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Psychometrics aptitude tests for managers

Many people think that when a company hires a new manager, he or she can be evaluated only after an interview and a trial period, but for a manager of any level, from the head of the department to the CEO, psychometric aptitude tests for managers are even more relevant than for junior employees.

Surveys conducted in early 2020 showed that 79% of companies in Europe and about 71% of all companies in the world with more than 100 employees use pre-employment psychometric tests. And by 2021 this number worldwide will reach 84-85%.

Psychometrics aptitude tests for managers and managerial jobs

And the higher is the position for which the company is looking for an employee, the more likely it is that psychometric aptitude tests and assessments will be used for the initial assessment of applicants.

According to CEB SHL research dated December 2018, worldwide aptitude tests are used to select candidates for 70% of junior positions and 75% of managerial jobs, starting from workgroup or department heads. For positions of the highest management level, this figure is 81%.

In largest by the number of employees economies like China, India, Russia and Brazil this distribution is slightly different: psychometric aptitude tests more used to assess entry-level positions and positions of the level of department heads, while companies rely more on traditional recommendations, personal contacts and business intelligence to select senior management. In China and India combined aptitude tests are used for:

  • 66% of positions at the starting level (most of all in the banking sector, FMCG and call-centers – 81%);
  • 83% of positions of the initial and middle management level;
  • 61% of positions of the highest management level.

Thus, the chances of testing and assessment center are the highest, if you apply for the job of junior or middle level manager. Such jobs include a large number of positions, they are fundamentally important for companies and they have the highest competition among applicants.

In this article, we will review in detail aptitude tests for managerial positions.

Objectives of psychometric aptitude testing for managers

Employers use aptitude tests to select managers with the experience and skills necessary to carry out specific work responsibilities and quickly weed out weak candidates.

In addition to employers, psychometric tests are widely used for government and civil contests for picking the best candidates to work in governments of all level in many countries.

What can you do to successfully pass these tests, get the desired job and the ability to grow quickly in your career?

Objectives of psychometric aptitude testing for managers

First of all, do not try to deceive the tests, trying to adjust. You still won’t succeed. But it’s worth getting acquainted with as many of aptitude tests as possible in order to better understand their format and, in general, increase your chances to score high.

If you have already practiced such tests before, then you are more likely to be able to show yourself at your best. Also, according to the tests given by your prospective employer, you can better assess your potential place of work: this is a valuable source of information for a competent candidate.

Employers are very serious about aptitude tests, you also need to take them seriously.

What do aptitude tests for managers assess?

The first mentions of pre-employment exams for civil officials candidates – a of tests for executives – are already found in ancient China of the Han Dynasty. The most famous developer of ancient aptitude tests for was Confucius and his followers in the imperial office of the Celestial Empire. The leaders of that time, with the help of many checks, searched for intelligence, knowledge and moral integrity.

Psychometric tests of the modern type were introduced to select officials and commanders in the military departments of the United States and England during the First World War, and after the Second World War this process began to be widely used in private business to evaluate managers at all levels.

psychometric tests to assess managers competences

At present, psychometric tests are an integral part of the HR process in most large companies. The use of aptitude tests can significantly save time and resources on the initial assessment of applicants. This is a quick, accurate and objective way to test a large number of candidates.

When assessing applicants for managerial positions, companies primarily check three key qualities necessary for success: competence, work ethics and emotional intelligence. Although employers primarily look for these qualities in resumes, references and job interviews, they need additional information to decide about your employment. The success of the entire company depends on the quality of the selection of employees for positions in management, and just a resume and interview are not enough. Psychometric testing allows you to make a much more accurate forecast for the future success of a manager than an analysis of his education or experience.

Let us consider these three qualities that managers need in more detail.


Competence is usually tested by intelligence tests with multiple answer options. These are the so-called intellectual ability tests, which are designed to assess the overall level of mental abilities of a candidate. They can be either well-known IQ tests or highly specialized tests for specific knowledge and skills, but in general they are questions to determine what you know, you can do or will be able to do in the future.

The most common types of aptitude tests are numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and abstract reasoning tests. For employers, these tools are a great complement to the resume and interview, especially when all candidates have similar characteristics.

For you as a candidate, an important part of intellectual ability tests is that you do not have to work them out to perfection. Companies rely on them only to make sure that you have a sufficient level of intellectual ability: you just need to get into the top 20-25% candidates. To do this, it is enough to gain 80% and above the correct answers, which is quite achievable results after 3-4 days of preparation.

A relatively new trend is the use of psychometric tests to evaluate candidates for managerial positions. Other names of such tests are situational judgement or behavioral. Like intellectual ability tests, situational judgement tests offer you a specific problem, but the answers present several possible solutions and there are no unambiguously correct or incorrect ones among them. The criterion for the correctness of the answers is determined by experts or representatives of the employer: they themselves determine which answers score high and which low. Situational judgement tests for managers are usually not limited in time and their focus is more on experience and knowledge than on general intellectual abilities. In addition, in situational tests, their content is associated with the performance of a specific managerial role, while roles are not prescribed in intellectual ability tests.

To prepare for situational judgement tests, you will need to study the values and rules of the company you are working for and this is the same preparation that you need to do before an interview.

Work ethic

Most companies are looking for managers who are ambitious, reliable and trustworthy. These qualities of a mid-level manager determine not only his success in fulfilling the assigned tasks, but also how well he will fit into the structure of the company and how well he will interact with other employees of all levels. To determine these qualities, questionnaires or psychometric tests, such as perosnality tests, are usually used to clarify typical patterns of behavior in a particular situation. Such tests can show how a person will behave in a difficult working situation that requires a choice. For example, as in the tests below, to intervene or pass by, that is very important for most employers to know.

We wrote the “most” because there are companies that are looking for a more specific set of work ethic qualities. For example, Reckitt Benckiser, a well-known manufacturer of FMCG products to promote many of its brands, for example, Durex, is looking for people who are “cool to impossible”, so that they can even behave in a defiant way. This example is a reminder that different companies and different departments in the same company can look for different people for different tasks.

Situational tests for managers for emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence

Since the psychologist Daniel Goleman introduced this concept, companies around the world began to pay great attention to this quality, and this is deserved attention. Many studies show that emotional intelligence is closely linked to overall work performance, entrepreneurial potential, and leadership talent. For managers of all levels, the importance of emotional intelligence is even higher, because a manager is someone who constantly interacts with different people and bears responsibility for many things.

Employers usually evaluate the level of emotional intelligence in an interview, but a growing trend is the use of psychometric tests for managers. Such behavioral tests may take the form of personality questionnaires or situational judgement tests with a detailed scenario and answer options. Your choice of answers can create a very accurate and objective picture of your most likely behaviors when communicating with other people, for example, in interpersonal conflicts. The main task of aptitude tests for emotional intelligence is to determine how capable you are of empathy and understanding the feelings of other people.

Situational tests for managers can include a huge number of variations. Usually they evaluate your ability to make decisions, being under emotional pressure or in a situation of choosing the answer that is most suitable within the framework of working etiquette.

Some companies have gone even further in applying situational judgement tests for managers. For example, Heineken use them in real life when interviewing candidates in the form of unforeseen or uncomfortable situations. This may take the form of a welcome handshake that becomes too strong and intrusive or in a situation where the interviewer who meets you is late for the meeting, and then pretends that he does not notice you and passes by. Such situations are actually situational tests designed to assess your emotional stability, communication skills and team spirit.

Although some of the behavioral test scenarios for managers may seem too simple and even stupid, they allow employers to create a fairly accurate picture of the applicant’s emotional intellect and responsiveness — qualities that are vital to certain roles and organizational cultures.

Types of situational judgement tests for managers

There are several basic types of situational judgement tests for managers at all levels.

The most and the least effective answer

In a psychometric test of this kind, you are given a scenario describing the problem and 4-5 answers options suggesting your answer to this scenario. Your task is to determine the most and least effective answer.

You are the head of the customer support department at a large call center. You just heard how your staff member told the client over the phone that he was “taking everything too close to his heart,” and then that he “needed the help of a psychiatrist.” You do not know what the conversation was about, but the employee finished the conversation, and you can come up and talk with him.

 situational judgement tests for managers

Please see the end of the article for the answer and explanation of this test. First try to find the answer by yourself.

Rating questions

In such questions, you need to arrange all the answers options by rating from the most productive to counterproductive. Sometimes the same rating can be used only 1 time, and sometimes more than once.

Situational judgement tests for managers: most and least effective

Rating questions in which you want to arrange answers by efficiency from 1 to 5

Where 1 is least effective and 5 is most effective. Sometimes the same rating can be used only 1 time, and sometimes more than once.

Rating questions in which you want to arrange answers by efficiency from 1 to 5

The most and least likely answer

 A variation of the test with the most and least effective answers is the test with the most and least likely answers. In them, you are required to determine the actions that you are most likely to take, and which you are least likely to take.

The most and least likely answer

Tests with one correct answer

The main type of situational judgement tests for managers remains the test to determine one correct answer – your first answer, your best answer, and so on.

Situational judgement tests for managers with one correct answer

See the end of the article for the answer and explanation of this test. First try to find the answer by  yourself to test your competencies.

How to prepare for aptitude tests for managerial positions?

After you understand the types of tests for managers and the qualities that employers try to determine, we’ll give some tips on how you can improve your ability to quickly and accurately solve situational judgement tests for managers.


In preparation for their exams, students practice hundreds of training tests: this is the best way to come to the exam and pass it successfully. The same applies to the pre-employment aptitude tests. Practicing many example tests can give you a significant advantage.

According to our data, approximately 50% of job seekers in one way or another prepare for tests or assessments. And this is the right tactic: after 4-5 days of practice and preparation, the average score grows by 20% – usually this is more than enough to successfully pass the testing stage, even for high-level managerial positions.

First of all, we recommend preparing for numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning tests. These tests are used by all large employers without exception.

If you apply for a managerial position, then most probably you will have to pass personality tests for managers. At Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com you can prepare for all the main types of psychometric tests for managers used by leading companies.

Practice personality tests for managers

A 2018 study of 50 US scientific papers, including 130,000 participants, proved that practice of pre-employment  tests improves the results for four reasons:

  1. It reduces excitement. The more practice tests you take, the more familiar they are for you and the more confident and calm you will feel at the next test.
  2. Practice helps identify weaknesses in order to give them attention in advance and improve performance.
  3. Practice strengthens proven tactics for passing tests, such as skipping and returning to difficult questions. You will learn to ignore irrelevant information and avoid mistakes in understanding tasks. This significantly increases the speed of passing aptitude tests or situational judgement tests.
  4. Practice enables you to strengthen those specific qualities that employers need. This is the most valuable result of practice.

Of course, your practice will be more effective if you know exactly what types of tests your employer uses. Feel free to ask about this and ask for sample tests from representatives of the HR employer or other people from this company. Recruiters are paid for successful job seekers, and in most companies (Google, Microsoft and ExxonMobil, etc.), existing employees are rewarded with bonuses for recommending new candidates.

Use your Personal Features

A 2016 study by the American Psychological Community (NCBI) shows that personality type, daily activity rhythms, and stimulant intake significantly influence mental performance. This also applied to psychometric tests for managers of all levels.

For example, neat and conflict-free people do better in the first half of the day and should avoid taking stimulants, nootropics, even coffee, because at this time they are already at the peak of their physical and mental activity. For extrovert creative individuals, the opposite is true: they need time and coffee to swing in the morning, but after lunch and closer to evening they have a rise in activity and stimulants should be avoided. Thus, if you can choose the time for passing the tests, consider your personality type and wisely approach the choice of nutrition and stimulants.

aptitude tests for managerial positions

Be yourself (within reason)

This recommendation is most suitable for psychological and personality tests for the competence of a mid-level manager. You should not lie: sometimes it can partly increase your chances of getting a job, but not the fact that such job will suit you. Quality tests have mechanisms for recognizing abnormal or fake answers, and experienced HR agents quickly notice that the answers in the tests and the real behavior do not match. Thus, during the tests and assessment it is still better to be the best yourself: clearly demonstrate your strengths and not expose weaknesses.

For example, in most cases it is worthwhile to show yourself as a passionate person, but not to the extent that you criticize others or act unethically. Competent employers try to look for managers with a moderately high rate of ambitiousness or with a combination of high ambitiousness and altruism. When something becomes too much, this often leads to negative consequences.

Most large companies test candidates for managerial positions based on already established competency models. This is a set of skills, qualities and values that are inherent to their best employees who already work (for example, department heads) according to whose criteria new candidates are evaluated for the same positions in management. Before taking the tests, you need to carefully study these values and priorities of the company before employment and try to follow them on tests and assessments. Typically, this data is widely publicized on corporate sites and other public sources.

Since employers consider situational judgement tests for managers a valuable source of information about applicants for senior positions, you should be prepared for all types of such tests. Most companies use simple questionnaires with 4-5 answer choices, but increasingly sophisticated situational tests for managerial competencies appear on the market. For example, with elements of gamification (games), where you need to earn points or chips. Some companies study and use data from your social networks and compile tests based on them. It is expected that in 2020-ies tests, especially for experienced professionals and managers, will become increasingly complex and innovative.

Important recommendation: in preparation for situational judgement testing, consider tests not as a way to get confidential confessions out of you, but as a way for you to learn more about your potential employer. Situational judgement tests for executives can give you valuable information about the company you are interested in: how they conduct business in it, how success criteria are defined, what traits are most valued. Tests give you the opportunity to assess the expectations of the employer, and this can be very useful in your career.

Situational tests for managers

Last tip from Aptitude-Tests-Practice: remember, preparation is the key to success. If you know that  you have to pass pre-employment aptitude tests, including situational tests for managers, start your practice without wasting time. On our site you will find all main types of tests for managers of  all levels. Take advantage – get ready.

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Answers and explanation of the tests examples:

You are the head of the customer support department at a large call center. You just heard how your staff member told the client over the phone that he was “taking everything too close to his heart,” and then that he “needed the help of a psychiatrist.” You do not know what the conversation was about, but the employee finished the conversation, and you can come up and talk with him.

Situational judgement tests for managers: most and least effective answers

The strategy for responding to tests to find the most and least effective answers is, first and foremost, is to determine generally positive and negative answers.

Answer options 2 and 3 are positive in this test. Answer options 1 and 4 are negative. Of the positive, answer option 2 is clearly better, since answer option 3 is an order to call back an annoyed client and apologize, most likely, will not solve the problem. In some cases, this answer option could even be attributed to negative answers.

Of the two negative answer options, we need to choose the worst. In this test, this is not as easy as it seems. In these answer options, there is clearly a different focus on the development of events. Answer 1: the threat of dismissal of an employee for some employers, where team spirit and team relations are among the highest priority values, may be the least acceptable option for the development of events and will be considered the worst answer. But if the priority for the company is primarily the quality of customer service, then the worst answer option will be answer option 4 – ignoring the employee’s rudeness in relation to the client.

Thus, the best answer option (most effective) is 2, the worst is 4 (least effective).

Test with 1 answer:

Situational judgement tests for managers with one correct answer

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