INTERVIEWS / JUN. 01, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Prepare for Interview Tests

interview test

When applying for a new job, you'll find that most companies will give you psychometric tests in order to assess your logic, your ability to reason, your intelligence, and both your numerical and verbal abilities. These tests are a very important part of the application process, but there's no need to dread them.

The psychometric tests are nowhere near as tough as many of the tests you took in school, but they are simply used to help employers find the right person. If you want to prepare for the interview tests, you'll find they're pretty easy to study for.

Why Testing?

If you are an employer trying to hire a new person to work in your company, your goal is to find the most capable, qualified person for the job. You can only get to know the person so much in a verbal interview, and the only way to really understand the way a person's mind works is by testing their mental abilities.

A psychometric test helps to narrow down the field. Employers usually know what they're looking for, and these tests make it easier to weed out the people who just don't have what it takes to be a part of their company.

Psychometric Tests

A psychometric test is usually filled with multiple-choice questions, so they're pretty easy to complete. The tests are designed to measure multiple specific skills, and there are two types of psychometric tests:

Skill Tests -- These tests are designed to examine your particular set of skills, both general skills and specific skills that the company is looking for. An ability test assesses:

  • Numerical skills (math problems)
  • Logical skills (simple visual problems)
  • Verbal reasoning (word problems to solve for "true or false")
  • Your ability to identify mistakes (simple visual problems)

An aptitude test takes a look at your ability to learn new things, or how well you handle new challenges.

Find sample skill tests here...

Personality tests -- These tests look at the things that motivate you, the way you handle problems, your attitude, and how you go about your work.

You'll be given statements like:

  • "I enjoy making detailed plans."
  • "My goals in life are clear."
  • "I am confident in what I do."
  • "I am ambitious."

You will be asked to rate these statements from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree". The tests are meant to help interviewers understand a bit more about you.

There is no "wrong" answer, but you're supposed to answer these honestly.

Find sample personality tests here...

The skills tests are timed, but the personality tests are not. You want to finish quickly before the time runs out, but you don't want to go so fast that you make mistakes. Be thorough with each question, and make sure to answer it correctly. The tests also measure how well you perform under pressure, and having to answer a lot of questions in a short amount of time is part of that pressure.

Practice Tests

Want to practice for the psychometric tests before you apply for the job?

  • Check with your school's guidance counselor, or visit your nearest career services office.
  • When you are invited to take the psychometric test, a number of practice questions may be provided. Answer those to get an idea of what to expect.
  • Go online and search for practice test sites. These are a few good ones:  TestPartnership,  SHL Direct, Psychometric SuccessJob Test Prep.

The tests aren't as hard as you might think, so just take your time to answer them honestly and you'll do great!

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