Interview Guide: Interview Tests

This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:


Technical Tests

These are extremely varied and you are well advised to try to seek the advice of the recruiter to understand what to expect. Find out if you will be writing code, answering multi choice questions or general technical questions. Find out which subjects the test will cover, will it be general or specific. Get as much advice from your recruiter about the technical test to give yourself the best chance of success.

It is difficult to give specific advice at this point as the tests are so varied, but if it’s a Java role then one thing that will help is to go through this mindmap. It is a breakdown of the SCJP study guide so gives a great holistic view of the many components of Java. If you look at it when preparing for an interview it can highlight any gaps in your knowledge. Also spending 15 minutes reviewing the map on the way to an interview can help make sure that the relevant technical term is on the tip of your tongue not the back of your mind:
Aptitude Tests

Aptitude Tests evaluate a particular ability such as numerical, verbal, diagrammatic etc. The tests are administered under exam conditions and are often multiple choices. There are various practice tests available on the Internet and in books and whilst practicing will not necessarily improve your primary ability, it will help to increase your familiarity with tests. When completing aptitude tests, make sure that you read the instructions and questions thoroughly and understand exactly what is required. If you get stuck on a question, don’t spend too much time on it, either put your best idea down or leave it, remembering to go back later on. Most tests get progressively more difficult, so take your time and try not to rush to complete all the answers, remember that it is the number of correct answers that counts!

Psychometric or Personality Assessments

Psychometric or personality evaluations assess your personal qualities by your responses to questions or statements. Unlike aptitude tests they are conducted in untimed conditions and are likely to offer multiple-choice answers. Questions relate to different aspects of your personality, such as your working style, how you interact with other people, what motivates you etc. There are no right or wrong answers; the employer is assessing how well you will fit the role. You should respond naturally and honestly, it is difficult to try and guess what the employer is looking for and it can also be counter productive. These types of assessments often have reliability checks built in to evaluate how realistically you have answered the questions and furthermore if you do not answer the questions genuinely you may end up being offered a job, which does not really suit you! In conclusion, whatever kind of test you come across, treat it as you would any other form of assessment – prepare beforehand, read and follow all the instructions carefully and ask for feedback so you can benefit from the experience for the future.


This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:

Originally titled ‘the top 2%’ the copy has been researched, compiled and edited continually over the last five years by the team at RecWorks Ltd. An IT recruitment consultancy aimed at spotting and developing technical talent with a focus in Java and Graduate developers.

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