If you applied for a job 20 years ago, chances are you would have been interviewed by the Hiring Manager and possibly someone from HR. Often, the interview would merely be an informal “chat”.
However, gradually employers “primarily multinationals” started to use psychometric profiling, and now it is a very widely and extensively used recruitment tool.
Primarily, they provide additional information for the hiring process and on occasions they are used to conduct an initial screening of candidates where there are many applicants.
There is a large and growing body of evidence that psychometric tests and questionnaires are among the best recruitment tools you can use.
Unlike facets such as education, experience, and skills, the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate can be much harder to assess during an interview.
Tests of this nature are devised by occupational psychologists and their aim is to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants or candidates for promotion.
These tests are used to see what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how they match up with the particular job requirements.
It’s important to understand the nature of psychometric tests and the different tools available. There is a distinction between a psychometric test and a psychometric assessment. The main difference is that a test measures your maximum performance using tasks that have right or wrong answers. An assessment will typically use a questionnaire-format, asking you to rate your agreement levels with certain statements, or perhaps indicate how frequently you feel a certain way.
Tests can be essentially broken down into two groups; Aptitude and Ability Tests and Personality Profiling. All, at this stage, tend to be carried out online.
Tests are simply one way of assessing the competencies relevant to a specific job, and should ideally be designed with that type of work in mind.
There are numerous practice tests and website on line. Specific tests can have websites where they will explain what they are measuring and give you an opportunity to practice.
As the clear majority are conducted online, find a quiet place and where possible, do a quick preview if time allows. Like an exam, read the questions carefully. With personality type questions, just be yourself; never try to second guess the question.
On aptitude tests, the key thing is not to waste time on a question; if you’re unsure and revisit if time permits. As psychological profiling is now used quite extensively in the recruitment process, if you are an active job seeker, you will become familiar with them and the mystery and mystique will be removed.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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