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Love them or loathe them, psychometric tests are now used to assess the suitability of potential employees widely in the business world and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. So if you haven't already undertaken one, the chances are high that you will at some point. Knowing how to succeed in psychometric testing is your ticket to progressing in your Data or Analytics interview process.
When it comes to psychometric tests there really is a vast array available with at least 5000 aptitude and ability tests currently on the market and every year new ones are devised and added to this. Every company needs to differentiate theirs and this has produced a bewildering range of test names and acronyms.
Tests range from the more standard Personality tests through to specific Aptitude or Ability assessments, which are designed for different skill sets, including verbal ability, numerical aptitude and abstract reasoning. Some companies use a combination but all are designed to identify an individual’s aptitude, personality or ability aligned to a particular role. These tests have been established over many years and are often used with specific groups defined by educational level or job type.
Whatever type of test you experience, the majority are taken online and are generally included during the early stages of selection, as part of either preliminary screening or at the initial interview stage of the recruitment process.
The way that you are likely to perform in a job depends very much on your personality. A personality test is often used in conjunction with interviews to provide a useful insight into your personal style, personality type and how you see yourself. The results of these tests are derived from the answers to a series of multiple choice questions.
There are no right and wrong answers – this test is designed to find out how your behavior is applied to different workplace scenarios. They will ask for information about you, for example do you prefer working in a team or as an individual. You will be required to say true or false, or they may use a rating scale with 1 being what you are most like through to 5 for what you are least like. You should answer each question keeping your focus on which is most/least like you in a work context. Be prepared for anything from 50 to a much more detailed 300 questions.
The great temptation with these tests is to give the answer that you think they want, rather than the true answer, but this really does defeat the point of the test. Additionally, the more complex versions of these tests often ask similar questions in a variety of ways, looking for a trend. If you give conflicting answers to two similar questions it will look as though you have not been answering truthfully. Most people will find that their true answers will match well with what the employer is looking for, but if not then it probably means that it is not the job for you!
In direct contrast, these tests are designed to assess your logical reasoning or cognitive ability and results provide a more objective measure of your potential. They consist of a number of multiple choice questions and can be classified as speed or power tests and will be strictly timed. Speed tests, consisting of questions which are relatively straightforward, focus on how many you can answer correctly in an allotted time. A power test will present a smaller number of more complex questions and is favored when recruiting for professional or managerial level roles.
Aptitude and ability tests can include a combination of:
These tests usually consist of 30-40 questions which need to be completed in 15-20 minutes and involve grammar, verbal analogies and ask you to follow detailed written instructions. They can also include spelling, sentence completion and comprehension. These tests are widely used since most jobs require you to understand and make decisions based on verbal or written information, or to pass this type of information to others.
Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure your problem solving ability. These questions may take the form of comprehension exercises, which are straightforward (as long as you remember to read the relevant part of the text carefully) or more complex statements where the best tactic is to make notes about what you can deduce from each part of the text. These tests usually consist of 10-15 questions which need to be completed in 20-30 minutes.
Questions could also focus on verbal critical reasoning, designed to assess your ability to use words in a logical way and measure your understanding of vocabulary and the relationship between words. Some questions measure your ability to perceive and understand concepts and ideas expressed verbally.
These tests include a combination from simple addition and subtraction through to more complex data interpretation and numerical critical reasoning, where blocks of information are provided that require manipulation and interpretation. Numerical tests are strictly timed and a typical test might allow 30-40 minutes for 30-40 questions.
Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to use numbers in a logical and rational way, rather than your educational achievement.
These tests involve looking at diagrams, interpreting the information and understanding underlying patterns in the information. Abstract reasoning tests are thought to give the best indication of your general intelligence and are very widely used.
In this test you are presented with tables and graphs of data, and you must check them against one another. This type of test is used to measure how quickly and accurately errors can be detected in data and is a useful test for roles that deal with large quantities of data that must be read, understood and sorted through accurately.
Depending on the test/s you undertake your results will show a whole range of your characteristics. From what motivates you, your core strengths and limitations to your mental agility and lateral thinking, as well as how well you are matched to the role in question through to how quickly you learn and your ability to hit the ground running in a new job.
Your results will then be assessed in relation to other candidates applying for the role, or candidates who have applied in the past and took the same style test/s.
Psychometric tests aren't about luck; prior preparation will improve your scores and make it easier to focus on what is being sought in the testing process. It’s an old adage that practice makes perfect – but some psychometric tests are not looking for perfect – they are looking to assess your skills, knowledge and attributes against a very specific set of criteria. So the key to giving the best possible answer / score is to be prepared.
Treat this as a positive challenge rather than a potential hurdle in your job hunting and take some practice tests. There are a myriad of practice tests available, so there is absolutely no excuse not to practice and familiarize yourself with the different formats beforehand. And if there are different test ‘levels’ available, practice using the those rated as the highest level of difficulty - that way you will be ready for any level when it comes to taking the real thing! As most of the aptitude style tests are timed, get used to answering a lot of questions within a time limit and learn to balance speed and accuracy.
There are a whole range of companies that specialize in psychometric testing. For practice tests, search for the following companies: (Note that some organizations do charge for you to take practice tests)
For both the practice and actual tests, make sure you have sufficient time to complete them and you can do so in a quiet environment, with no chance of interruptions.
Secondly, it’s better to answer 30 questions correctly/honestly depending on the type of test, than to finish the test but rush so much that you make factual errors or make choices that do not reflect your personality within a work scenario.
And finally, while there are no wrong or right answers in personality tests, there can be indicators of areas in which you would benefit from self-improvement, such as training in ethics or assertiveness. And if a particular aptitude is not up to scratch – consider continuing with relevant practice tests to improve these areas.
With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.
Visit our News & Blogs portal or check out our recent posts below.
This week I was fortunate enough to head down to the Watermark Conference for Women alongside our SVP, Stephanie Brooks. As we enter 2020 and women continue to shatter glass ceilings, Harnham firmly believe in a proactive approach towards placing more women in Data & Tech roles. Diversity and inclusion are integral to our story and core beliefs and we strive to continually re-evaluate how we create measurable change in the marketplace and redefine the metrics of successful and excellent recruitment. For us, attending the conference was a chance to meet and learn from some of those women who are leading the way. Every talk inspired me in some way but there were a couple I really connected with, and I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on how they impact the work we do at Harnham. WHAT IS WATER? One talk that struck a chord with me was Seth Godin’s breakfast keynote, inspired by a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace in which he famously tells a story of two fish out at sea. The story goes: “There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes ‘What the hell is water?’”. Godin’s speech was meditated on how attitudes and beliefs are the indicators of future success. In his speech, Godin echoed Wallace’s sentiment that “freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in a myriad of ways every day.” Recruitment is an industry where it is easy to swim along without questioning what water or recruitment really is. To question what is water - what is recruitment - requires thoughtful analysis, careful consideration, and of course, “attention, awareness, and discipline”. As the global leaders of Data & Analytics recruitment, we remind ourselves daily that we are responsible for making meaningful change. Water is, to us, what we make of it. For Seth, his water is marketing. For Harnham, our water is recruitment and we stand by Wallace’s challenge to stay conscious and alive in our jobs. Day in and day out Harnham will continue to make the case for agency recruitment to be diverse and inclusive, as this is in the best economic interest of our clients. THE ECONOMY OF DIVERSITY One of the most insightful and compelling moments of the day was a conversation between Pat Mitcheel and Indra Nooyi, the former chair and CEO of PepsiCo. Having directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade, Nooyi is uniquely poised to discuss the importance and power of having women in every capacity within an organization. During the conversation, she highlighted the statistics that measure the success companies achieve when women have equal representation at all levels. Currently, gender parity exists in entry-level positions but is absent in the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the workforce. While Nooyi highlighted that having a diverse and inclusive workplace should be an integral part of every company’s corporate social responsibility, she argued that this also leads to unprecedented economic growth. This aligns closely with our view of Diversity at Harnham, something which we examined in more detail in our Diversity Report. For Nooyi, in making the case for the economics of diversity, she used the work of care economists to show how implementing policies that affected the unique interests of women are proven to not only keep women in the workforce and draw them back to work after children but are also shown to increase the economic output of countries. Institutional change at the corporate level and policies focused on those who have care-giving responsibilities have been shown to positively influence economic growth and increase the happiness and productivity of workers. BREAKING OUT As a woman working in a fast-paced and competitive environment, I also took a number of insights from the various break-out sessions held throughout the day. Here are a few highlights: Women Breaking Barriers: Michelle P. King, Andrea McBride John, Pat Mitchell, Samantha Rapoport Find a mentor, be a mentor. Find a sponsor, be a sponsor. Find a sister, be a sister.Take up space and own it Share your successes with the women and men around you Building a Network of Relationships, Not Just Contacts: Laura Okmin Focus on asking people who they are, not what they do Reach out when you don’t need anything, maintain relationships The Myth of the Nice Girl Nice people build trust, trust is the foundation of all business relationships You don’t have to choose between kindness and strength If you want to break glass ceilings, we may have an opportunity for you. Take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. For our West Coast Team, call (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For our Mid-West and East Coast Team, call (212) 796 - 6070 or send an email to email@example.com.
14. February 2020
One of the things I like to most is to meet our candidates face-to-face. Because most them are local, it’s simple. We call them in and the traditional interview process begins. But, sometimes, the best person for the job or the clients themselves aren’t local. Enter Zoom or Skype or any such communication method where you can see the person you’re talking to. While it’s a step in the right direction, it’s not the complete step. Why? Because you can’t pick up on those subtle clues you might miss, if the meeting isn’t in person. Going The Extra Mile for the Right Placement One of my colleagues recently shared a story with me. She’d been working with a candidate via Zoom for a placement in another State. Though the candidate and the client were both in the area, she wasn’t. The communication with the prospective candidate felt right, but she just wasn’t sure. To ensure she was making the right placement, she traveled to meet them. She wanted to meet the candidate to get a better understanding of him before she was able to successfully place him. Fortunately, it wasn't on the other side of the country, but, it was definitely something that needed to happen. In today’s hyper-digitized world, it's important to remember that the ability to meet in person is an advantage. From the Client’s Side From an office perspective on the client’s side, an in-person meeting offers further advantages. The client can see how the candidate will interact in the actual environment of their business. A birds’ eye view of how the candidate handles themselves in the cultural atmosphere of the business, if you will. In sharpening their focus, the client can also see how a candidate’s appearance, point of view, and communication side affect their performance at the interview and beyond. We make these snap judgements without realizing it, but they’re important. And you can’t really get a good idea of the person over the phone or via email as it can occasionally be difficult to read a candidate’s intentions. At Harnham, we have tried to spearhead the interaction point of view for our own relationships. One of the most unique aspects of our business our dedication to the people we place and our clients we serve. So, navigating data-driven trends with our face-to-face culture finds a distinctive focus as we enter the Age of Data 2.0. A Shift Toward Pipeline Experience With U.S. office locations in both New York and San Francisco, we have a variety of clients from startups to Fortune 500. So, to say one thing is definite in one place or another is a stretch. But, there is a trend, here in New York for professionals with pipeline experience or Machine Learning model development. On the flip side, a growing trend in the San Francisco market has most of their clientele looking for a Machine Learning Engineer profile within the pipeline development lifecycle. So, while we’re (New York) a little bit behind, it’s a trend I’m seeing on both sides of the spectrum within the last six months or so. Though it’s not exactly the unicorn employee, clients seek, there is shift toward higher level oversight. Someone who will be responsible for the entire pipeline. Demand remains high for a field still facing a data shortage. Though the U.S. still lags behind the U.K. and Europe, it’s catching up. As businesses focus on their data strategies in the new year, below are a few things to consider before you hire or accept. Top 3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire From the client’s side determine and the role you want to fill. Ask yourselves the following: What’s the objective of the role you’d like to fill? What is the goal?What contribution do you want from the person in that role?What is your timeline to have that person on board? What happens if you can’t fill the role within your timeline? Top 3 Questions for Mid-to-Senior Level Candidates Did you list the business impact of your list of accomplishments? Can you communicate as easily with your Data team as you do with the Executives? Clients are looking for a mix of technical understanding and the ability to communicate to technical and non-technical audiences. Are your projects keeping you engaged creatively? When was the last time you were given a new initiative, new project, or new client to partner with? If not, then it may be time to search or perhaps consider a contractor role for a fresh perspective. If you’re interested in AI, Big Data or Digital and Web Analytics, we may have a role for you. Check out our current opportunities or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more. For our Mid-West and East Coast Team, call (212) 796 - 6070 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For our West Coast Team, call (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to email@example.com.
13. February 2020
Jacob Glanville features in the new Netflix series ‘Pandemic’, discussing the pioneering progress that he and his team at Distributed Bio have been making in the world of bioengineered medicine. This week we sat down with Jacob Glanville, CEO of Distributed Bio, field leaders in advanced computational immunoengineering of biomedicines. Featuring in the new Netflix series ‘Pandemic’, a look into the teams that are fighting to prevent a global outbreak of disease, Glanville is a highly renowned expert with an incredible track record. With a PhD from Stanford, and having spent four years as a Principal Scientist at Pfizer, he left to found Distributed Bio. With Sarah Ives, Director of Influenza Centivax at Distributed Bio, the team is developing a new class of universal, utilizing pioneering computational technologies. “We use high throughput computational docking to try to help characterize how many unique epitopes might exist on the surface of a viral coat protein or a pathogen protein. Then, we also use computational methods to identify distinct elements of those diverse members of viral cost proteins from lots of different evolved versions of the same pathogen. And that's the centerpiece of how our vaccine technology works. We co-administer a bunch of really different variants all at a low dose so that only the shared sites are essentially at a high enough dose to be responded to.” This technique allows for Distributed Bio to create vaccines for almost any virus, at a fast pace, and in a safe environment. For example, with the recent outbreak of the SARS-derivative Coronavirus, Glanville is working in collaboration with US military and World Health Organization’s program allows the creation of ‘pseudo-virion’ versions of the disease that can be examined without posing a significant risk: “They take chicken pox, and flow over the outside of the chicken pox, the cost protein of a more serious virus, like the Coronavirus. So it behaves like a Coronavirus and it looks like one on the outside. Like the crunchy M&M shell is, is Coronavirus, but it's got the soft gooey M&M chocolate of, of chickenpox. It's not that dangerous. We are setting up a relationship with [the military] where we could use our antibody discovery library in conjunction with their pseudo-virion particles. We could rapidly discover antibodies against, SARS for instance, without the risk of bringing SARS into our lab.” Their work, however, is not just limited to fighting viral diseases. One of Distributed Bio’s leading projects focuses on creating a universal antivenom to snake bites. With between 80,000 and 130,000 people killed each year by snake bites, the majority of whom live in third-world countries, the need for an easy access and affordable antivenom is high. “There's around 550 snakes in the world and each one has 20 to 70 proteins. It seems like a huge number of proteins you'd have to target to hit all snakes. But, for me analyzing them, they all collapse down to like 10 different clusters and homologous groups that all snakes share.” Having discovered that a universal approach was both possible and realistic, how did they develop the antibodies needed? “Our team [led by Tim Friede, Director of Herpetology at Distributed Bio, Sawsan Youssef, Chief Science Officer, and Raymond Newland, Principal Scientist.] found a man who spent 17 years injecting himself with snake venom from all over the world, because he loves snakes, and we took his blood. We’ve been using lab methods plus computational methods to help identify a series of antibodies that can hit like a bunch of shared determinants.” But, with a team that comprises of roles varying from Data Engineers and Data Scientists to Bioinformatics specialists, the ability to work together is essential. How does Glanville look to create a collaborative environment? “I actually try to cross-train people as much as possible. My feeling is, that the extent to which you can actually cross-train people, the less likely you are to encounter a series of like assumption errors. I think what happens is often down to miscommunication between people who are making errors in the cracks where they have both misunderstood what the other person needed and what the previous person was giving them. If people are able to take their colleagues’ expertise into question when they’re working, you've reduced some of that risk.” Having grown up in Guatemala, Glanville is all too aware of the need for easily-available and effective vaccines, particularly as the Western world grows more wary of injections, largely due to the amount of misinformation that is currently circulating. But he understands that these concerns are often down to trust: “It's hard to communicate an epidemiological recommendation to a global population and not make it one sentence. And so, the loudest sentence becomes ‘get no shots’. I'm hoping that a more effective shot makes the story go away. The problem currently with a flu shot is that it still only works half the time. And so people complain about it. I’m hoping that better vaccines and more reasonable communication will cause calmer minds to prevail.” As for any immediate concerns about the impact of the Coronavirus, he once again turns to the issues of accessibility: “Right now I worry more about Ebola. It's a larger outbreak problem and it's in an area that is poorly served. I think China is pretty good at locking down medical problems.” If you’re looking to build out your team with the industry’s best, get in touch with some of our expert consultants: For our West Coast Team, call (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For our Mid-West and East Coast Teams, call (212) 796 - 6070 or send an email to email@example.com. If you’re on the hunt for your next opportunity and want to join an innovative, world-leading company, we may have a role for you. You can find our latest jobs here. Pandemic is streaming on Netflix now. You can watch the trailer below.
30. January 2020
I am pleased to announce that Harnham have named David Farmer as our new CEO. David has been with Harnham since its inception in 2006 and has most recently being serving as COO. With the new appointment, I will be moving into the position of Executive Chairman. On the move, David says: “I am thrilled to move into this new position at such an exciting time for the company. Having been with the business since the start, I am well aware of Harnham’s potential, particularly as the Data & Analytics market continues to thrive. We have an extraordinary team of home-grown talent at Harnham and I am eager to see where we can take the business next.” David understands Harnham better than anyone and has dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort towards the success of the business. I cannot think of anyone better to lead us through the next stage of our growth. This comes at an exciting time for Harnham with Partners Mark Bremer and Sam Jones stepping up to lead the London and New York offices, respectively. Additionally, long-term team members Ross Henderson and Talitha Boitel-Gill have been named Associate Directors and will oversee the growth of various teams within the UK business. The global leader in Data & Analytics recruitment, Harnham now comprises of 160 people across four offices globally.
29. January 2020