On to another PersonnelToday.com post.
I like what they’ve done with the psychometrics theme. I’m a big psychometrics geek. I like statistics and math, but I really think that test construction and application is really fun.
That’s why I really like this article from them.
While the last post was really good advice for an employer, this is really good info for someone who’s looking for a job. As frustrating as it may be, these really aren’t the kinds of tests that you want to try to “pass” just to get the job. As bad a rap as consultants can get these days over how they herald a layoff, these are the kinds of tests that HR pros use to try to make sure that people get into jobs that they’ll enjoy and succeed at, what I-O psychologists call good person-job/person-organization/person-environment fit.
So, how do you prepare for these tests? This article really has the best advice I’ve seen.
- Learn as much as you can about the test beforehand – Just learn enough so that you know what to expect. Is it filling in dots? or an interview? or short answer? You don’t want nuts and bolts, just enough so that you’re not totally surprised.
- Give your mind regular workouts – Do a crossword puzzle. Play some Bookworm. Play Sodoku. This is a really good idea in general anyway. Research has show that keeping your mind and brain active help to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
- Prepare for the day ahead with a good night’s rest – Sometimes when you’re trying to get hired somewhere, you’re going to be nervous, but simply getting a good night’s sleep and being rested for the next day can make all the difference in your performance. And you want your performance on any test to be representative of what you’ll be like on the job, not what you’ll be like after staying up all night worrying.
- Always be honest in your responses – This is key. All psychometrically designed assessments are constructed to eek out those pieces of your personality or whatever construct they’re designed to measure. They also have lie/attention scales built in. If you trigger those, you could invalidate your whole test. So, it’s really better to just pay attention and answer every question as honestly as you can.
- Make sure you seek feedback – If you’re able to (especially in the case of a performance based test) ask if you can see how you did. Research shows that with feedback, you’re able to learn from mistakes and do better the next time you take a test. Research also shows that without feedback, you’re likely to remember incorrect responses, as correct, just based on familiarity with the response. Feedback can really help to avoid that problem.
So, there you go. This isn’t a checklist of how to beat the tests. I’d be a really irresponsible purveyor of tests and the like if I let you see behind the curtain. But, if you follow the steps that are here, you’ll be able to give the best and most accurate picture of who you are to any potential employer.