Q: I have recently completed two interviews for a position. The company told me they initially interviewed seven people from a total application of 85. Of that seven, three were called back for second interview.
Today they emailed me to say they wish me to undergo a psychometric test. I was a bit taken aback by this request – does it mean they have concerns about hiring me? I have never done a psychometric test before, and, to be honest, I know very little about it. And can I practice for the test? (CJ, email)
A: I would say that this is a very good sign. After meeting you once, they decided to meet you again. They wouldn’t have done that unless they had an interest in you.
Now they want to further check you out. It is likely they will be using an external agency to carry out the psychometric test, so this represents a further investment of their time and money.
It suggests to me that they are seriously considering you for the position. What we can’t know, however, is whether or not they are putting others through the test.
Sometimes companies pick their preferred candidate and just put that person through a psychometric test. If they stack up, that’s the end of the process. Others put a number of candidates through the psychometric test and then use the reports generated to finalise their decision.
As regards preparing for the test, there isn’t a huge amount you can do. There are some websites where you can take tests, but, ultimately, there’s not a lot of useful preparation – the tests are set up to evaluate certain behavioural characteristics that you exhibit, and it is virtually impossible to second guess the questions that will be asked and, more importantly, what answers you should give.
Essentially, there are no ‘right’ answers.
There is nothing to fear. The enlightened company uses psychometric testing as an adjunct to their selection process, which is clearly what this company have done in this instance.
My advice would be to ensure you fresh and alert on the day you take the test. Don’t fret on it too much. If you take too long to answer the questions, the test is likely to be flagged as invalid and so you will be asked to complete it again: it is all about getting your immediate response.
Check mate, I got the job
Q: He asked me to tell him “a little bit about yourself”. I told him my favourite colour was orange. The silence lingered. A hint of a grin broke across his mouth. I teased him further by telling him the first album I bought was the Action Replay compilation, circa 1979. The one with Hot Gossip’s “I lost my heart to a starship trooper on it”.
He freed a full smile from its moorings.
“Clichéd question, wasn’t it”, he admitted sheepishly.
“Only if I allowed it to be,” I replied.
The interview became a chat. I got the job. Still there, five years later. I’ve no question: just sharing. (PR, email)
A: I thought I had stumbled onto 50 Shades of Grey there. Or a period drama with all the cryptic qualities of a protracted chess battle.
It was a gamble. Humour can work. Humour can fail. It’s all down to personal choice and comfort. Interviews are unnatural surroundings. You achieved the aim of turning it into a chat. It was a high-wire act, but, then again, faint heart ne’r won fair lady.
Glass of water, please.
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