The Complete Guide To Passing Your Next Psychometric Test

Typically, the first step of any candidate interview process is a Psychometric Test that has been designed to give an idea of on the job performance using online assessments while testing specific areas that are relevant to the role. Psychometric testing is used as a great way to reduce a huge-list of candidates to a more manageable number that can be interviewed.


A great example where Psychometric testing is used is with graduate programs. At top bank or technology company will quickly get more than 250,000 graduate applications. Statistics over the years show that 40% of these will have the minimum requirements, a 2:1 or a 1st degree, but this still leaves over 100,000 candidates.

Where are Psychometric tests used? Very simply, you take your favourite Aptitude/Personality test and give it to each of those 100K candidates. Based on a set criteria that you’ve developed over the years, you interview the candidates that meet that criteria.

Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. The ancient Chinese used the ability test’s to assess the abilities of civil service workers. More recently it’s been introduced into mainstream hiring after eminent occupational psychologists Peter Saville, and Roger Holdsworth correlated the results of psychometric testing, with on the job performance, and found a moderate correlation between high performance on these tests, and high performance at work.

It’s worth noting at this stage that just because you scored highly in psychometric testing, does not mean that you are guaranteed to be successful in the role, but it does serve to provide a good indication.

How Psychometric Test’s Work

Psychometric Tests are designed to assess your intellectual performance. They consist of multiple-choice questions on a range of different subjects that the hiring manager wants to evaluate candidates.

As an example, if you’re applying for a Graduate Finance program, the hiring manager wants to know the level of your maths skills. As a consequence, you’ll be given an assessment that focuses heavily on maths, and your results compare against a peer group of thousands of candidates giving a good idea of where this candidate stands against the competition.

Scores are provided in percentiles, i.e. candidate A is in the 60th Percentile, meaning that they are more suited to the role than 60% of candidates. If the Psychometric testing is being used to screen candidates, a minimum percentile will be set at 40%.

Types of Psychometric Tests

Typically, there are two fundamental types you need to be aware of – Aptitude and Personality Tests.

  • Aptitude Testing’s – there are three primary test’s you’ll get here – Numerical that focuses on maths, Verbal that focuses on language and Abstract that concentrates on your logical thinking.
  • Personality Tests – are typically a series of questionnaire type questions that try to analyse your behaviour and how you might react in a specific situation in the workplace.

Types Of Aptitude Testing

While there are many different types of psychometric test’s across the market. Generally, they follow the same format and consist of four different areas of focus, as follows;

  • Numerical Reasoning focuses on mathematical calculations and making a decision using statistical data.
  • Verbal Reasoning focuses on the words and the relationship between words and meanings.
  • Logical Reasoning that concentrates on your logical reasoning ability to work with a process and make logical decisions.

Below I have tried to give more details and examples of these psychometric tests.

Numerical Reasoning

This part of the assessment focuses on your mathematical skills and how to make decisions based on those mathematical skills. If you’re applying for a position that requires working with number and numerical information, the hiring manager will likely choose a numerical reasoning test to weed out those who don’t have the necessary mathematical requirements for the role.

Numerical Reasoning is not difficult but does require you have GCSE knowledge of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Percentages and Ratios. The hard part is trying to work out the calculations and therefore answer the question in the short period of time you have. You will be allowed to use your calculator, but of the maths is basic and easy to work out in your head. As an example there are two questions below;

Practice as much as you can. Make sure you review the free and paid assessments on the following sites;


Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to assess how well a candidate understands a paragraph of text. Usually, there will be a paragraph of text approximately 250 words long and a few statements that you will be, or may not, be able to understand whether they are true or not, based the on the text.

To pass a verbal reasoning test, you need to make sure you practice as many questions as possible before your test. Many candidates struggle with an oral reason test as to answer the question correctly, and you need think both critically and logically while deciding whether the question is true, false, or whether you cannot say.

Often the question is very ambiguous and confusing to decide on the right answer. In this situation, it’s easier to knock the wrong answers leaving the correct answer left over.

As an example, there are two questions below
Test Examples (Use this example)

Abstract/Logical Reasoning Tests

Abstract or Logical Reasoning Tests are designed to measure your lateral thinking. The speed at which you can identify patterns, logical rules and data trends could show a hiring manager how capable you are at learning new skills or thinking logically about problems.

The tests will typically show you a sequence of patterns and either to ask you for the odd one out or possibly the next in the series. Candidates usually find abstract reasoning tests challenging as they don’t often make sense until you understand how they work.

You must make sure you practice example questions before you start your assessment as the first step is to review shapes, colours, rotations and object movements before you try to understand the pattern.
Remember, the key to answering the question is to understand the technique behind the assessment.

Types Of Personality Test’s

Work Scenario Tests – aim to understand how a candidate is likely to behave in a specific situation. They are used as an interview discussion tool, rather than a scored assessment. Work Scenario Tests are a series of questions that ask candidates to rate themselves in a series of questions. The questions have been designed to test skills that are needed for their day-to-day work and then compare their results against a group of peer candidates with similar education, skills and knowledge.

If I candidate scores high in one specific area, it’s because they think they are good in that area. As an example, if a candidate scores highly in leadership, it’s they feel they are great at being a leader, not that they are an actual leader.

This can, therefore, become an interview tool where the hiring manager can probe deeper into the candidate’s leadership skills using competency-based questions to understand exactly why the candidate feels they are such a good leader.

Motivation Tests – These tests aim to understand what is likely to drive or motivate an individual. Understanding what motivates someone is particularly useful for understanding whether they are going to find the culture and expectations of the organisation agreeable, and in establishing whether they are likely to focus effectively on the priorities of the role.

Personality Tests – as the name suggests, personality assessments test candidates personality on a range of factors from agreeableness to openness and emotional stability to imagination. Each factor tested is represented by a series of questions which you indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement.

As an example, the statement could, “I make friend easily”, with the answers being a range from Agree-Strongly to Disagree strongly. This would be a personality trait question to understand whether you’re more an introvert or an extrovert. If you scored closer to the extrovert side of the scale, it could show that you like conversations, small-talk and working groups and therefore would be better suited to a career in sales for example where you could use these skills.

On the same token, if you’ve scored closer to the extrovert side of the scale and therefore prefer solitude and working on your own, possibly a career in sales where building rapport with your clients is very important, might not be the right career for you.

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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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