Test Opportunity

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Think of a commonplace scenario. Soon after a job interview has gone well, one is often asked — pronto, “Would you mind having a psychological appraisal?”

While it may be argued that there’s no better way to punching trepidation than asking job seekers to go through the motions of a psychological appraisal — or, psychometrics — the idea has its advantages. It not only determines psychological characteristics, such as mental abilities and personality traits, but also aids the personnel selection process. More importantly, it helps match a person’s characteristics to what is required by the job. In addition, there’s a positive side to it — one you’d use to gain valuable insights into your personality and potential abilities and pilot your career and/or your life in a professionally, also personally, satisfying direction.

Psychological testing needs to be done by experts — not just about anyone who may have a smattering of its overall chemistry. It should also be performed to minimise a costly job mismatch — one that maybe enormously important, not just to the employer, but the candidate, too. Because, it’s debasing for the latter to end up in a position that’s not just right for them.

It Takes ‘Two’ To ‘Tango’

A psychological appraisal falls into two major groups: tests of ability, and personality tests. While the tests of ability are designed to mirror a person’s aptitudes in a range of different areas, the latter provides a way to gaining insight into characteristics that may not be readily discussed, or made evident, at the interview. Ability tests also cover areas such as numeracy, critical thinking, verbal comprehension, reasoning, logical and analytical thinking, problem-solving, and general intelligence. Also, additional specific exercises are included to suit the requirements of a particular job. However, such tests require a combination of speed and accuracy. They often look at how people respond to problem-solving in an environment that has the added pressure of time.

Personality tests are quite difficult to interpret, because some questions appear ridiculous; some may also not seem relevant. Hence, they are sometimes misused. This is one reason why we often hear complaints from candidates who did not receive any feedback, or were told that they had been rejected on the basis of their psychological results. Not surprisingly, people who ‘fail’ are legitimately baffled, “Do I not have a personality?” Worse still, the tests are, sometimes, judged by people, who may not have a good deal of experience, or comprehension, vis-à-vis the nuances of the results.

Things To Do

The best way to approach a psychology test is by getting a good night’s snooze, because if you’re not relaxed, you may not perform at your best. Also, you’d do well to consult various resources available that provide information on the structure of the tests, and types of problems you may be required to ‘fix.’ Test ‘samples’ are also available, yes.

The following pointers would not be out of place too:

  • You ought to know the time of day when you are at your peak level of performance. Also, if you really feel you don’t fit into a given slot, you may solicit another time of the day
  • Stay calm, relaxed, and focused, as intense anxiety can affect your performance. Meditation/deep breathing can be helpful to slow down
  • If you are anxious, tell the psychologist during your pre-assessment interview. This would make them reach a tangible assessment of the results
  • Don’t be afraid to raise a point, especially when you have concerns, or questions
  • Avoid assessing yourself
  • Since many of the tests are difficult to finish within a given period of time, you’ll only increase your anxiety. So, stop thinking that your future depends on your performance in such tests. It doesn’t
  • Be upright. Don’t say something that you don’t really believe in as genuine.

Quality psychological tests have an effective verification cue that reveals when someone’s trying to appear ‘too smart to be true.’ And, while it is also possible that you maybe inexact in your estimation of your employers’ needs, if you do well in the tests and abilities, even when you lack formal qualification/s, you’d have an opportunity to prove you’re intellectually capable of meeting/fulfilling the demands of the job. However, if the employer feels that your personality may not ‘gel,’ chances are you’d not be cheerful at the workplace. It is, therefore, imperative that you ascertain — maybe, in concert with a psychologist, where your skills/abilities fit appropriately, so as to improve upon them on the foundation of your ‘test’ findings.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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