What skills do bankers typically need?
To work in the banking sector you will need a very logical and structured approach to solving problems and completing tasks. It goes without saying that you will be expected to have a certain level of aptitude in working with numbers and figures, and should have an analytical mind.
Bankers read data and apply the results, acting upon it where necessary. They take numerical data from a range of sources, and must use analytical skills to see the bigger picture to advise stakeholders, clients or managers.
Although bankers need a strong grasp of numerical data, they must also have the communication skills to explain complicated processes to stakeholders and customers. They must be articulate and confident when addressing everyone they work with, including customers, colleagues and senior managers.
As banking is a competitive and fast-paced sector, a good banker will continually strive to improve and grow within their role. There is a lot of scope for career progression in banking, so motivated and ambitious employees willing to dedicate the time and effort tend to do particularly well.
What psychometric tests do banks typically use to assess these skills?
As part of their recruitment process, banks need to establish that applicants have the desired skills. To do this, they often administer an online banking test, made up of various psychometric tests carefully designed to test aptitude and ability.
Typically, you will be tested on numerical reasoning, situational judgement, abstract reasoning, verbal reasoning and your personality type. Results of these tests give an indication of how you might perform as an employee in a banking company.
Numerical reasoning tests
Banking requires quick thinking and the ability to not only understand numerical data, but to interpret it, draw conclusions, manipulate data according to the task, and identify any anomalies or potential problems. You will also be required to generate reports that explain your findings to clients and stakeholders.
A typical numerical reasoning question might present data in graphs or charts and ask you to analyse it, draw a conclusion, and choose the most suitable recommendation from a selection of multiple-choice answers.
Situational judgement tests
As an employee of a bank, you represent the company values at all times. A situational judgement test is designed to assess how well you understand what is expected of you, and how you apply this to situations that may arise in the workplace.
A typical situational judgement question would describe a scenario and offer multiple-choice options for possible responses. You will be asked to place the options in the order of how appropriate and suitable you think they are, from most suitable, to least suitable.
Questions often present a moral or ethical dilemma that has no clear or obvious answer. Your answers give the employer a picture of your integrity and honesty and how you might fit into the company culture.
Abstract reasoning tests
An abstract reasoning test allows your employer to assess whether you can take information, quickly analyse it and spot patterns, and apply your findings to work situations.
As an employee of a bank, you will need to not only understand and manage data but also use your findings to make suggestions, compile reports, influence clients and stakeholders, and raise concerns.
The abstract reasoning test is designed to assess logic and analytical skills. You will be presented with a series of shapes that all follow a logical pattern or sequence. A typical abstract reasoning question would require you to identify the pattern and select which of the presented options is the next shape in the sequence.
Verbal reasoning tests
Communication skills are vital for a role in banking, as you are expected to translate complex results and data, identify any issues or problems, and communicate quickly and clearly with the appropriate person.
The verbal reasoning test is designed to assess your ability to understand and analyse written information, identify important points, draw conclusions and make recommendations.
A typical verbal reasoning question might present an excerpt of text followed by several statements. You must read and interpret the text, then decide whether each of the statements is true, false, or you do not have the necessary information to say.
The verbal reasoning test will be of moderate difficulty because although banking focuses primarily on numerical skills, a candidate with well-rounded skills is likely to perform better in day-to-day work situations.
Workplace skills are important for a career in banking, but your employer also wants to know how your personality fits with the job role with their company. A personality test assesses the way you approach problems, your outlook on life, and how you interact with those around you.
A typical personality test question might ask how strongly you agree with the statement, ‘I sometimes lose track of time and have to catch up on my work in the evening’. The answers range from ‘Strongly agree’ to ‘Strongly disagree’. Your answer reveals how you manage your time, prioritise your work and maintain a good work-life balance.
By the end of the test, the employer has a good idea of how you manage your work and life, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.