Financial recruitment and psychometric tests

What are finance recruiters testing when they ask you to take psychometric tests?

Companies in the finance sector, especially investment banks, are infamous for making extensive use of numerical, verbal and psychometric tests as part of their recruiting process. However, there are many aims of the tests used in financial recruitment. Psychometric tests are not only used to test your mathematical ability.

Clearly, the banks do not have the resources to interview every candidate that applies for a graduate job. An easy and inexpensive way to make the first cut in the applicant pool is to give what is basically an IQ test and select the best performers. While a high IQ doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a great employee, an above average IQ is often a prerequisite for most jobs in finance that typically require strong numerical abilities.

Tests show your ability to work well under time pressure and in a competitive environment

Many applicants are very smart but can, unfortunately,  crumble in the face of competition and pressure. The ability to think fast is a skill that is critical and that is also measured in those tests. This is particularly important for banks because finance is a fast-paced industry where many decisions need to be taken under time pressure.

Basic business and common sense is also tested

Many of the questions in the verbal or numerical tests will be related to economics or current affairs. Therefore, the tests will also measure your basic understanding of the business world and business jargon.

Psychometric tests aim to see how well rounded you are

Psychometric tests are really about evaluating your interpersonal skills. Will you be able to handle conflicts, work well in teams, get along with your peers? are you a well-balanced individual (i.e. not a work alcoholic or bookworm, for example)?

Motivation, hard-work and preparation skills

Finally, recruiters expect applicants to come well prepared. They know that a wide range of resources are available at the school career centres and on the Internet, therefore they believe that there is no excuse to come unprepared and get poor scores on tests. If someone is motivated enough they will make sure they practise.

Employers want to test many skills in financial recruitment and psychometric tests are a good way of assessing both abilities and motivations.