Guide

Recruitment tests and preparing for them

Updated on 23 April 2022

Information about the different types of psychometric and aptitude tests you might face when applying for a job.

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It’s common for large recruiters to use recruitment tests (or psychometric or aptitude tests).

These tests are usually at quite an early stage of the recruitment process. There will be a threshold set which you must meet in order to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Types of test

You might be asked to take part in a specific type of test for the industry, course, or profession you are entering. You can explore specific tests on Assessment Centre HQ

Here are some of the most common types of test you might face.

Verbal tests

These tests assess your abilities to read, interpret and draw conclusions from written material.

Practice a free verbal reasoning test

Numerical tests

These tests assess your ability to interpret numerical data and will test your analysis and problem solving skills.

Practice a free numerical reasoning test

Inductive and logical tests

These are tests of logical reasoning ability and usually take the form of information presented in diagrams.

Critical thinking tests

These tests assess your higher level critical thinking and reasoning skills. They are most commonly used in legal recruitment but you may encounter them in any industry.

Practice a free critical thinking test

Clerical tests

These tests measure your speed and accuracy in clerical tasks such as typing, using spreadsheets, and error checking.

Dexterity tests

These tests measure hand speed and fine precision skills or co-ordination. They are commonly used in recruiting dentists, as well as other sectors.

Situational judgement tests (STJs)

These tests assess how you use your judgement in relation to solving problems in a workplace scenario. Typically, you are given a hypothetical but realistic workplace situation and have to respond. You select from several possible actions that you could take in order to deal with the problem presented. Organisations using STJ’s include Medical Schools, Civil Service, RBS and Network Rail amongst many others.

Practice a free STJ test

Games-based assessment (GBA)

Your abilities and personal qualities are tested in a games format which you access through a mobile device. Companies currently using GBA include PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Google, Oracle, Vodaphone, Eo, and Unilever.

Practice a free GBA test

How to prepare for a recruitment test

Know what to expect

You’ll get lots of information beforehand about the types, locations, and/or timeframe of your tests. You may be able to find additional useful information online, including groups on social media where people who have taken these tests in the past will give you tips.

You may need to travel to a test centre. You should treat this as part of the formal recruitment process and dress smartly and engage professionally with those you meet there.

You may also be able complete some tests online, within a set time period. It’s important to make time to take these tests in a quite place where you won't be interrupted or distracted.

Timing and planning

Often these tests have strict time limits so practising working to time and ensuring you can be accurate is important.

You should take time to carefully and thoroughly read all instructions before you start because it can be difficult to go back and correct mistakes later.

If you are attending a test centre in person, make sure you listen carefully to any verbal instructions and advice given and take the opportunity to ask any questions.

Practice

Practice the tests ahead of time as much as you can. Seeing examples will help you anticipate the type of skills needed to answer the questions and give you a chance to brush up on skills you may have forgotten, e.g. calculating percentages and ratios without a calculator.

There are many online resources where you can take practice tests. Prospects has an extensive list of reputable practice sites.