Selection Tests and Assessment Centres

Employers, especially large companies, are increasingly using selection tests as well as face-to-face interviews. In some cases, candidates may be invited to an “assessment centre” – typically a whole day given over to a variety of individual and/or group tests which allow employers to rate candidates against each other as well as against the criteria for the job.

Preparing for an Interview

There are two things to do to prepare for the interview. First, carefully cross-match your CV against the employee specification and job description so that you can confidently describe how your qualifications and experience qualify you for the post. Reflect on your experience and think how you would be able to transfer it to meet the demands of the new job. Think about the strengths and qualities you would bring to the post. What evidence do you have for saying you have these qualities? Think about your weaknesses. Can you cite examples that show you are aware of your weaknesses and have learnt strategies for overcoming them?

Second, you need to research the company carefully so that you can demonstrate that you are serious about wanting to work for it. Focus on your potential new role but be aware of the wider organization. Your Essential Recruitment consultant will be able to brief you. Tests commonly include:

Psychometric/Personality Tests

These are designed to provide a profile of your personality and an insight into your motivation. Tests usually consist of multiple choice questions which require you to indicate your preference in a given situation. They set out to identify personality traits (such as confident or apprehensive). Your results can be compared with the general population or a selected group.

Occupational personality tests are designed to test your preference in the world of work. Are you at your best working on your own or being part of a team. Are you stressed by tight deadlines or do you enjoy the adrenaline rush?

Unless you are very familiar with this type of testing, it is not recommended that you attempt to disguise what you might consider weaknesses or undesirable personality traits by giving false responses. The tests can show up inconsistencies and may be invalidated.

Ability Tests

Many tests are used to establish general ability and intelligence. Numerical and verbal reasoning tests are the most common and general require only a multiple choice response. More sophisticated tests like critical reasoning tests require you to draw inferences from sets of statements or abstract shapes and diagrams. Some tests are more task-oriented: in-tray exercises test how you react to a flow of paperwork and directives that make conflicting demands; case studies test your ability to think through complex challenges.

Specific Tests

Specific tests include report writing, presentations and role playing and will provide an employer will further evidence of your capabilities and potential.

Essential Recruitment (UK) Ltd,
26th Floor, City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza,
M1 4BT

Tel: 0161 738 1133

Fax: 0161 247 8576