Tests at interviews

woman doing test iStock 953210686 WEB

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

Employers often use tests to learn more about job candidates than they can from an interview or CV alone.

Some employers invite all job candidates to sit tests and then make a shortlist based on those results. However, it is usually only selected candidates who are asked to take tests.

What types of tests can I be given?

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are used to predict how well candidates perform a particular job or task. They usually examine abilities such as problem solving and maths.

Job task tests

It’s common for job candidates to do tests that assess how well they’d perform a key task of the job they’ve applied for. For example, if you were applying for a job in a call centre you might be asked to do a roleplay to see how you would respond to customers.

Personality assessments

Employers use personality tests to find out if a candidate’s personality type suits the position they have applied for.

Skills and knowledge tests

These tests help employers find out the skills and knowledge candidates have in particular subjects. For example, you may be asked to do a keyboard typing test to test how quickly and accurately you can type.

On the day of the test

  • Listen carefully to instructions, but don't be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what you need to do.
  • Try to concentrate on each question, but don't waste time on difficult questions if you get stuck. It’s better to move on and come back to them at the end if you have time.
  • Don't worry if you don't finish the test. Just focus on answering as many questions as you can.

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 21 Dec 2020