Psychometric/psycho-technic job testing

Should you be afraid of psycho-technic testing? Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of taking one of those “psychometric” or actually “psycho-technic” tests as part of the interview process for a job. Are these tests something we should fear, or something we should dismiss out of hand: “That wasn’t the way it was done in ‘the old country,’” “I won’t work for a place that insists I do the test,” “That is so degrading, do they expect I’m a psychopath?” or “Graphology-that’s so medieval.” When I told a good friend, she immediately told me, “Get the book!” and proceeded to tell me which of our friends had it. I did get the book and I am happy I did. Although the book did not answer the question of whether we should be afraid of these tests, it did de-mystify the testing proceedure.

Not all of us have the luxury of turning down doing the test. Maybe we should look at it as an employer’s way of deciding between two candidates, the company covering its ***, or maybe it is just company policy. It is a way for the company to know more about you and since these tests are not cheap, we should look at it as a positive step in the interview process.

What are these tests? They are a combination a personal interview, a group dynamics session, a session which includes many kinds of multiple choice questions. These are made up of logic questions of various kinds to answer, pick the next picture in a series, and in my case, an interesting flowchart type question (which was not in the book!). There is a long questionnaire to fill out which also includes parts of the resume. It included among others:

•1.       Questions about your work experience with a twist such as “Which was your favorite job and why?”

•2.       Describe your family including occupation of parents, spouse and appearance

•3.       Describe yourself in appearance and quality traits

There were drawings to do freehand, as well as copying lines and pictures/shapes. I also had to write a short story. I was able to take the test, for the most part, in English. My story was to be half English and half in Hebrew. And signed. I bet that was for graphology.

There were obviously a number of people taking the test at the same time for the group dynamics portion. There are different tests being given at the same time, each geared to the individual being tested. There was in my group a couple who were applying to live in a moshav, as part of their interview process, there were a number of people applying for specific jobs, and one guy being tested for what kind of job he would be most suited.

The book did help me practice some questions, such as logic (which I really hate), series, both numeral and pictorial, and gave hints how to do these. It also helped me prepare for the interview portions, both group and individual. Body language, posture, and simply looking people in the eye are very important. Also, attitude is important. If you go into the test feeling put out, that it will be a waste of your time, or that these people have no right to ask you these questions, that is what you will project and it will be picked up by the interviewers and your group. It is also a way of testing you under pressure of the day. How do you react to the questions or the situation?

It was a long day and I wrote out, by hand, more in this one day than I must have done for years! It was not easy, but it was a learning experience. My opinion is that these tests serve a purpose and that if asked to take it, do so. But, go into the test with some preparation and with a good attitude.

And for an aside: Did you ever wonder what they do with old computer screens? You know, the early color monitors that were about 20 by 25 cm (or maybe 8” by 10”)? Don’t worry, these antiques are alive and well and being used by the psycho-technic company I visited yesterday.