Tests at interviews

woman doing test iStock 953210686 WEB

Find out what kinds of tests you might do as part of a job interview.

When you go for a new job, the employer might ask you to do a test that tells them more about your skills or what you’re like as a person.

This could be a timed test like a maths or writing test. Or it could be a roleplay or personality assessment.

Employers may ask all job applicants to sit tests and use the results to make a shortlist. More often, they’ll only ask you to take a test when you’ve made it through to the last few applicants.

Remember, these tests are only one part of the recruitment process. Your skills, experience and the rest of the interview are all important, so try not to get too stressed about tests and focus on being yourself.

Let the employer know if you have a condition that makes timed tests difficult.

Types of tests

Common tests used at job interviews include:

  • aptitude tests – used to measure your abilities like maths, critical thinking and problem solving
  • job task tests – used to assess how well you can do a key task of the job you’ve applied for like using a computer program or welding
  • personality tests – used to find out if your personality type suits the job you’ve applied for
  • emotional intelligence tests – used to find out how well you work with other people
  • physical ability tests – used to see if you can do the physical work needed for a job like firefighter or police officer
  • presentations – you may be asked to prepare and give a presentation to show your communication skills. Make sure you can access any equipment you need like a laptop or projector.

Tips for interview tests

To prepare for and do your interview test:

  • find similar tests online to practise.
  • try to relax before you do the test.
  • read or listen to the instructions carefully. Plan what you’ll do in the time you have.
  • ask questions if you’re not sure of anything.
  • try to concentrate on each question, but don't waste time on hard questions if you get stuck. It’s better to move on and come back to them at the end if you can.
  • don't worry if you don't finish the test. Just try and answer as many questions as you can.
  • review your test when you’ve finished.

Types of tests and practice tests

Tests aren't the only things that count

Remember, these tests are only one part of the recruitment process. The person who performs best in tests may not be the most suitable candidate for the job.

Try to relax beforehand. Unless you know that a particular test will be given, don't try to predict and prepare for tests that you may not need to do.

Updated 5 Apr 2022