No work experience, no graduate job!

January 19, 2011

High Fliers Research conduct an annual survey of UK graduate job prospects. This year, whilst vacancies are set to rise, recruiters report that one-third of this year’s positions will be filled by graduates who they already know – either through work placements, internships or sponsorships. In addition two-thirds of employers say that graduates with no work experience at all are very unlikely to get through the selection process, and thus have little or no chance of receiving a job offer.

This is sobering stuff and highlights the need for all undergraduates to seek out placements or acquire meaningful work experience. It also means that many will need to work on their interview technique, and to practice psychometric and situational judgement tests (see my SJT post). All of these assessment methods are becoming increasingly popular for selecting placement students and interns.

Free personality tests…

November 18, 2010

If you want some reputable, free and easy-to-use personality tests here are a few links:

You will also find many more links to free tests and questionnaires on my website at:

PS: Strictly speaking personality tests aren’t ‘tests’, it would be more accurate to describe them as questionnaires, inventories or indicators – one of the reasons being that unlike tests there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to the questions.

Photo credit: Ambro/

Situational judgement tests

November 17, 2010

Over the last few days I’ve been asked if there’s anything on the web that can help someone prepare for a Situational Judgement Test (SJT). For the uninitiated an SJT is a type of psychometric test that presents the test-taker with scenario-based problems; then for each problem various actions are provided and the idea is to pick the one you think is the best – this is the judgement bit. SJTs are sometimes called ‘Management Competence Tests’.

SJTs are used by a number of large organisations and are a particular favourite of the UK and EU Civil Services. So here’s some practice material from the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) and the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Update (December 2010): I’ve added some more links on the Practice Psychometric Tests page of my website. You might also like to read, Do Situational Judgement Tests Work?

Picture credit: Francesco Marino/

Ask the elf for a sword!

October 27, 2010

Do you remember those computer games that were around in the 1980s? They were text-based, fantasy-like things. I spent many a happy hour slowing down the mainframe ‘looking’ for stuff in a room I couldn’t see, talking to creatures that weren’t there. But, as I have recently been reminded (see link below), this sort of scenario might actually make a good ‘aptitude’ test, especially since  it’s now easier to log what people do and to categorise it. I can envisage a business vignette (no elves this time) in which the system monitors the type and quantity of information you seek, the sort of logic you use, any over-riding strategies that appear to govern your behaviour etc – in essence a fusion between traditional psychometrics and what are sometimes called ‘management flight simulators’.

How to do Better at Psychometric Tests

October 18, 2010

Here are the slides for a recent presentation I gave on preparing for psychometric tests:

Fantastic Test Taking Tactics – How to do Better at Psychometric Tests

It was delivered six times to groups of students preparing for tests. And putting modesty (and alliteration) to one side, was described by one punter as ‘the best lecture he had ever had’, at the university in question…

PS. If you want to know the answers, you’re going to have to ask me!

Slide-9. For the curious, if you guess the answers to 10 questions, in a test with five answer options per question, your chances of picking the correct answers for all the questions are 1 in 10,000,000. Your chances of being struck by lightening are also about 1 in 10,000,000. Guessing is not a good tactic!

Images. Slide photos are by Luigi Diamanti, Salvatore Vuono, Gregory Szarkiewicz, JS Creations & Suat Eman –


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