Situational judgement tests (SJT) are now a common part of the recruitment process. They allow employers to assess the suitability of large groups of candidates by providing them with multiple-choice questions and scenarios. SJTs are one of the most popular varieties of aptitude tests that employers utilize today.

Therefore, it’s essential that you enter any job search knowing how these tests typically work and what will be asked of you.

What is a Situational Judgement Test?

During a situational judgement test, the test takers 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 example, 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. You’ll be 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. Your responses gauge how suitable you are for a certain position.

You will likely have your test assessment held in the employer’s office, typically with a time limit. It is unlikely that you will come across a question in your SJT that doesn’t reflect plausible situations that you might come across in the workplace.

Whereas most psychological tests are generic, situational judgement tests are built from the ground up to incorporate the specific demands of the position. As such, they tend to be beneficial to candidates because they get a feel for the job.

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 showcase a professional’s understanding of the position, but also demonstrates whether or not they are a strong cultural fit for the organization.

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 tests. This is especially significant today, as diversity and inclusion is a top priority for many businesses.

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?

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 in terms of attitudes and drive. Ultimately, candidates who demonstrate the best judgement during the test stage are more likely to make smart decisions and perform well if they are offered the job.

Example SJT Questions

If you are unsure about what to expect in an upcoming SJT, here are the types of questions that you might come across:

  • You are presented with a scenario, then asked to choose the best solution from a list of responses.
  • You may be asked to rank the potential responses to a scenario from best to worst.
  • You could be asked to select the best and worst responses to a given scenario.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can get ahead in your job search, browse our Michael Page advice or reach out to one of our expert consultants today.