors, including – the length of time since you undertook the assessments, whether the previous assessments are relevant to the role you are now applying for now, which organisation put you through the assessments, etc. Please contact us to find out if your previous assessment results can be used for this application.

Are you undertaking psychometric assessments with Eagar People and still have some questions?