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Situational judgement tests used by employers and qualities that they test

Each job position or vacancy has its own requirements for the qualities of applicants: their experience, abilities and skills. The first step when employers try to find them is situational judgement testing. But there are qualities that are valuable for any employer and any job. If you are a job applicant, then you will have more chances to get a job of your dream, if you have 12 basic qualities shown below, and you can successfully demonstrate them in the process of employment.

Here are the main twelve qualities that are considered essential in a 2019 study by the American National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). These are universal skills that are valued not only in America or Europe, but anywhere in the world and in any company. And employers check each applicant for the presence of these traits with the help of situational judgement tests, assessment centers and interviews.

Qualities that employers seek in ideal candidates

HR agents made a list of 12 crucial qualities that you need to possess in order to be successful in your career. Here they are:

Decision making

Today’s labor market requires people who are able to quickly assess the situation and make the right decision. To ensure the smooth operation of a company, it is important for the employer that not only managers, but also ordinary employees possess this quality.

A situation where an employee is not able to quickly make a decision right on the spot in the case when it is an urgency can be expensive for the company, both in terms of financial losses and in terms of losing the brand image.

To avoid this situation, employers will give preference to people who are able to quickly make the right decisions in the face of pressure on them from various circumstances.

Problem solving

All of us know that one way or another various problems may arise in the workplace. They can be operational inconsistencies, sales problems or conflicts between employees. Be that as it may, management expects someone to come up with a decent solution.

The presence of people who can solve any problem that arises in the company is what every employer desires. If an employer has such people in its team, the success of the company is guaranteed. Many employers try to find problem solving skills with applicants via different personality questionnaires and situational judgement tests.

Effective communication skills

Fulfillment of duties at any workplace requires the employee to be able to interact with various people: colleagues, management, customers, suppliers, auditors and officials. Therefore, it is important for the employer to find people who are able to conduct a competent dialogue, both verbally and in writing.

For people applying for management positions, the ability to communicate effectively is a prerequisite. In most situational judgement tests the questions for communication skills are the most numerous and take up to 50% of all questions.

communication skills sjt

Finding and processing information

With the development of information technology, it is extremely important for the employer to hire people who are able to extract the necessary information from various sources, process it and deliver it to the right personnel for appropriate actions.

Applicants should know how to use email and Microsoft Office to receive and process information.

Planning skills

Any employee, whatever his duties are, must be able to draw up a work plan. Planning will help you do the job on time. The ability to plan helps to reduce temporary and material losses and increases work efficiency.

The planning skill is especially important for managers at all levels, as they ensure the execution of projects on time. The employer understands how the planning ability affects the employee’s labor productivity, therefore this is one of his main interests in recruiting staff for office and managerial positions.

situational judgement test planning skills

Organization skills

In order for the business processes to go smoothly, you need a good level of organization at the workplace. For employees, the ability to keep their workplace and work process in order with the correct and convenient arrangement of all necessary details and elements is important.

They may also need to keep track of supplies or payments so that by a certain time they know about the status of supplies of materials and draw the attention of the manager. For a manager, his or her organizational skills will allow him/her to effectively plan current work and meetings, control projects, distribute tasks and ensure the productive work of employees.

Ability to prioritize tasks

Since middle-level managers usually have a lot of urgent current responsibilities, an important task for them is to prioritize, i.e., determine the sequence of actions.

This means that you must make a list of activities that you need to carry out, in order of importance and urgency of their implementation.

The implementation of such a plan brings a sense of satisfaction and contributes to the growth of labor productivity of a particular employee and a company as a whole.

The ability to prioritize responsibilities is useful not only for managers, but also for employees, as it increases the level of productivity, therefore it is this quality that is especially valuable for employers. Situational judgement tests often have questions for the ability to prioritize.

The ability to understand and analyze complex numerical and textual data

The ability of employees to analyze various data and present them correctly can help a company make effective decisions.

Managers and senior specialists who excel in their work should possess this skill at high level. Companies usually generate a lot of different statistics and always need to have a detailed understanding and interpretation so that management, understanding current trends, can make better decisions.

Aptitude tests such as numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning tests are just designed to assess the ability of applicants to analyze complex data. These are not SJ tests but aptitude tests are a must-have for any pre-employment process.

Aptitude tests

Technical and industry knowledge

To take some vacancies, candidates certainly need to possess technical knowledge or industry knowledge. Although situational judgement tests are tailored to assess behavioral patterns of applicants, some of these tests may include questions that refer to specific knowledge required for the employer.

Before applying for a job, you must know the requirements of the employer in order to understand how your technical or industry knowledge complies with these requirements.

Experience using computer software

Most of the jobs for both ordinary employees and managers require the use of different office software to perform daily tasks and increase productivity. There are various types of programs used to perform duties in the workplace. The Microsoft Office suite is especially popular in many offices around the world for a wide variety of administrative and business tasks.

Employers usually indicate in their vacancy description those programs that the applicant must confidently know. This is particularly relevant for jobs in audit, consulting, banks and other financial businesses where special tests for MS Office are widely used.

Report writing

Managers of all levels, sales, marketing, accounting personnel and employees of any level of the company should be able to compile a report and edit it in a high-quality manner in accordance with the requirements.

As a rule, the staff sends reports to the management in a timely manner (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually) with a detailed description of the activities of their departments, projects, etc. This helps the management to correctly evaluate the work done and identify tasks for the future. Although this seems a specific knowledge, situational judgement tests are often used to assess this skill.

Seeing opportunity to increase sales

Currently, for most businesses it is extremely important to be able to increase sales. These companies seek to hire people with strong marketing skills and the ability to influence others when making purchasing decisions. This quality is especially important for sales or marketing positions. If you apply for a position in sales or marketing you will need to pass numerous situation judgement tests for sales staff. On Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com you can find many tests of this kind for practice.

Behavioral, personality and SJ tests used to assess the skills of applicants

To assess the qualities that we have listed above, pre-employment situational judgement tests are used. The purpose of the testing is to determine whether the candidate has the appropriate set of skills and qualities in order to succeed. Situational judgement tests are also used to predict the behavior patterns of a candidate if he or she is employed in the company.

The types of pre-employment aptitude tests can be very different, but they all use approximately the same assessment mechanisms and you can prepare for them. As studies show, for unprepared applicants such tests can be difficult. There is statistics from the SHL company that no more than 25% of junior and mid-level applicants successfully pass aptitude tests without preparation – as a result, they receive job offers and the other 75% of candidates fail. However, pre-employment practice of aptitude tests can increase your chances to 90-95% success.

Examples of pre-employment situational judgement tests

On Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com you will find more than 200 SJ tests, divided by type of activity:

  • tests for managers
  • for sales and customer support personnel
  • tests for office and administrative positions.

Below you will find 3 examples of pre-employment situational judgement tests of different types. For the correct answers and explanation of these tests please see the end of the article. But first try to determine the correct answers by yourself.

Test 1 – situational judgement test for managers

Situational judgement test for managers

If you are taking a managerial position and tests are ahead, we recommend that you learn more about them in our special article Psychometric aptitude tests for managers

Test 2 – situational judgement test for sales and customer support staff

situational judgement test for sales and customer support staff

If you about to have tests to assess your ability to work in sales, we recommend that you learn more about them in our special article Tests and Assessments for Sales Managers and for Psychometric testing for call center and customer support jobs

Test 3 – situational judgement test for administrative / office personnel

situational judgement test for administrative / office personnel

Usually the time limit per 1 situational judgement test question is from 1 to 5 minutes. We recommend practice trying to keep within 2 minutes since this is the most common standard.

3-4 evenings that you will spend practicing pre-employment SJ tests, can significantly improve your skills in determining the necessary information and guarantee you a high score on testing.


Find out what tests you will need to pass for the position that you are applying for, and get enough field-proven materials to prepare right now. Preparation is the key for success.


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Correct answers and explanation of the test examples

Situational judgement test for managers

Situational judgement test for managers

Situational judgement test for sales and customer support

Situational judgement test for sales and customer support

Situational judgement test for administrative and office positions

Situational judgement test for administrative and office positions

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