More than 70% of top companies now use psychometric tests - and there
is no way to fiddle them to get a job.
So says job agency body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which warns that trying to guess the "right" answer to test questions is not only impossible but will probably reveal someone as a liar.
Psychometric tests aim to predict a person's behaviour. They are used increasingly to discover teamwork potential in IT - and 60% of those going for management jobs will face such tests at some point.
"Psychometric analysis is not mystical - the results are systematically calculated against recognised models from the answers you give to tailored questions," the confederation says in a new report.
"Questions are carefully balanced against each other to ensure that the interpretation is an accurate reflection of your unique personality. There are no right or wrong answers.
"Give honest responses and enjoy the opportunity the employer has provided to help you describe yourself."
There are two main types of test. One measures a person's characteristics relative to each other. The second measures a person's profile against that of the whole population or a sector.
Tests typically involve multiple-choice questions such as, "Put the following words in the order which describes you best: systematic, concise, sociable, enthusiastic," or, "Which are you most: persistent or articulate?" The words in a series are not necessarily related."
The confederation says it is unusual for a job offer to be jeopardised by a test: "A trained recruiter will probably attribute no more than 15% of the decision to the analysis. The impression you give at an interview is generally far more important."
The confederation adds, "Many organisations use tests to analyse teams and the way they work together, to devise the most effective structure.
"If you are facing psychometric testing in your existing role, view it as a valuable exercise which should enable you to work smarter and more effectively with your co-workers."
This was first published in May 2000