Some interviews will involve a psychometric test, a way of finding out more about a candidate’s suitability for a role. They are used a lot with graduates but also within other sectors such as engineering, IT & software development, science. The type of test will depend on the end role but essentially they are testing ability, aptitude and personality and can take several different forms. Regardless of the type you may be faced with, here are some tips that apply to any kind of psych test.

  • Relax – This test is the easy one; your intelligence is being assessed by other types of tests, and it’s actually quite difficult to get these tests ‘wrong’. If you haven’t sat a personality test before, don’t worry. There’s no result that will label you a bad person, and they’re not going to discover any dark psychological skeletons in the cupboard. In fact you might well end up finding it an interesting exercise that helps your self-awareness.
  • Honesty is the best policy – if you’re consistent, open and honest in the test, that’s how you’ll come across as a person. Don’t, whatever you do, try to fake the personality you think they want – it won’t work, and it might even end up with you being given work you’re not suitable for.
  • Don’t second guess what they want – they might have an ideal profile in mind for a particular role, they might just be scoring all candidates. It’s impossible to guess, and either way, your best bet is just to be yourself.
  • Having said that…if you’re applying for a sales job, it’s going to be a good idea to emphasize your extroverted people skills. If it’s a financial role? Attention to detail, perfectionism. And if it’s a manager position, it’s wise to highlight your leadership strengths.
  • Don’t take too long – it’s a common sign that someone is trying to game the system by pretending to be someone they’re not. These tests are very good at identifying people who are faking, and if you take much longer than expected, that’s often a sign that answers aren’t genuine.
  • Be consistent – again, giving variable answers to similar questions is often interpreted by personality tests as an attempt to trick the system. Or, worse, it’s a sign of someone who’s unstable with wildly changeable moods.
  • Your first instincts are probably sound – don’t overthink. People are often amazed at how consistently personality type tests can identify their personality from these questions; trust in the process, answer with your first and strongest instincts, and you’ll be very likely to do well, assuming you’ve applied for the right job for your personality.

Whatever kind of test you might face, good luck!


Kenexa/PSL:  used by  BOA/ML, BT, E&Y, Mazars, Morgan Stanley, Unilever

Numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, logical reasoning

SHL:  used by AON, BOA/ML, BDO, BNP Paribas, BT, Clifford Chance, Deloitte, Freshfields, Macquarie Group, M&G, Microsoft, PWC, Swiss Re UBS, BarCap,

Verbal, Numerical, Inductive, deductive reasoning and personality questionnaires.

Also, University of Kent has a site where free tests are available (numerical, verbal, non-verbal and logical):

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