Note: AssessmentDay and its products are not affiliated with SHL or Gartner. Our practice tests are intended only for candidate preparation, not for employee selection.
SHL Situational judgement tests and how they work
Situational judgement tests, (commonly referred to as SJTs) are assessment tools used by SHL to test a candidate’s decision making ability. These tests are most likely to be encountered for roles which require analytical thinking and effective decision making, such as management consulting and law, however they are actually an effective tool for all roles. SHL situational judgement test are used across the board and are particularly common for graduate level positions.
The questions in SHL's SJTs will be relevant to the workplace, and will attempt to simulate important decisions that get made in organisations, and require effective decision making. These tests may be paper and pencil, but are more likely to be performed online. Typically situational judgement tests will contain between 30-50 questions, and will not have a time limit. Candidates will be provided with a workplace scenario and a list of typically four possible answers. Candidates may be asked to select the most appropriate answer for the scenario, or they will be asked to rank them in order of how appropriate they are to the scenario.
Prepare for SHL tests
Our practice test packs are suitable for preparing for SHL tests. Our practice tests come with solutions included.
What situational judgement tests assess
SHL situational judgement tests mainly assess a candidate’s ability to make correct and appropriate decisions in workplace situations. The scenarios in these tests may include disputes with co-workers/clients, sales scenarios or organisational issues in order to simulate a realistic work dilemma. Typical skills assessed in SHL situational judgement tests include:
- Negotiating and influencing skills
- Critical reasoning skills
- Drive and motivation to achieve
- Planning and organisation
- Analytical ability
- Interpersonal skills
Due to the relevance of these questions in the workplace, recruiters will use this information to predict how that candidate would perform in that role, in that scenario in reality. Therefore this task is a useful tool for recruiters and employing organisations. Depending on the role, the questions in the test may vary considerably, and candidates can expect to answer questions on a variety of different scenarios, which may or may not be directly relevant to the role itself.
What you should know before taking an SHL situational judgement test
Candidates must remember that the weighting a situational judgement test has on selection decisions will vary depending on when the test is administered. If a situational judgement test is given to candidates at the beginning of the recruitment process, it means that the test is being used as a screening tool, and candidates who perform poorly on this test are likely to be screened out of the process early on.
However if the test is used at later stages of the recruitment process, at assessment centre stage for example, then these test results will be used in conjunction with many other exercises, and will not be the sole decider of the selection decision. Situational judgement tests do not officially require any prior knowledge to complete, and employers will not ask you to study any materials beforehand. However preparation beforehand can ensure that you understand the difference between an effective, and an ineffective decision.
Situational judgement test advice
Here are some practical tips to help you succeed in your situational judgement test and ensure top performance:
- 1. Time limits: Situational judgement tests will often not require a time limit. This is a significant advantage for the candidate as it allows candidates to take their time and properly think over their answers. Candidates are therefore advised to make the most of this advantage and do not allow themselves to be rushed. These tests are considered less nerve racking than time limited tests and can help put the candidate at ease. If candidates have just completed a time limited test before their situational judgement test, it may be difficult to stop acting as if they are still under timed conditions. Make a conscious effort not to rush, and to take full advantage of the time allotted for the test.
- 2. Read all information present: When candidates feel rushed or habitually skim read as part of their test taking style, they may miss out on very important information. Because the test will not have time limits, candidates are advised to take the time to read all the instructions, the questions and all the response statements to ensure they have correctly understood the nature of the question and the exercise. It is a nightmare scenario which a candidate has misread the question, and answers based on answering the wrong question, a situations which happens more commonly that in should provided candidates take the time to fully read all materials provided.
- 3. Research the role beforehand in depth: It is obvious that candidates will have undertaken research on the company and the role before the assessment, but more depth may be necessary to aid performance on a situational judgement test. For example simply knowing what a management consultant does may not be enough for maximal performance on this test, understanding the situations they are frequently in, and how they address these situations can provide vital information for the role applied for, and how to answer situational questions on the test.
- 4. Rating and ranking questions: Some questions will require you to select the most appropriate answer, however some may ask you to rank the questions from least to most appropriate. For the latter, candidates will need to know and understand both what a good decision looks like, what a bad decision looks like and what a mediocre decision looks like. Taking the time to prepare before hand and see what types of decision can be made during work place relevant scenarios can help identify the effectiveness of decisions, and can be a useful tool in rating or ranking them.
- 5. Soft skills: Although this test is nominally a decision making and analytical test, the majority of these questions will assess soft skills such as diplomacy, non academic abilities and practical intelligence. When preparing think about how to act diplomatically and strategically when making work place decisions and this will help candidates identify the correct answers in the situational judgement test.
How AssessmentDay can help
Our practice situational judgement tests provide an ideal method of practice and preparation for your real situational judgement test. Practising these tests before hand is the most effective method of pre test preparation, aiding performance in many ways. Seeing the correct answers after completing the tests allows you to learn from your mistakes, and continually improve performance throughout your preparation. Similarly practising these tests before will help dispel the mystery surrounding them by familiarising yourself with them, which can be nerve racking if you have never undertaken a situational judgement test, or any psychometric test for that matter.
Situational judgement tests can be less nerve-racking and anxiety provoking than other tests which require a time limit. It is therefore a good opportunity to make up for lost ground if you do not work well under timed conditions.
If you have been asked to undertake a situational judgement test, either at the assessment centre stage or at the application stage, it means you are considered a potential employee at the organisation. Let this fact boost your confidence and know that with proper preparation and motivation you have what it takes to perform well on your assessments, and get selected for the role at your chosen organisation, good luck!