Situational judgment tests


Situational judgment tests (SJTs) are a popular type of or component of the psychometric test given to job-applicants by their prospective employers. As the name implies, SJTs are used to assess job-applicants judgement regarding a work-related situation. If you are asked to sit a SJT, you will be exposed to job-related situations or scenarios in the form of a description of a dilemma or problem which requires you to draw on your relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, or other characteristics (abbreviated as KSAOs). These realistic hypothetical scenarios are either provided in written or video format. Typically, job applicants are asked to indicate how they would deal with such situations by choosing an alternative from a list of actions. Alternatively, as a job-applicant you may be asked to evaluate/judge each of the potential actions provided in regards to the likelihood that you would perform it or how effective you think it would be. SJTs are custom made to suit the job requirements. Therefore it is important that you practice psychometric tests with situational judgement tests specific to the job you are applying for. Practicing SJTs prior to the psychometric test will enable you to emphasise job-relevant KSAOs. This is highly important given that your prospective employer will be drawing on your SJT responses to predict what your job performance would be in the particular role you are applying for. 

The ‘other characteristics’ measured by SJTs include your interpersonal skills, common sense and procedural knowledge, all of which can be seen as reflecting your general cognitive ability. Thus it is important that you gain some experience and practice with SJTs before undertaking your ‘real’ psychometric test so that you are comfortable and experienced with responding to SJT items in a way that emphasises your job-relevant KSAOs. Thus in order for your SJT responses to reflect that you possess the job-specific characteristics required, you need to practice drawing on the knowledge you have gained through your experience and/or formal education, prior to undertaking the real psychometric test. Moreover, practicing SJTs in psychometric tests will reduce the likelihood that you will draw on non-job-relevant KSAOs when sitting the real psychometric test.

Lastly, given SJTs measure multiple factors, it is important that you prepare for psychometric test with SJTs. For instance, within the domain of knowledge and skills, various job-relevant characteristics would be measured such as: your knowledge of the interrelatedness of units, your knowledge content, your ability to manage tasks and your team role knowledge. Additionally, within the domain of interpersonal skills, various characteristics may be assessed including: your negotiation skills, your level of social intelligence, how effectively you work with others and your level of social intelligence. Aspects of you personality are also likely to be assessed through the SJT, including how conscientious, agreeable and adaptable you are. These are just some of the characteristics that may be assessed by SJTs in psychometric tests through your responses to the various hypothetical problems and scenarios presented to you. The key point is that the scenarios and problems will vary according to particular jobs, to assess particular characteristics considered necessary to be successful in the role you are applying for. So it is important that you practice psychometric tests with a SJT component specific to the role you are applying for, one which mimics the real test, prior to undertaking the ‘real’ test.