Situational Judgement Tests

Situational judgement tests assess how you deal with scenarios and challenges that come up in the workplace.

  • What are situational judgement tests?

    A situational judgement test, commonly referred to as an SJT, is a form of psychometric test used by employers during recruitment to learn more about each applicant's character.

    SJTs are based on speculative workplace scenarios. Each test will be focused on the particular job you're applying for, but all will invite you to complete a series of multiple-choice questions.

    You'll be required to read the scenario-based question quickly and carefully. Then you will have to select what you believe to be the best solution to the issue out of several possible answers.

    You can't fail an SJT, as judgement is subjective. However, the recruiting team will analyse your answers. Pulling key insights into your aptitude for the role including communication skills, team working, relationship building, and commercial awareness. For leadership roles, SJTs may even measure your vision for strategy and long-term planning.

    As all SJTs are role or sector-specific, it will also give you as an applicant the opportunity to understand some of the situations you would face in the role, which might be invaluable to someone just starting a new career.

  • Why do employers use situational judgement tests?

    Situational judgement tests are used by recruiters to identify the most suitable candidates for a role receiving a high volume of applicants, or where interpersonal skills are of the utmost importance to the role.

    SJTs are used by all different sectors from law and finance to high street retailers. Each employer will have bespoke tests that align with their companies values and behavioural expectations. SJTs are designed to capture how naturally you would fit into an organisation on a macro scale and perform daily duties on a micro-scale.

    Situational judgement tests are especially good at assessing soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills which cannot be truly reflected in a resume. SJTs are often taken online and alongside other psychometric tests to get a holistic view of your aptitude for the role.

  • How do situational judgement tests work?

    Though most employers will have customised SJTs, there are commonalities across all of them which you can familiarise yourself with to prepare.

    SJTs are multiple-choice tests that are occasionally timed. You will be asked to respond to 25-50 workplace scenarios using the set of answers provided for each one. We encourage you to work instinctively as opposed to how you think the company would want you to respond - as this is supposed to give an honest insight into your character.

    You will most likely be asked to do one of two things: select the least or most effective response listed or rank options. Beware of clearly unethical, politically driven and passive responses, as these are never the right choice to make. You receive one mark for each correct response.

  • What skills do you need for situational judgment tests?

    SJTs measure a broad range of skills that offer insight into a candidate's character. They tend to be soft skill focussed, and what a particular test may be trying to extract will depend on the company at any level of the position you're applying for.

    Desirable entry-level skills would include the ability to work in a team and build positive relationships, good communication and an organised approach to work. However, senior leadership roles would also call for a demonstrated ability to influence and motivate people, negotiate and think strategically.

    The test questions will always be framed as commonplace work scenarios, enabling you to show your potential employer how you're likely to react to challenging everyday issues. The best way to show up confidently on the day is to use practise tests to familiarise yourself with likely examples and the format.

  • How best to prepare for a situational judgement test

    There are several things you can do to feel prepared for your upcoming situational judgement test. Though the test content itself isn't something that can be revised - you can start by researching and understanding the company you've applied to work for. The employer will have based their situational judgement test questions around their mission and values, responding to situations with their approach in mind will always be of benefit.

    Understanding the role you have applied for will also help you when taking your SJT. Having a clear understanding of what skills and characteristics the test is measuring you on will help you contextualise the scenario and land on the correct response. But most of all, we recommend undergoing as many practice situational judgement tests as possible.

    These will prepare you for the format of the test and questions and analysing the results will highlight where you're unsure what the best call would be. You can use this information to strengthen your confidence and research the companies preferred response to these particular scenarios.

  • Effective test-taking strategies

    Along with the steps we've just mentioned, there are additional strategies you can employ to maximise your impact when taking an SJT.

    Firstly, you can ask your recruiter what test provider is used, this enables you to take specific practice tests - or at the very least research what makes that provider's test style unique so that you are prepared for any differences.

    We advise revising expected values, this includes those of the company, but what would also be legally right or wrong. Matters such as client confidentiality and GDPR are not to be led by casual judgement and can be researched ahead of time.

    Lastly, you can gain knowledge of how others have previously found the recruitment process and specific tests. Websites such as Glassdoor offer an opportunity to anonymously share your experience interviewing and working for a company. Take the responses on here with a pinch of salt, but see if you can uncover specific guidance on what to prepare.

  • SJT Tests Tips

    Let's pull together the top tips for gliding through your situational judgement test.

    1. Research company values

    This is going to be the most illuminating preparation you can take. Getting to know the company that you are applying to work for and the type of people they hire will help you to respond with their ideas in mind.

    Reading press releases, external communications, mission statements and values will all support your research.

    2. Answer with ethics in mind

    During SJTs, ethics will always come into play. A company may give the impression that they are laid back about rules and regulations, but there are universal standards to be met when dealing with people, personal information and confidential material.

    Be sure to familiarise yourself with basic employment law and GDPR rules for the more technical scenarios and always be inclusive and compassionate in people-led scenarios.

    3. Practice tests

    This really is the best way to step into your situational judgement test feeling calm and confident. Practice tests prepare you for a multitude of workplace scenarios you might not have been able to think up yourself. The results give you an insight into where your judgement waivers and allows you the opportunity to strengthen that ahead of the actual test.

    4. Be time conscious

    Though most situational judgement tests are not timed, you don't want to dwell on questions for too long. Remember, all the information you need to answer the question is given, so remain in the context that is given and refrain from letting your mind wander to unknown variables.

    You want to demonstrate a confident and considered approach to your decision making. Spending too much time on your answers would convey undesirable uncertainty to recruiters.

    5. It's okay to guess

    It's likely you won't be 100% certain of every single answer, in this case - be confident and go with your gut. Always answer the question, as you might guess right and gain a few points you wouldn't have had by skipping the question.

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Situational Judgement Tests FAQs

How are situational judgement tests scored?

Every answer will be grouped depending on the skill being tested. Then, the combined score for each skillset is compared to the answers of a normative group - people who have already proven they have what it takes to succeed in the role.

What are situational judgement tests used for?

The test is another way for employers to learn more about the people they’re hiring. Situational judgement tests in particular aid this, as all of the questions mirror workplace dilemmas and problems that come up a lot - every answer you give helps an employer to get a clearer idea of the type of person you are and how well suited you are to the job you’re applying for.

What do situational judgement tests involve?

You’ll have to answer multiple questions, each one testing how you respond to challenges that come up a lot in the public sector. The test is multiple choice, so you’ll have to choose the answer you think is most appropriate from a few potentials.

What do situational judgement tests measure?

The tests measure everything from your problem solving abilities and communication style, to commercial awareness and relationship building skills.

Where can I practice situational judgement tests?

At Practice Aptitude Tests you can practice situational judgement tests. There’s also handy tips and tricks from the experts that’ll help you work through the test questions.

Which employers use situational judgement tests?

Situational judgement tests are probably the most popular aptitude test used by employers. Public sector employers often utilise the test as part of the hiring process as they know they’ll get to scrutinise each candidate's strengths and weaknesses in more detail.

Reviews

What our customers say about our Situational Judgement Tests

  • New Zealand

    January 14, 2022

    Very fun!

    It was fun that you could only pick two out of four answers, instead of ordering the four possible answers from most to least likely or vice versa.