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Types of psychometric assessments

Psychometric assessments generally fall into two categories:

1. Aptitude or ability tests

These aim to measure your competence and intellectual capabilities as well as your logical and analytical reasoning abilities in a very specific area. They aim to assess your abilities to use specific job related skills and to predict subsequent job performance.

The most commonly used tests assess verbal and numerical logical reasoning skills:

Verbal reasoning - Although these tests may appear in different formats, verbal reasoning typically involves reading a passage of text and then selecting the most appropriate of perhaps four or five answers.

Alternatively, you may be asked to fill in blank spaces in a sentence with a given choice of words.

Numerical reasoning - Again, although these tests may appear in different formats, you may typically be asked questions relating to information provided in the form of statistical charts, or you may be required to calculate the answers to various problems.

Other tests - There are a number of other tests which may be used in graduate recruitment which are specific to the company or the job on offer. An example of this is in the field of computer programming and IT where employers may often use a diagrammatic reasoning test.

Aptitude tests are very often paper and pencil exercises (although they are sometimes computer-based) and are generally time-limited. Your results are measured against those of others who have taken the test in the past in order to make a comparable assessment of your level of ability.

2. Personality and occupational questionnaires

These explore:

  • the way in which you do things,
  • how you behave in certain circumstances,
  • your preferences and attitudes.

In recruitment they are often used to see if you would suit a particular work environment and can be used to assess aspects of your individual behaviour, attitudes and opinions, as well as your motivation, interests and values. Your results may then be compared to the characteristics considered essential for the job on offer. They are usually paper-based questionnaires where a profile is drawn from your responses to a number of questions or statements, focussing on a variety of personality factors.

Another type of personality questionnaire involves exploring your interests and values and these are designed to help you clarify what fields of work interest you and are not normally used for selection purposes. They can, however, provide a useful starting point for people who are unsure about the type of work they might want to do.

For all types of personality questionnaires there are no right and wrong answers.