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Using Feedback from a Psychometric Test

Using Feedback from a Psychometric Test

Our increasingly competitive job market has led to a growing number of applicants per vacancy. This means that even the strongest candidates are likely to face disappointment throughout the selection process. With this in mind, it is becoming ever more important for candidates to receive feedback on their performance so they know how they can improve for future assessments.

It is good practice for employers to give to candidates after they have taken a psychometric test or attended an assessment centre. This is the least they can do after the candidate has gone to the trouble of applying and preparing for their assessments. Unfortunately not all employers follow this practice because it takes them time and resource. Some organisations will provide feedback, either in the form of a written letter, over the telephone or during a face-to-face meeting. If you do receive feedback, it is vital that you use this opportunity wisely as it may be your key to future job success.

Recruiters using psychometric tests usually agree to be bound by the industry-standard guidelines set by the British Psychological Society, which encourages them to provide feedback to every candidate as a matter of principle.

Some helpful pointers when receiving feedback

Finding out that you haven’t been selected for a job is always difficult, so try and take a moment out for yourself before delving straight in to examining your performance. Try not to jump to the conclusion that you aren’t good enough for your dream job. Instead, try to take a more balanced view – might it mean that you just need to do more preparation next time?

It can be really helpful to know your individual score for each psychometric test you completed. Percentile scores are particularly useful as they indicate how your performance compared to other people who took the test and can help you to identify which tests were relative strengths and weaknesses for you. For example, you might find that you performed well on the verbal reasoning test but that you were let down by your numerical reasoning score and need to polish up on your basic maths skills for next time.  Whilst there can be no right or wrong answers on personality questionnaires, feedback can indicate if there are particular attributes you need to further develop in order to achieve a greater ‘fit’ with the organisation. For example, you might consider assertiveness or social skills training.

Finally, if employers want to discuss feedback with you directly, it is important to remember that this may be another part of their assessment of you. Take this as an opportunity to respectfully share your own views about your performance, to clarify the feedback and to ask for their advice on where they think you could improve and how.

Taking Psychometric Tests with a Hearing Impairment

How might a hearing impairment affect your performance?

People with hearing difficulties may be disadvantaged in job selection processes which use psychometric tests to identify the most able candidates. Hearing problems can impact test performance in many ways. For example, candidates may struggle to understand the verbal instructions which often accompany psychometric tests. Furthermore, people who have been without hearing from childhood and primarily use sign language may be less familiar with the English language and, therefore, particularly disadvantaged on tests requiring reading (e.g. verbal reasoning tests) and writing.

How can employers help?

In line with the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure candidates with hearing impairments are not disadvantaged by selection processes.  The British Psychological Society (BPS) has yet to develop specific guidelines for testing hearing impaired candidates; however, they outline some of the main considerations in their publication: Psychometric Testing for people with a hearing impairment (BPS, 2010). Here, the BPS recommends that employers:

  • Seek advice from test publishers in regard to what amendments can be made.
  • Make any adjustments on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs of the candidate.
  • Use sign language interpreters for giving instructions and facilitating the test environment but not for interpreting questions on written tests.
  • Provide written instructions if candidates are able to read.
  • Offer candidates practice questions, in order to anticipate potential test difficulties.

How can you help?

If you have a hearing impairment, it is vital that you inform the employer as far in advance as possible, so that they can make the necessary arrangements for you. Try and be specific about the nature of your hearing difficulty and what aids could help you. You might also like to familiarise yourself with the different types of psychometric tests you will be expected to take so that you can anticipate what adjustments would be most helpful to you.  At AssessmentDay you can download a range of practice tests, including verbal reasoning tests, numerical reasoning tests and inductive reasoning tests.

What is a Situational Judgement Test?

What do Situational Judgement Tests Involve?

There has been an increasing use of Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) within recruitment and selection processes over the last 15 years, particularly by large employers offering competitive graduate schemes.  Typically, SJTs are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions drawn from real-life job scenarios which have been designed by experts in the relevant field. Candidates are required to evaluate or rank different response options according to their effectiveness. SJTs are often combined with aptitude tests (e.g. numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and inductive reasoning), personality questionnaires and other job-simulation tasks (e.g. in-tray or e-tray exercises).

What do SJTs Show Employers?

SJTs are multi-dimensional, psychological assessment tools. Candidates’ responses are believed to reflect many different facets; such as their general knowledge, common-sense, previous life experience, decision-making and problem-solving skills. SJTs are also believed to tap non-cognitive skills, such as personality traits, professional attitudes and ethics.  Unlike aptitude tests, SJTs are said to provide employers with an insight into how candidates would function practically on the job.

Tackling your Situational Judgement Test

SJTs vary according to the specific job role and the competencies required for that position. Therefore, in preparing for the test it is useful to establish what core skills the recruiter is likely to be looking for and to have these in your mind when answering the questions.

Unlike aptitude tests, SJTs are rarely timed. Take advantage of this by ensuring that you read all the information carefully before answering, whilst being mindful not to spend too much time over-thinking each item.  Practicing these tests will enhance your familiarity with the SJT format and enable you to develop your own test technique. With this in mind, we at AssessmentDay have designed practice tests to help get you ready for your Situational Judgement Test.

Study Claims Link Between Facebook Profile and Job Performance

The aim of psychometric tests used in recruitment is to get a clearer understanding of someone and how they will perform in a job. Interviews are one way of predicting how well a potential employee might get on, but interviews are notoriously hit-and-miss and occasionally bordering on useless as a job performance indicator. Step up psychometrics: a more objective, fair, reliable measure of future job performance.

So it is with great interest that we heard about a study claiming to use people’s Facebook profile to build a personality profile of applicants. The study has been compiled by the Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University. The study used human resource professionals to analyse the Facebook profiles of 56 people.

The best way to build a personality profile is to ask the respondent a series of questions, with scales of how well they agree or disagree with each statement. This new study claims to be able to grade people on the ‘Big Five’ personality scale not through questionnaires but through looking at their Facebook profile for around 10 minutes. The personality factors measured are often referred to as: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Ten minutes? Facebook profile? Interesting idea but we’re back to bordering on useless. In fact, the results of any attempt to map a Facebook profile to someone’s Big Five personality traits might be worse than useless; they’re probably misleading. Careers and employment are issues to be taken seriously and are to be given thorough consideration on the part of both the employer and employee.

We welcome all attempts to predict future job performance of applicants, but this idea should remain in the ‘work in progress’ pile.

Seeking Feedback after Taking Psychometric Tests

Gaining feedback after you have completed psychometric tests can be extremely valuable when you are going through the job selection process. Whether you have been offered the position or not, it is always beneficial to know your strengths and weaknesses, particularly if you are looking to improve your performance on future assessments.  Some recruiters may write to you with your test results, or arrange an individual feedback session face-to-face or over the telephone. However, many organisations are unable to do this on account of time constraints. This can often be true of large graduate employers who deal with vast numbers of potential candidates and large volumes of test results.

Asking recruiters for feedback

It is always worth trying to get feedback from the employer by contacting them directly, via email or in writing. You may like to try requesting a written report of your test results. It is also good practice to enquire in advance about an employer’s feedback processes if you know you will be completing psychometric tests, and the employer should provide you with feedback as a matter of courtesy and good practice. Employers abiding by the British Psychological Society guidelines on psychometric testing (i.e. most employers) have agreed to provide feedback to candidates, so you are perfectly within your right to ask for it.

Evaluating your own performance

In the absence of feedback from the employer, you may need to rely on self-evaluation. In doing so, it is important that you think constructively about your performance across each of the psychometric tests you completed. Ask yourself what your strengths and your weakness were and what you might have done differently next time around. For example:

  • How was your pacing? Did you spend too much time on the early questions and compromise the latter ones?
  • Did you struggle to make sense of the symbols or diagrams used in the numerical reasoning test?
  • Were you familiar with the vocabulary used in the verbal reasoning test?
  • Was there anything that felt easier or more enjoyable? What tests do you not need as much practice on next time?

Your answers will give you some clues as to what you need to practice in advance of future assessments. But be warned – we are often our own worst critics, so use the self-evaluation approach with caution and be sure to always pick out the strengths in your performance.

Making The Assessment Centre Work For You

What happens at assessment centres?

Assessment centres involve the extensive evaluation of candidates for an extended period of time; sometimes lasting one or two days. During this period candidates undertake a range of exercises and activities which typically include: interviews, presentations, aptitude tests, personality tests, group-exercises, and in-tray exercises.

Graduate employers are increasingly using assessment centres as part of their selection process as it allows them to broadly assess the aptitude of their candidates, as well as their ability to thrive in real-life work situations. Furthermore, informal social events throughout the assessment day provide employers with an additional insight into the social and communicative skills of candidates.

Some top tips for the big day

Facing a one or two day barrage of assessments is likely to be an anxiety provoking prospect for any candidate. However, there are many things you can do to get yourself psychologically and practically prepared!

Firstly – try and find out from the organisation what kinds of test you will be doing. You may already be able to guess from the type of position you are applying to. Forewarned is forearmed!

Try and get lots of practice in – it will do wonders for your performance and will help you overcome some of the anxious thoughts and feelings that might otherwise cloud you on the big day. You might like to take a look at our pack of expert tips and real-life examples of assessment centre exercises, as well as our range of psychometric practice tests.

Finally – keep in mind that the assessment centre can be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your breadth of skills. So, if you don’t perform as you had hoped on one particular exercise, you may have the chance to make it up in another area!

Tackling the group exercise

What’s involved?

For many organisations, it is vital that their employees have the ability to communicate with others and to work well within teams. For this reason, employers regularly include some form of group exercise when inviting candidates to the assessment centre. This will often be in addition to individual assessments such as interviews, personality tests and aptitude tests (e.g. verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and inductive reasoning).

Group exercises can vary considerably and may include role plays, case studies, topical discussions and problem-solving tasks.  For example, you might be required to take part in a discussion about an issue relating to the organisation and be allocated a particular role to adopt (e.g. company director). Alternatively, you might be asked to solve a business or ethical dilemma, to plan a project within a given budget or to get creative and build a physical structure together as a team.

How should you approach it?

The range of different scenarios you could face may seem rather daunting, but rest assured, there are some key things you can do to ensure you succeed in any group exercise:

  • Be sure to communicate your ideas clearly, calmly and logically.
  • Always remember to actively listen to others in your group – this means attending carefully, summarising and clarifying their ideas.
  • Make sure your opinions are heard but also take the time to enable other’s to contribute – facilitation is a sophisticated and much sought after skill!
  • Go back to basics – remember the art of conversation: keep appropriate eye contact, take turns, try not to interrupt and never raise your voice.

Get more top tips

To get you ready for the big day, we have developed an extensive Assessment Centre candidate preparation pack which includes expert tips from the assessors themselves and real-life examples of group-exercises.

Visual Impairment and Taking Psychometric Tests

What is visual impairment and why does it cause difficulties?

Visual impairment refers to a wide spectrum of sight difficulties and can range from partial sightedness through to blindness. A visually impaired person is considered to have irretrievable loss or distortion of vision which may be improved but not easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

The highly visual nature of psychometric tests is likely to present a visually impaired candidate with difficulties. For example, they may struggle to read the instructions, see the test stimuli, scan text, switch focus and discriminate between different colours (colour blindness). As such, these candidates may be unfairly disadvantaged across a large majority of aptitude tests; including numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, as well as more real-life tasks, such as the in-tray exercise.

How can employers help?

Under the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure that their selection processes do not discriminate against persons who have significantly impaired vision.  The amendments that employers make to psychometric tests will largely depend on the tools and strategies that the candidate is already familiar with. Furthermore, employers must be careful not to make adjustments which invalidate the test. Examples of adjustments might include:

  • Using Braille in place of text
  • Transcribing tests into audio versions
  • Using assistants to read out text and record answers
  • Using larger fonts or magnification screens and devices

These amendments may lengthen response times and so candidates may need to be awarded extra time.

What do the psychometric testing guidelines say?

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has developed guidelines to advise those administering psychometric tests with people who are visually impaired:  Visual Impairment and Psychometric Testing (BPS, 2007). The BPS recommends that employers investigate the nature and severity of the visual impairment and consult with chartered psychologists or test publishers before making any test amendments.

Click here to read the full guidelines: Visual Impairment

Dyslexia and Psychometric Testing for Employers

Employers must be careful not to unlawfully discriminate using psychometric tests

The Disability Discrimination Act, which came into force in 1995, requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to ensure a fair selection process for potential candidates.  Given the growing popularity of aptitude tests within selection procedures, employers are expected to accommodate the needs of candidates whose test performance may be impacted by sensory impairments or other conditions.

People with dyslexia may be particularly disadvantaged by psychometric tests. Dyslexia is most commonly associated with impaired literacy skills; however, people may also present with difficulties in memory and speed of processing. As such, it is acknowledged that these candidates are at risk of performing poorly on psychometric tests if necessary amendments are not made, particularly on literacy-based tests (e.g. verbal reasoning tests).  The inherent danger is that candidates with dyslexia will not be given the opportunity to demonstrate their true abilities, and therefore, their suitability for the vacant position.

What do the psychometric testing guidelines say?

With this in mind, the British Psychology Society (BPS) has developed guidelines to advise those administering psychometric tests to people with dyslexia: Dyslexia and Occupational Testing (BPS, 2006). This document recommends that employers:

  • Provide all candidates with the opportunity to discuss difficulties that might impact on their test performance.
  • Ask candidates with dyslexia about the specific nature and severity of their difficulties.
  • Consider making necessary amendments which are specific to the individual needs of the candidate, e.g. additional time.
  • Consult with a chartered psychologist or with the test publishers to discuss potential amendments which will not invalidate the test.
  • Consider alternative methods of assessing the same skill, e.g. real-life work situations.

Click on the link to read the BPS guidelines in full: Dyslexia and Occupational Testing.

Dyslexia and Taking Psychometric Tests

Why might dyslexia cause you difficulties?

Dyslexia can cause difficulties in reading, writing and spelling. It has also been associated with impairments in working memory, processing speed, perception and motor skills.  These skills and functions are called upon when potential employees are asked to complete aptitude tests as part of the recruitment process.  It is possible then that candidates with dyslexia are somewhat disadvantaged in this process, particularly when undertaking literacy-based psychometric tests (e.g. verbal reasoning and verbal comprehension tests).

How can you help the employer help you?

In line with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, employers are aware of their legal responsibility to select candidates through a fair and non-discriminatory system.  However, as a candidate, there are a number of steps you can take to help your potential employers make the necessary amendments.

Firstly, it is important to inform the organisation as soon as possible that you have dyslexia. They may want to ask you further details on your diagnosis and the severity of your difficulties. It is commonly understood that dyslexia affects each individual differently and so it is likely that your potential employers will want to know the specific impact on you and your test performance. It may also be useful to inform them about adjustments made for you during previous test or exam situations (e.g. increased time allowance or the use of a scribe).

What next?

Finally, it can be beneficial to familiarise yourself with the types of aptitude tests you will be expected to complete. At AssessmentDay, we have a range of practice papers that will enable you to experience different kinds of psychometric tests; including verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and inductive reasoning. This will allow both you to anticipate what, if any, difficulties you may encounter on the assessment day and will give you a great opportunity to practice your skills.

What is a Psychometric Test?

The interview process is all about competition. Anyone who wishes to succeed in an interview needs to ensure that they are prepared for all eventualities. While competition for jobs is tougher than it has ever been, there is help out there, and practising psychometric tests is a great way to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.

With unemployment rates still high, the job market is a tough one. Employees now have a huge pool of workers to choose from, and so they have tended to make the interview process tougher than it perhaps has been. This is an understandable strategy, and of course potential employers want to fill their vacancies with the best possible candidates.

Many employees now utilize psychometric tests to make the interview process more rigorous. These tests can take many forms, however they have a single purpose: to identify the best candidates through quantifiable means.

Unlike other parts of the interview process, which may involve a subjective assessment of one’s character etc, an aptitude test looks to measure ‘aptitude’ by clearly definable means. There is no short-cut to succeeding with an aptitude test therefore, and no amount of blag that will see you through the assessment.

Instead, just like a traditional exam, you will only succeed at psychometric tests if you are prepared to practise, practise, practise. While the tests are defined to test your natural abilities, a familiarity with the tests with give you a huge advantage, and on the assessment day you will be ready for any eventuality.

Understanding Psychometric Testing

When most jobseekers find out that there will be some kind of aptitude test as part of their interview, they often believe that it will be a type of exam which will result in instant rejection if failed. However, this is not entirely accurate. Essentially, nearly every type of occupational psychometric test is used as a tool to help employers further understand a job candidate’s abilities. Psychometric testing is not used exclusively to make recruitment decisions, rather it is used in combination with other elements like CVs, application forms and interviews to help construct a more detailed profile of a candidate.

In essence, the two main areas of occupational psychometric testing involve the assessment of typical performance and maximum performance:

Typical performance

Typical performance tests assess areas such as personality, values and motivation. This type of psychometric test is normally used to discover whether an individual has a genuine interest in a job vacancy and how compatible their personality would be to the existing team. A typical performance test will generally have no right or wrong answers and include no time limit.

Maximum performance

Maximum performance tests are used to assess a candidate’s verbal, numerical and general reasoning abilities. This type of aptitude test can help employers to ascertain whether an individual has the specific occupational skills needed for a role. Therefore, test questions will have right and wrong answers, and there will also be a time limit.

Contact us here at Assesment Day Ltd for more information about psychometric testing.

Psychometric Testing and Recruitment

Psychometric testing is now widely used by many companies to help them assess how suitable a job-seeking candidate may be for a particular vacancy. There are a number of different tests which can be used to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of a candidate’s character. The results of these tests, along with other factors, can provide an accurate profile of each candidate, and so help employers to determine how suitable they may be.

A psychometric test is usually performed at the start of a recruitment process, as it can be a very effective way of determining suitability and compatibility early on. However, there are still plenty of companies who prefer to go through the traditional interview process first and then use a aptitude test to confirm their own findings at a later stage. It is worth remembering that psychometric tests typically only account for one part of a candidate’s interview and so do not constitute a “pass” or “fail” all by themselves.

Although the thought of having to take a psychometric test or aptitude test may seem daunting to some job-seekers, being adequately prepared can help. Online practice tests are now available to help jobseekers familiarise themselves with the types of tests which they may have to face. These practice tests can really help to increase confidence as many companies now run their tests on computers too.

Ensure you are prepared for your interview by taking some of our online psychometric tests here at Assessment Day Ltd.

Why employers use online psychometric tests

The jobs market has never been tougher and employers are seeking increasingly efficient ways to sort through the applications they read. Indeed, there have even been reports recently of some organisations having to randomly discard certain candidates without assessing their skills and experience simply because they do not have time to wade through the mountain of information facing them.

This is a clear indication of the pressures facing firms these days. With this in mind, it is no surprise that many now use online psychometric tests as a means of whittling down the jobseekers who have applied for positions.

An aptitude test is a fast and efficient way of determining the level of ability candidates have. Once enterprises have completed these assessments, they can then move on with the process of appraising the remaining applicants, all of whom have reached a necessary minimum standard.

And as time passes, online psychometric tests become increasingly sophisticated, allowing employers to glean ever more detailed and accurate information about those looking for work with them.

So, if you are seeking a job at present, it may be a good idea for you to prepare in case you face an aptitude test. After all, these assessments show no sign of fading in popularity – in fact quite the opposite.

The good news is that by using resources such as those provided by us here at AssessmentDay, you can get a great idea of what to expect and run through similar tests in readiness for the real thing.

Practise makes perfect with verbal reasoning tests

These days, there are many forms of aptitude test in operation. Indeed, firms are increasingly using such means of assessment as a way to differentiate between candidates at various stages of the job seeking process.

One of the most common forms of the psychometric test is verbal reasoning. This is no surprise given the importance of such abilities in many jobs. You might at first think it is easy to sail through such challenges. After all, you are likely to use verbal reasoning in your everyday life on a frequent basis.

However, it is not quite as simple as this. When you combine the pressure of the aptitude test scenario with the crafty way in which some of the questions are worded, it can be harder than you think to perform well in such situations.

This is why it is so important to get plenty of practise in before you are thrust into these high-pressure situations. By familiarising yourself with the format of the assessments and making sure you are able to get through them within the specified time limits, you can significantly enhance your chances of success.

In general, verbal reasoning tests take the form of a written passage and a number of questions based on this with the options of true, false or cannot say.

By running through tests like this, you can avoid making unnecessary mistakes when the big day arrives. Therefore, it might well be worth your while investing in some sample assessments.

Regardless of the type of psychometric test you are going to take for your job application, we should have the perfect trial versions here at AssessmentDay.

Resist the urge to cheat online psychometric tests

You might well be an honest and straightforward person in most scenarios in life, but there may have been occasions when you are wondered whether or not you could get away with cheating when it comes to online psychometric tests.

In many ways you can’t be blamed for considering such tactics. After all, the jobs market is extremely competitive these days and anything you can do to get ahead may be worth investigating.

However, the simple truth is that being dishonest when it comes to an aptitude test of this nature does not pay off in the end. While the initial assessment may be conducted remotely, firms often look to substantiate their findings with further tests that take place under supervision.

So, if the only reason you made it through to this round is because you cheated on your online psychometric tests, either by enlisting the help of others or using resources that were disallowed, you stand to waste not only your time, but also that of the organisation recruiting.

A far better approach when it comes to an aptitude test is to engage in effective preparation. For example, by using the resources available here at AssessmentDay, you can get a heads-up on what to expect and practise going through the answers yourself.

Such an approach will stand up to any amount of scrutiny later on because it is honest and perfectly acceptable. To find out more about how we may be able to help, simply have a look around the rest of our site.