A situational judgement test is a type of psychometric test designed to unpick how candidates react in different situations commonly seen in the workplace. As a result, they’re a popular tool for employers looking to hire decisive, efficient, logical thinkers. The test normally involves a set of hypothetical scenarios, followed by a selection of potential responses. The scenarios will be chosen carefully to reflect the kind of challenges you’ll come up against at a specific company; so for these tests, preparation really is everything…

1. Understand the why-what-who-where-how of the job

Getting under the skin of the role you’re applying for is a great starting point for tackling a situational judgement test. Put yourself in the shoes of the successful applicant and ask yourself questions such as; why is your job important? What would your daily responsibilities be? Who would you work with? Where would you work? How would you accomplish your day-to-day tasks? Answering these fundamental questions will help you anticipate the kind of challenges and conflicts that may arise as test questions.

2. Dig a little deeper into the company

Situational judgement tests aren’t position-specific, they also assess how well you’re likely to fit into the company as a whole by eliciting the kind of person you are; your strengths, weaknesses, values and skills. So find out as much as you can about the company you’re applying for. If it's a big office - how will you handle communicating with multiple departments? If it’s a small team - how would you delegate tasks? Does the company value the environment, a work-life balance, employees who give something back?

3. Practice, practice, practice!

Although the questions in these tests are likely to be company-specific and therefore a little harder to directly prepare for, the format of the tests doesn’t vary too much from company to company. Practising situational judgement tests in your own time will help you get quicker and more adept at deciphering what different employers want from candidates, and how to show yourself as a valuable asset to any business.

4. Read between the lines

It’s a common misconception that situational judgement tests are very simple to decipher - after all, you just apply the golden rule of ‘do to others what they would want them to do to you’, right? In fact, the tests tend to be a little more nuanced than this. When presented with a question and a choice of responses, you’re likely to only see answers that could be deemed ‘correct.’ And while some companies might lean towards candidates that pick response A, others may value those that go for B or C. The key is to align the company’s values with a response that feels both measured and appropriate for the given situation. And the more you practice, the easier answering gets.

5. Answer honestly

Answering the questions honestly will stand you in the best stead to find an employer whose values align closely with yours. If you score well in a situational judgement test where you’ve answered as honestly as you can, you can feel confident you’d be a good fit for the role and responsibilities at said company - and that’s a great position to be in!

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