Taking a psychometric test

Hints and tips for taking a psychometric test explained by Martin Anderson, Managing Director of Carrot Pharma Recruitment.

“Psychometric Test” is an overarching phrase which can encompass a mix of personality profiling and aptitude testing. These have become relatively popular within the pharmaceutical industry of late and are used by some employers as an objective tool to provide them with greater insight into a candidate’s mental capabilities and their behavioural styles.

The tests normally form part of a more holistic recruitment process and would supplement the information gathered via the more traditional interviewing methods. It’s the combination of these findings which the hiring firm will use to make a balanced decision as to how suitable or otherwise a candidate is for their vacancy.

The format of the tests can vary significantly from just a few easy online questions, to far more complex tests which may take significantly longer to complete. Some tests are trying to figure out your personality type or gauge how you might typically behave in a work setting under certain circumstances. The more complex tasks will most certainly be looking closer at your mental aptitude for the role, perhaps in the guise of a verbal and/or numerical reasoning test.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is also becoming a bit of a buzz term these days and is more frequently being woven into the psychometric testing process. EI is essentially your ability to be aware of yours and other people’s emotions, to understand how you and others may feel and behave as a result of these emotions, and to use this knowledge to form productive working relationships with colleagues. It’s about empathy, understanding and the ability to be flexible and adapt easily to other working styles.

Fluid Intelligence is also something being measured a little more nowadays. It can be defined as “…the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations…the ability to identify patterns and relationships that underpin novel problems and to extrapolate these findings using logic.”1 Again these often form part of some psychometric testing methods.

With regards to the personality profiling tests, there are no right or wrong answers. The best advice is to answer the questions as honestly and accurately as you can. You’d find it difficult to ‘cheat’ these tests into thinking you are outgoing, when in fact you may be quite reserved – these tests normally have some reverse logic built into them, so you’d generally be found out if you’d tried to fake your personality. With these tests, it’s best to just be yourself.

But of course, if you are asked to complete a numerical or verbal reasoning test, then there are right and wrong answers. These can be challenging tests, but there are many practice versions online that you can try in order to help you prepare. If you can find out which specific test you are doing in advance, then of course your practice can be more tailored.

How else can you prepare? Well it’s important that you make time for the tests, as some can be rather lengthy, possibly up to an hour. Be sure you are in a quiet place with no distractions, and remember to turn off your phone and email alerts. Beyond that, the best advice is to ensure that you are fit and well, in good physical and mental health prior to completing any test – whether it’s in person or online at home. You’ll perform better if you’re feeling fresh and positive. And along with a strong interview performance, hopefully you’ll smash any tests set for you and land that dream job! Good luck.

1 Psychologytoday.com