How many successful entrepreneurs would fail an IQ test?

April 2, 2011

If you would like to be part of some research to find out, follow this link. Online survey designed by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Interesting footnote: Tomas was the resident psychologist on Big Brother!

Free stuff @

February 12, 2011

Graduates! Just another reminder that there’s a multitude of free psychometric tests and questionnaires on the ‘links’ page of my website at:

Also a growing number of other sites that offer free taster tests, for example you will find verbal, numerical and inductive reasoning tests at:

Do psychometric tests work?

February 3, 2011

Good question. What people usually mean when they ask if they work is: do tests predict anything useful about future work performance? The short answer is a resounding ‘yes’. As long as a test is used to measure an ability that is actually required of a particular job, then predictive validities are often in the 0.5-0.6 range. What this means is that at the top end of the scale, a test (the predictor) explains 36% ((0.6 x 0.6) x100) of the variance in the criterion – the criterion being something like a measure of productivity. By way of contrast other assessment methods such as the interview are often far less effective. A semi-structured interview would weigh in at 0.38 (14%) or thereabouts. And to get the whole thing in perspective, just in case you’re not impressed, in other fields such as the drug industry, predictive-type validities are often lower. For example, the association between Ibuprofen (the well-known anti-inflammatory) and pain reduction is in the region of 0.14 (2%) – see Robert Hogan’s article, details below.

Want to know more, here are some key references:

  • Bertua, C., Anderson, N., and Salgado, J.F. (2005). The Predictive Validity of Cognitive Ability Tests: A UK Meta-Analysis. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78(3), 387-410.
  • Hogan, R. (2005). In Defense of Personality Measurement: New Wine in Old Whiners. Human Performance, 18, 331-341.
  • Hunter, J.E, & Hunter, R.F. (1984). Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 72-98.
  • Schmidt, F.L, & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262-274.

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’.


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