So you got through to interview, and the next major obstacle to obtaining that dream job, or career is passing the selection tests.
Companies, recruiters and agencies use tests for selection purposes, with the primary purpose to narrow down job candidates and to appoint, transfer or promote the best person for the position.
The most common types of selection tests currently used are:
- Verbal reasoning, which test how well you understand ideas expressed in words and how you reason and think with words, including tests that assess spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Numerical reasoning, which tests how well you understand and reason with numbers, including the use of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (depending on the position, they will also include the handling of percentages and fractions)
- Diagrammatic reasoning, which deal with diagrams
- Computing tests, that assess your relevant competencies in computing software
- Clerical tests that test skills such as the management and assessment of data
- Abstract reasoning, which assesses your ability to manage a problem and to think in abstract terms.
- Personality questionnaires, which aim to identify the type of person you are, from extroversion, tough minded, dependent, or interdependent and so on. These are used to measure how well a person will fit into a company culture, including ability to work under stress and work well within teams.
If you are required to sit selection tests, it can feel a bit overwhelming. But the good news is, the majority of people can improve their score by practicing selection tests. (However, in order to show improvement, you need to have reasonable rates of literacy, or numeracy, so if you are a poor reader, weak at maths, or have low computer competencies, then you will probably need tuition or classes before seeing any noticeable improvement).
If you are invited to sit a test:
- Find out what tests will be involved (if this information is not volunteered up front, then give the organisation/contact person a call and ask)
- Seek out relevant material and search on the Internet for tests relevant to the position and designed to measure things such as your verbal and numeral skills, and abstract mental reasoning.
- Set aside time to practice, until the selection tests become second nature.
- Get a good night sleep and do not drink alcohol the night before or on the day of the test, as this will affect your score detrimentally.
- When sitting the psychometric testing, (personality tests) you can improve your results by:
- Visualising yourself fitting into the culture.
- Avoiding absolutes such as always and never.
- Choose answers suggesting positive traits, for example optimistic, agreeable and trustworthy.
- Avoid answers suggesting negative traits, such as prejudice, stressful.
- Practice personality tests, like you would any other tests.