Psychometric testing? How to prepare in advance

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Psychometric testing is not the enemy. In fact, it can actually help you make sure you are moving into the right role. Don’t believe me? Find out more in this post: Psychometric testing? How to prepare in advance – Pop Your Career

So, you’ve been invited to do psychometric testing for a position you have applied for, and you’re starting to freak out a little. What will they find out? What if you make a mistake? What if your personality isn’t what they’re looking for? All these thoughts will be mulling around in your mind, especially if you haven’t done psychometric testing before. 

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I am quite the fan of psychometric testing. Especially where it is used to onboard a new candidate and grow and develop them in their role. I think it can be an incredibly powerful tool, which is why I became an accredited DISC Advanced Consultant and Facilitator. But, just like all other forms of assessment, if you are new to it, there is an element of the unknown and a fear that it could be a barrier for you, in achieving what you really want.  

In this post, I am going to shed some light on psychometric testing, talk to you about how you can prepare and provide you with some simple tips to follow on your testing day. I promise you, psychometric testing is not as bad as it sounds.

What is psychometric testing? 

There are lots of different types of psychometric testing and each will be looking at different things. But when psychometric testing is used in a recruitment process, the aim is to find out whether the candidate has the behaviour, personality and preferences to allow them to be successful in the role they have applied for.  

Usually what happens behind the scenes, is an employer will work with a testing provider to scope the role and match elements of the position description to certain behaviours or preferences, in a testing matrix. This means that the test is set up to assess for the specific behaviours or preferences that align with the position. If you have applied for a data entry role, they might be looking for preferences in working with data, attention to detail and working in a solitary environment. If you have applied for a management role, they might assess your behaviours and preferences against leadership capabilities, the ability to inspire, and an ability to work closely with other people. It really is different for every job, and every testing tool.

Stop slagging psychometric testing… it’s not as bad as you think!

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What does psychometric testing involve?

As I have said, every tool is different, but essentially psychometric testing involves asking you a series of questions, where you have to pick the statements that resonate with you the most. This could be through a series of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” statements, or perhaps a series of statements where you have to choose the ones that are most like you and least like you. This varies, so I don’t want to provide you with a one-size-fits-all answer.  

Once you have completed your test, a report will be generated, that will be sent to the employer and interpreted, either by the employer directly, or by the testing company. This interpretation will involve looking at the strengths that have been demonstrated through your test, and how they align with the role in question.

But, what if I fail?

Here’s the thing, there isn’t really a pass or a fail with psychometric testing. The beautiful thing about personalities is that we all have one and every single personality is different. There is no right or wrong personality. What psychometric testing does though, is looks at whether you are likely to succeed in a role, according to your behaviour, preferences and working style. And really, if your personality profile suggests that you’re probably not the best fit for a role, you may have dodged a bullet! 

Let’s say it was the data entry type role that you applied for. Let’s also say that your work preferences clearly stated (through psychometric testing) that you had a low attention to detail, preferred looking at the big picture rather than the details, had a strong preference for working with others and enjoy working in a fast paced environment. Well, the data entry role is probably not right for you. This may seem harsh, but honestly, if you were successful in securing a role that was directly in opposition to your behaviour and work preferences, you would hate it!

It’s a big decision to base on a personality test, isn’t it?

Quite frankly, yes. And I wouldn’t advocate for employers using psychometric testing to make a decision about the most suitable candidate. Psychometric testing is one assessment tool that could be used to select a candidate, but it should be (and is usually) used as just one piece of the puzzle. Other tools that could be used to complement or supplement psychometric testing include interviewing, reference checking, cognitive testing, work sample testing and so many more. 

That’s about it! If you are interested in finding out more about psychometric testing, I do offer DISC Coaching sessions, where you can get a full colour 18 page report about your behavioural preferences, as well as a one-to-one coaching session with me, to understand, interpret and develop actions based on your report. You can find out more here.  

Best of luck with your psychometric test!

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About the Author

Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

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