As a former recruiter, I quickly learnt that nothing freaks a candidate out more, than the six words, "Can you complete some psychometric assessment?"

After agreeing a time, prospective candidates then typically tell me that they "hate all these tests" then follow up by asking "what is the point of all this, and is it very useful?"

Why Psychometrics?

Shanel Winning, Registered Psychologist from Winning Performance sation." Unfortunately, plenty of people undersell themselves in interviews, but shine when assessed and reference checked. "Rather than relying on just an interview, organisations want to triangulate a few sources of information about you. Psychometrics are part of this."

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What are they supposed to identify in a desirable candidate?

As all professional recruiters and HR specialists would agree, hiring decisions should not be based solely on psychometric results. Instead, they should be the basis for further exploration. "A 'desirable candidate' is one where the likely strengths and development areas highlighted in the psychometrics are reinforced by other sources, and largely match the role's requirements," states Shanel. "However even then, there is no such thing as a 'perfect candidate'."

Swinging the result in your favour

Almost everyone I speak to about this subject asks, "can you cheat psychometric tests?" However, Shanel asks a question in return. "Should you TRY to cheat psychometric assessments? The more candid you are, the more likely you'll get the role only if it is right for you. Otherwise, you risk being a creative, flexible, abstract thinker - stuck in a repetitive, process-oriented, administrative role."

If you are still tempted to try to answer questions in line with what you think the recruiter is seeking, remember that the triangulation process is likely to pick up any inconsistencies. While personality questionnaires don't have 'right' or 'wrong' answers, assessors can usually tell if you've tried to 'game' the assessment.

How can I prepare for a psychometric assessment?

For personality questionnaires, no preparation is required. Just be as honest and open as you can be. However, for ability assessments (like verbal and numerical reasoning), it's useful to practice your test-taking skills. It is fine to ask the HR professional or recruiter for the name of the assessments you will be taking, and if you're not sent any practice questions to try, don't be afraid to ask for some.

Positive process

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When it is done well, Shanel believes that "psychometric assessment is a respectful, insightful and enjoyable process that will support your personal growth and development." Next time you are asked to do some testing, don't be afraid, and embrace the process!

Contact Tom for a free Linkedin or CV review, or to be your personal career coach. Visit www.CV.co.nz or www.CareerCoach.nz, or email tom@cv.co.nz to find out more.