How to be a good interviewer
Being a good, effective interviewer requires more than just having a charismatic personality.
Verbal reasoning tests are a type of psychometric assessment that helps employers make more accurate predictions about whether a candidate will be a good fit for a role. Many employers now use verbal tests during their recruitment and selection processes and they can be a great help in allowing recruiters to better understand whether a person has the verbal aptitude to succeed in a job.
Verbal tests are also used by some employers to help identify the training and development needs of businesses and their teams. In this case the test would be used as more of a diagnostic tool that helps to provide a more objective way of finding out peoples strengths and weaknesses.
Many recruiters use verbal tests to supplement their decision making, rather than just relying on a CV or gut instinct alone. If you're applying for a job that requires you to sit a verbal test, it is important to know what you're up against so you can show your best self.
Generally speaking verbal reasoning tests will come in 3 levels of difficulty;
Verbal critical reasoning
The most commonly used type in recruitment today is the verbal reasoning test, although for more senior positions you may be asked to complete a verbal critical reasoning test as well.
Verbal comprehension tests tend to be the simplest type of verbal assessment. Verbal comprehension tests are typically displayed as simple information followed by a series of 'yes/no' or 'true/false' answers.
The questions will have been designed to test your understanding of the information presented. The trick here is to show that you can read and understand a level of information that you would likely encounter on the job itself.
You can easily spot a verbal comprehension test by the yes/no, multiple choice answer format. Tests that include other options (like 'cannot be sure') will likely be a higher level of difficulty.
Verbal reasoning tests are the most common type of verbal test that you're likely to encounter in your job search. The information that's presented in these types of test will be more complex than that of a verbal comprehension test. The format will usually be multiple choice and will typically have more options that just a yes/no.
Verbal reasoning tests measure a more advanced type of verbal ability. You will not only need to understand the information but will be expected to reason with it. This means you must show that you can make decisions based on the information presented as well as being able to understand it.
Verbal critical reasoning tests are the most advanced type of verbal assessment. These type of tests will usually contain high-level, complex information that simulates the demands of senior level positions.
The questions will be designed to assess your ability to draw conclusions from and make complex decisions based on the information presented.
Verbal critical reasoning tests are used in recruitment and development processes that require the highest levels of verbal ability such as lawyers, who need to digest high levels of complex information, solve difficult problems and make important decisions based on the info presented.
Your personal best score is the maximum score you can hope to achieve on any verbal reasoning test. In order to attain your personal best score you must tackle all the causes of low test scores. These causes fall into three broad categories:
Lack of knowledge
Lack of strategy
Lack of practice
The term 'personal best score' comes from classical test theory. This is a model used by business psychologists in the development of cognitive ability tests to interpret candidate results. Classical test theory states that for any given test people have a true-score of ability. This true score perfectly represents the individuals ability on that test.
It is very difficult to 'revise' for a verbal reasoning test in the way that you would a school exam. Modern day verbal reasoning tests require no prior knowledge so revising for them is impossible. You can however prepare - which is likely why you're reading this.
Knowledge of verbal reasoning tests will help to ensure you are prepared for the session. It's important to let go of any misconceptions and try to gain a good understanding of the format so you can calmly progress through the test to the best of your ability.
The company that has asked you to complete the test should provide you with details about the specific test they're using. Once you know this you can do a bit of prior research into the test provider. This will ensure you're prepared to deal with anything unusual that may crop up during the test.
Modern day verbal ability tests don't take marks off for getting an answer wrong, so if you are struggling to answer, give it your best guess anyway.
Try to make sure you are in peak form before you do the test. It sounds obvious but try to get a good night's sleep, make sure you arrive early and try to remove any distractions or needless stressors beforehand.
If you're attending the test in person then you will need to listen carefully to what the test administrator is saying. If the test is online you won't need to listen but you will definitely need to ensure you read everything carefully so no key bits of information is missed.
Ensure that you know exactly how much time you will be given to answer the questions so that you can pace yourself more effectively. Most tests offer some form of timer. If they don't you can use the clock on your computer and a pen and paper to keep track of how long you're spending on each question.
This mainly applies to those taking a test at home and online. Obviously you should try to sit the test at a time when it is relatively quiet and free from distractions so you can concentrate on answering.
If you're struggling to answer a particular question don't spend too much time on it. Leave it and move on to the next one. Many online tests will allow you to go back and re-answer. If the test doesn't allow this then you will need to make your best and most educated guess.
When you're unsure of an answer do not just guess randomly. Try to narrow down the options as much as possible to increase your chances of getting the question right. It is always better to use a 'best guess' than leave the question blank.
If you complete the test before the time limit runs out then you should use the additional time to go back and check through your answers. Try to focus on the questions you found the most difficult.
The vast majority of test publishers will provide practice materials for the tests they offer.
Employers won't always send the practice materials to candidates meaning you will have to search for them online yourself as part of your preparation.