Success Tips for Personality and Psychometric Employment Testing

If you haven't already done so, at some stage in your career you’ll be asked to take a psychological assessment. This may include personality and/or aptitude testing.

Anxiety about the testing and assessment process, rather than lack of ability, causes more performance issues than anything else. Many candidates perform well below their true level of ability because they are nervous and unfamiliar with the testing process. 

Understanding the purpose of personality and psychometric tests, how they are administered and how they are measured combined with deliberate practice is the key to putting yourself at ease and improving your test performance.

Part 1: Success Tips for Personality Tests

Personality tests are a form of behavioural testing and are intended to highlight specific traits that could indicate suitability for specific roles. They can come in the form of personality questionnaires, motivation tests and situational judgement tests.

Part 2: Success Tips for Psychometric/Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests are concerned with assessing various cognitive abilities from numeracy, literacy, verbal and reasoning skills to spatial awareness and more. Psychometric tests are usually delivered in formal 'examination-type' circumstances and under strictly timed conditions.

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Are you an active job seeker or candidate who is unfamiliar with the psychometric testing process? Do you need to improve your test taking speed, skills and confidence?  

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Part 1: Success Tips for Candidates Taking Personality Tests

Personality tests used in an employment context provide recruiters and prospective employers with information on the person-to-job fit; how the candidate may fit within a work environment, how they will work with others and their performance potential against job requirements.

  1. The first thing to remember is that you can't pass or fail a personality test. There is no such thing as a right or wrong answer. You are who you are.

  2. In an effective selection process, it's only one piece of information, not the complete picture. The combined results of the selection process are used for the final decision.

  3. Familiarise yourself with the instructions on how to complete the tests and note that you're usually allowed to do some practise questions beforehand.

  4. Most personality questionnaires will ask you to consider how you typically behave in a professional work/public setting so don't consider home or private situations.

  5. The questionnaire is about how you see yourself now, so think in the present.

  6. Most personality questionnaires are not timed so work through them at a comfortable pace, but don't ponder too long over any one question.

  7. Don’t over think or read too much into questions - what they might be trying to ask or where they are leading.

  8. Try not to worry about individual questions and what they may reveal about you. Questions are not analysed individually so be yourself and answer as naturally as possible.

  9. Don’t try to outsmart the test. The questionnaires are structured to measure different things and will often ask the same thing several times but in different ways.

  10. Do not try to create an ‘unreal’ image, be honest about how you see yourself rather than how you would like to be - besides faking (Impression management) is itself an indicator of personality.

  11. Beware of the lie "detector question". Scattered among personality questionnaires are trap questions such as "Have you ever blamed someone for something that was really your fault?" or "If you say you'll do something do you always keep your promise?". Any question starting with "Have you ever …?" or "Do you always …?" is probably a control item. If you claim to be too perfect, and score too high on these, it will raise doubts about the rest of your answers."

  12. Don't sit on the fence. When taking a personality questionnaire don't tick the "don't know" option more than five times, it makes you look indecisive and turns your profile into a Miss Average or Mr Mediocre.

  13. While you may try to "fake it to make it" by deliberately adopting a different persona (from the strong silent type to life and soul) - it's unwise. You may find yourself as the successful candidate in the short term but stuck in a job with a team or organisation that makes you miserable, and where your success is short lived.

  14. It is best practice to provide candidates with feedback. If you don't receive any then ask for it (even if you don't get selected). Your results belong to you and it's a great opportunity to gain insight about the sorts of roles to which you are suited. Note however, with some recruitment consultancies you may have to pay a small fee. 

Practise pre employment personality tests for job seekers and candidates

Practice Personality Tests for Active Job Seekers and Candidates 

Doing something for the first time or something you haven’t done in a while can be stressful, especially when there is a lot at stake. When you don’t feel confident you can limit how well you do in the test. When you practise the questions and master test taking strategies you ensure that you are calm, confident and at your best on test day. Practise online now with a pre-employment personality test.

Part 2: Success Tips for Candidates Taking Psychometric Tests 
(Also known as Aptitude/Ability Tests)

A company that does personality testing is likely to conduct aptitude testing as well. A psychometric test measures mental ability. Also known as cognitive, ability or intelligence tests, they test your critical reasoning skills under strictly timed conditions. There are many different types of tests depending on the type and level of job you're applying for.  


  • When you are advised you will be completing a psychometric test as part of a selection process, ask if you will be sent a practice test. It does pay to familiarise yourself with typical questions, particularly in aptitude tests. Quite often a mediocre score can be improved with practise.  
  • Practice relevant skill areas, e.g. numerical reasoning – practice studying and interpreting information presented in a financial format, and revise basic formulas and calculations. 
  •  Get a good night’s sleep and arrive early. 
  •  Before you start the test, ask questions of the administrator if something is not clear.
  •  If you wear glasses or a hearing aid then take them along. If you have any disabilities tell the test administrator.
  •  Breathe and relax. You'll do much better if you're not too uptight. 



Time Check and Budget: Listen to the test administrator and/or read the test instructions carefully before you start so you know exactly how the test will be timed and scored - then you can pace yourself to achieve the best result.

  • Most tests will be timed, some tests have a maximum time limit whereas others will assess how quickly you can complete the test or even individual questions. 
  • Budget and track your own time. 

Where speed of completion is not a test factor:

  • Use all of the time allotted for the test. Complete the test before starting a second run-through 
  • Check each section of the test, you may catch mistakes or produce better answers once you've worked through the whole test.

Where you can navigate backwards and forwards through the test:

  • Look though the whole test as soon as you receive it and read the directions carefully
  • Check to see how much time you need, budget for each section allowing time for the more difficult parts.
  • Do the easiest questions first to boost your confidence
  • Attack the hardest parts next, if you get bogged down leave them, and return to them later. 

Where the test involves a forced path - one way only:

  • If you are unsure of the answer and you can't come back to the question make a best guess based on your first impression and move on 
  • Put down an answer for everything.

Don't worry if you can't answer all the questions

It is also important to remember that psychological tests of ability often seem to be a lot ‘harder’ than the tests of knowledge people are used to in school. Typically, if you had done your homework, you would expect to get 80 or 90 per cent of the questions right in a school knowledge test. Psychological tests are designed so that on average, people in the group they are intended for would get about 50% right so don't worry if you find you can't answer some questions, or think you have got a lot of them wrong.

For All Psychometric Tests:

  • Read the directions for each section carefully
  • Read questions carefully as they can contain helpful clues
  • Use the test itself as a source of hints - information in one section can help you in another.
  • Express difficult questions in your own words as rephrasing can make things clearer.

With Multiple-Choice Questions:

  • Eliminate obviously wrong options quickly then choose among the remaining ones 
  • Statements containing certain words such as all, always, only, because, are generally false. 
  • Statements containing words such as none, generally, or usually are generally true. 
  • Know whether you must mark the one best correct answer or all correct answers

Abstract Problem Solving Tests:

Measure your ability to identify patterns and extract meaning from a mass of seemingly random or very complex information. 

  • Read all possible answers before completing the question. 
  • In true-false test, your first hunch is usually correct. 
  • The simple or obvious answer is often the correct one. There is usually only one correct answer. 
  • There is often a common theme to every shape or pattern in the question. 
  • There is usually one characteristic which every option shares e.g. size, colour, position, shape. 
  • The answer you find first may be correct to a degree but not the most obvious 'correct' answer. 

Numerical Reasoning Tests:

Measures your calculating ability. The mathematics involved may be very simple, but you are being assessed on your knowledge of how to apply this.
  • Some questions involve sequences and patterns. Look for simple sequences first. Do numbers increase or decrease? Is there a common denominator? Is there a relationship between positive and negative figures? Then look for combinations e.g. add one, subtract two, add three, and so on.

  • In items requiring multiplication or division you may be presented with very complex numbers in an attempt to see how well you can look for the 'bigger picture'.
  • Some questions present you with several huge numbers which are divisible by an even number (200) to produce a whole number. This eliminates anything ending in an odd number.
  • Reduce the load on your memory by writing notes eg equations, rules, diagrams, etc, particularly if you've worked hard to memorise them.
  • Do calculations or analysis mechanically, recite steps as you go, you'll often catch simple errors
  • Sometimes, impossible problems can be solved by applying lateral thinking or basic mathematical principles e.g:
    • Anything divided or multiplied by zero is zero.
    • Two even numbers multiplied by each other will produce another even number.
    • Any number ending in zero multiplied by any other number, will always produce another number ending in zero.
    • A negative and positive number multiplied by each other will produce a negative number. Two negative numbers multiplied always produce a positive number, and so on.

Verbal Reasoning Tests:

These tests assess your understanding and skill with language comprehension, spelling and grammar.

  • Pay attention to detail, as this is one of the principal objectives of these tests.
  • Read each question carefully.We often skip from word to word to pick the general meaning of a sentence. Concentrate on a single word or even letter at a time.
  • Reread a passage or sentence if it isn't immediately clear, or possibly ambiguous.
  • Avoid the habit skipping over words or assuming the meaning. These tests take advantage of this and try to catch you out.
  • Read each word carefully. Sometimes similar sounding or similar looking words are put in to confuse you and add irrelevant 'noise'.
  • We have a habit of recognising whole words as patterns rather than individual letters. You may be caught out with the difference between wander and wonder, which could change the entire meaning of the sentence.
  • If you are unsure of the meaning of a word, try a process of elimination of the wrong answers to find a possible correct answer. 

Practise pre employment psychometric tests for job seekers and candidates

Practice  Psychometric Tests for Active Job Seekers and Candidates

The right practice on the right test can improve your test performance and scores 

Improve your test taking speed, skills and confidence by preparing with professional and comprehensive pre employment practice psychometric tests that include sample questions, answers, personalised score reports and study guides. 

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