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Situational judgement test: what is it, and how is it used in recruitment?
Aptitude tests are now a common part of the recruitment process. They allow employers to assess the suitability, both culturally and in terms of the core knowledge of large groups of candidates by providing them with multiple-choice questions and scenarios. One of the most popular varieties is the Situational Judgement Test (SJT).
Read on to learn about what these tests entail and how they work.
What is a situational judgement test?
During an SJT, you are given a variety of scenarios related to the day-to-day challenges and responsibilities of the job in question. Each scenario incorporates a range of responses and you'll be tasked with rating the effectiveness of each response. For instance, if you're applying for a leadership role, you could be presented with a scenario in which two of your team members are unable to work effectively together and asked to choose which of the example responses would deliver the best results. The scenarios can be presented via a range of media, from standard text to audio and video.
Whereas most psychological tests are generic, SJTs are built from the ground up to incorporate the specific demands of the position. As such, they tend to be favoured by both candidates who get a feel for the job and hiring managers.
Why are they effective?
The bespoke nature of an SJT allows employers to assess a candidate's judgement against the realities of the role. Not only does this help to establish your understanding of the basics of the position, but it also demonstrates whether or not you're a strong cultural fit for the organisation.
Other advantages of SJTs have also been identified. A landmark study from Belgium's Ghent University discovered that the results are less skewed against candidates from minority backgrounds than other types of aptitude test. This is particularly significant given that a survey from the High Fliers Research Centre revealed diversity targets are seen as an important challenge by 69% of organisations - far more than any other factor included in the survey.
The scenario-based methodology of SJTs can also help to reduce staff turnover. By considering a range of practical, real-world challenges, candidates are given an insight into the demands of the role. This means that if you're offered the job, you should already have a solid understanding of its challenges and complexities.
How are SJTs used during the recruitment process?
The tests are most commonly presented to candidates before the interview stage, as this gives hiring managers an effective way to identify applicants who understand the nuances of the role, and those that will fit in with the workplace culture. Ultimately, candidates who demonstrate the best judgement during the test stage are more likely to make smart decisions and perform strongly, if they get offered the job.
To learn about the different types of aptitude tests used by hiring managers, read our article: 'Aptitude test: What you can expect in an interview process.' For more career tips, browse all of our advice here or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to discuss your career options.