Hiring process is becoming ever more sophisticated, especially in countries like UK and USA. Besides answering many tough questions (which has always been the case), you will often deal with a role play, case study, or even with various tests, such as an IQ test or one in verbal reasoning.

Verbal reasoning tests measure how well you respond to information presented through words rather than numbers, and are becoming quite popular in the interview.

In this article we will briefly introduce you to the tests, show you an example, and bust some myths regarding psychometric testing in the job interviews. Let’s start!


Saturated job market and the reason why companies use tests

As the job market becomes increasingly saturated, employers are seeking out candidates who communicate naturally, who understand the importance of words, and who will be amazing ambassadors for their company. And that’s where verbal reasoning psychometric testing comes in.

Let’s have a look at how this test looks like.

The first thing to expect is comprehension-style questions. You’ll read a passage of test before answering questions based on the information you’ve just read. The answer will either be true or false, or you won’t be able to verify it due to a lack of information. To make sure you understand, have a read through this example:


Comprehension style questions example

Read the passage and choose whether the answer is true, false or cannot say.

“Derivatives and other structured financial products are generally used for positive, risk-reduction purposes. For example, to secure the price of a commodity which is to be “bought” at a future date, but at a price that is set today. However, some academics and economic commentators view these as dangerous and irresponsible innovations in the world of international banking and global financial services.

Traders in these structured financial products are able to make large bets on the change in the price of commodities or currencies and only need to pay a small up-front deposit. Such traders can accumulate huge exposure to losses which could be devastating to their employers.

Skeptics believe that one day such products could lead to financial ruin for a bank if one or more derivatives traders chase their losses over an extended period of time. In summary, complex, structured financial products are a necessary evil to meet the demands of modern-day capitalist societies.”

Example question and answer:

Question: Traders typically make large amounts of money out of structured financial products.

Answer: Cannot Say. The passage doesn’t say whether traders typically make large gains on derivatives and other structured financial products.

* Special tip: You can also have a go at one of our FREE psychometric tests–they are common in interviews in big corporations and some practice can definitely help.

Man is working on a computerized test in his interview

Things aren’t as straightforward as they seem

It seems straightforward, so why do people worry about these tests?

Any timed exam is likely to make you feel a bit nervous. And it is tough to deliver your best when you experience stress, or anxiety in an interview.

But with our verbal reasoning tests, the question format is the same each time. So once you know what to expect, you can work on improving your answering time, familiarizing with the tests, and getting rid of stress in the process.

These tests are purposefully not straightforward, that’s how you challenge people to read between the lines and extract the information they need quickly. But each time you complete one, you learn valuable skills that will undoubtedly come in useful–not only in your next job interview.

Common myths about these tests can also contribute to people feeling nervous about taking them. Let’s bust a few of them.


MYTH 1: It’s pointless investing in verbal reasoning for technical jobs.

Whether you’re a chemical engineer, programmer, a doctor, or an artist–you always need to communicate with others to do your job successfully. And that’s what verbal reasoning helps with. Being able to read, process, understand and relay information quickly and clearly will serve you well, whatever you choose to do.

Conclusion: There’s no shying away from it, communication is the key.


MYTH 2: You have to read every day, there’s no point in practicing these tests.

Well sure, if you don’t want to pass, don’t look at any tests beforehand. But the key with these tests is being able to process information and extract facts under time pressure.That does take a little getting used to, and each practice will help you to get used to this pressure.

Luck favors the prepared mind in every interview. The more effort you put into your preparation, the better your chances of succeeding will be.

Conclusion: There’s no perfection without practice.


MYTH 3: Mock tests are the only way you can prepare.

This isn’t the case at all! Reading, be it books, scientific journals or newspaper articles is an easy way to prepare. If you want to go the extra mile, you can try summarizing what you’ve read by writing it down or relaying it to a friend. This is a great way to check you’ve understood everything.

Conclusion: Knowledge is power, and there’s no better way to get informed than by reading.

people are all smiles at the end of a job interview

Conclusion and next steps

Hiring process is getting ever more complicated, especially if you apply for a job in a big corporation that uses a variety of tests in the interviews.

We aren’t here to debate the effectiveness of using these tools, and whether they deserve their place in the interview process. The facts remain in tact–companies use these tests, whether you like it or not. You can either prepare for them in advance, or risk being screened out before you even got a chance to talk to the managers in person…


Continue your preparation with Interview Penguin:


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