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You made it to the shortlisting round for your dream job, and you pass with flying colours.  You get another phone call from the HR Manager saying you have progressed to the next round.  “HOORAY”!  Don’t hold your breath because here comes the psychometric test — a series of questions or statements designed to measure your personality characteristics or cognitive abilities.

The biggest tip from the experts – “Best be honest — trying to game the test is a “silly” move, says Peter Wilson.  He is the President and Chair of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), which represents about 20,000 HR professionals.  To present yourself in a test “as you would like to be seen, rather than as you actually are … you will be found out”, Peter Wilson stated.  Within the test, scores account for consistency and if you lie, the formulas will soon pick it up.

 There is also a warning – it’s not necessarily the honest answer that is the correct one or the one that gets you the job.  You must be able to portray yourself in the best possible way while still being true to your values.

Mr Wilson also stated that “while tests are typically long and complex, and ‘infuriating to fill out. Given that 20% of external hires fail — each time costing companies up to two years’ salary — the tests are hugely useful.  In the public, private and not-for-profit sector, most medium to large firms are using some form of psychometric testing”.

And while you cannot beat them, having a better understanding of what they do, could help you in the future.

Organisational psychologist Amanda Imber describes psychometric tests as “A scientifically validated way of assessing certain competencies and mental capabilities, and even working styles. The Waves Styles Personality Questionnaire is so good at predicting people’s behaviour. We joke it acts like a clairvoyant. We use it right at the pointy end of the recruitment process, when we are down to, say, a pool of three or four people from, say, an initial pool of 100 applicants.  For us it’s another piece of the puzzle in assembling the recruitment jigsaw”, Imber stated (abc.net.au/news).  

Importantly, the test will never replace the traditional recruitment processes such as a face-to-face interview.  If you have not used a psychometric test before, you can practice and familiarise yourself with the type of questions, and with sample assessments.  Studies have shown that people can improve up to 30% of their scores.”

I undertake personality profiling to enhance an clients’ self-awareness and self-understanding and they can be accurately scary!  Certain tests will give us a better awareness of ourselves and insight about how we can relate to others.  In my opinion, a psychometric test should co-exist with multiple interviews, rigorous resumé assessments and reference checking.  

In summary, the personality test assesses your personality and behavioural style through a self-report personality questionnaire, as they relate to the job and workplace environment.  The personality test asks you relevant questions, which you need to answer by selecting a response from a scale of pre-set answers.  Based on your responses a personality profile is developed.  This profile can be either desirable or undesirable based on its ‘fit’ with the position requirements.

You should expect to take around 30 to 45 minutes to complete a standard personality test.  Most personality tests are designed in a way that also enables employers to learn whether you were ‘honest’ in your response.  There is a myriad of tests that shortlisted candidates can undertake.  They can include:

  • Hogan, DISC, MBTI, Numerical, Verbal, Conceptual, Aptitude and Logical Testing, IQ, Mechanical and Spatial Reasoning

The level of difficulty and complexity of aptitude test questions depends on the industry, function and job level of the position you are applying for.  My final tip is to be yourself and don’t try to pretend to be the perfect candidate.  If you are not the right person, it’s not your job to land.   To learn more and practice testing – Click Here