6 common interview tests (and how to effectively prepare)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many candidates assume that the hardest part of the interviewing process is answering an interviewer's questions. Despite this, a question and answer session is sometimes only one element of an interview, with the other potentially involving the completion of interview tests. Knowing about the common interview tests and how to prepare for them can improve your chances of securing a new role. In this article, we list six popular interview tests you may encounter during an interview, outline how to effectively prepare for them and look at some tips for succeeding in your next interview test.

Common interview tests

Common interview tests typically involve completing short projects or puzzles that test a candidate's knowledge and whether they're suitable for the role to which they're applying. The nature and style of an interview test may vary depending on the role and employer. Below are six common examples of interview tests:

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are interview tests that evaluate your skills in a particular field. They determine whether you can perform the duties of the position to which you're applying. Since so many applicants have the same educational background and qualifications, aptitude tests can be an effective way of helping organisations to cull less suitable candidates. This type of interview test usually lasts for approximately 30 minutes and uses a variety of testing methods to analyse your aptitude for a specific role. Some of the common types of aptitude tests you can expect during an interview include:

  • Numerical reasoning: This test assesses your ability to interpret numerical data, such as ratios, percentages and averages.

  • Logical reasoning: This assesses your ability to think logically by seeing if you can recognise patterns and identify sequences.

  • Verbal reasoning: This assessment tests your ability to comprehend and understand written language and draw conclusions from text.

  • Inductive reasoning: This test assesses your ability to find solutions to problems when faced with unfamiliar information.

  • Abstract reasoning: This assessment tests your ability to identify and interpret non-verbal and non-numerical patterns.

  • Diagrammatic reasoning: This test assesses your ability to interpret flowcharts and diagrams.

Related: What are aptitude tests? Definition and 11 free resources

Personality tests

Personality tests are interview assessments that evaluate your personality and whether you'd be a good fit for the organisation. These tests give recruiters an idea of how you might get along with other people, especially your colleagues, and tell them whether you're the perfect cultural fit for the organisation. When taking a personality test, you're usually required to answer a series of questions that describe you, your beliefs, work ethic, communication style and interpersonal and teamwork skills. Some examples of common personality tests include:

  • The Big Five test: This measures five personality traits, including openness, agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness.

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): This measures your inclination to one of the two traits in the following groups, including intuition vs. sensing, extroversion vs. introversion, judging vs. perceiving and thinking vs. feeling.

  • The Hogan: This test evaluates your personality and how well it fits with the specific role to which you're applying.

  • DiSC: This assessment, which stands for dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness, measures your dominant personality traits.

Related: What are the big five personality traits? (With definitions)

Specific skills tests

Specific skills tests analyse whether you have the required skills for a highly specialised role. For example, if you're applying for a web development position, the interviewer may give you a test that assesses your knowledge of programming languages, coding and IT concepts. These assessments may also require you to solve problems you're likely to encounter in the role, alongside requiring you to highlight your abilities and skills to assess if you can efficiently perform the role's duties. Recruiters mainly provide specific skills tests for roles that require technical and advanced skills, such as engineering, programming and data analysis positions.

Job simulation tests

Job simulation tests analyse how well you can perform in an actual work setting. A good example of this is a presentation, where the recruiter asks the interviewer to present a topic or discussion during the interview. For this test, the goal is to assess the candidate's ability to present a convincing, enthusiastic and engaging topic and evaluate how they adapt to unexpected problems and changes. Job simulation tests vary from employer to employer, but some common ones include role-playing, take-home, in-person and online assignments.

Written tests

Written interview tests assess an applicant's skills, knowledge and abilities on various matters related to the job to which they're applying. They also test their communication skills and are usually around 40-60 minutes long. In a written test, the recruiter may ask you to write an essay or report, review a document or answer questions on word processing software. These tests vary depending on the role, but they all require you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a specific field.

Related: Passive vs. active voice and when to use each type of writing

Group activity tests

Group activity tests evaluate a candidate's ability to work in a team and collaborate with their colleagues. Recruiters and hiring managers use these tests for roles that require teamwork, constant collaboration on projects and regular liaison with other departments to meet a company's bottom line. Some common examples of group activity tests include:

  • Case study: For this type of test, applicants discuss a business case study or scenario with everyone and clearly express their views.

  • Role-play: For this assessment, applicants act as if they're in a business environment and perform a few work-related tasks.

  • Group debate: During this test, the interviewer presents a topic for debate and applicants present their findings and conclusions.

Related: 7 example group interview questions (plus sample answers)

How to prepare for interview tests

Below, you can find out how to effectively prepare for an upcoming interview test:

1. Take a practice test

Taking a practice test before your interview ensures you know what to expect, which can help you to better prepare for the actual test. You can find numerous practice tests online, including personality tests, such as the Big Five, and various aptitude tests that can improve your performance in these assessments.

It's essential to note that practice tests only give you a baseline for understanding what you can expect in the real assessment. With this in mind, avoid memorising your answers, with the hope of getting the same exact test in your interview. Instead, focus on developing your confidence with each test and reducing your anxiety.

Related: Pre-Employment Tests: Definitions, Types and Benefits

2. Get a good night's sleep

Most interview tests are long and require total concentration to pass. This makes it beneficial to get a good night's sleep the night before to ensure you're well-rested and alert. Taking your test when you're drowsy and fatigued can adversely affect your responses, which may decrease your chances of succeeding.

3. Ask for the test format

Most employers give applicants information regarding the interview tests, which allows them to prepare effectively. This can be anything from the test format, such as whether it's a group, individual, in-person or online format, to the name of the company organising the assessment. If the hiring organisation doesn't provide you with information about the test, ensure that you ask questions about it beforehand, as you can use this information to find appropriate practice materials online.

Related: A guide to the INFJ personality test result (plus careers)

4. Understand the role's key competencies

Interview tests assess whether you have the skills, knowledge and abilities required for a specific role. An easy way to demonstrate that you possess these skills is by knowing and understanding the key competencies for the role. To do this, look at the role's job description and take note of the responsibilities and requirements. Then, identify how your skills match or fit the description or whether you possess transferable skills that are vital to the position.

Related: How to prepare for a competency-based interview (with sample questions)

5. Study for the test

Some interview tests evaluate your knowledge in a specific industry, market or field. For these assessments, studying beforehand is essential as it can help you to master any vital information that you can apply to the test. For example, if you're applying for a financial analyst position, you might study the various profitability models, cash flow statements and the processes for creating financial reports. Here, the goal is to gain as much knowledge as possible about the role you're applying for to highlight your expertise and knowledge in this area.

Tips for succeeding in your interview test

If you wish to succeed in your interview test, consider the following tips:

Read the instructions carefully

To succeed in your interview test, ensure that you know what each section of the test is looking for before attempting to complete or answer it. This way, you can improve your chances of answering correctly and minimise the risk of making unnecessary mistakes and errors. It's also advisable to read the test's instructions at least twice to fully comprehend what the interviewer wants.

Take your time

It can be tempting to rush through timed tests to complete them quickly, but this only decreases your chances of succeeding. Instead, you're better off taking your time to read and understand each question before answering or responding. In addition to this, try to remain calm and think carefully about your answers to improve your chances of providing effective responses.

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