About the SHL situational judgment test

A situational judgment test is a pre-employment assessment that is used to see how a candidate would react or behave in certain workplace scenarios.

In the SHL Situational Judgement Test, you are presented with scenarios that are based on realistic workplace situations, often involving some sort of problem that needs to be solved. These scenarios are specific to the job role that you have applied for, and they can be presented in several different ways.

Some scenarios will have a written description of the situation, while others will be presented as an animated video.

Following the scenario, there are several different courses of action that you could take to deal with the situation, and you need to decide which one would be closest to the way you would deal with it.

The multiple-choice options might all be workable choices, but the recruitment team is looking for responses that demonstrate that you have the right personality traits and work behavior to be a good fit for the workplace culture and that you have the right level of proficiency in certain soft skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership.

The SHL Situational Judgement Test is untimed, so you do not have to rush to answer the questions and can think about how you would behave in the given scenario.

While the SHL Situational Judgement test is most likely to be found in the application process for a role, they are also used for development purposes for employees already in a role. They can help to define learning plans and identify employees for access to promotions and leadership roles.

SHL Style Situational Judgment Tests

How to prepare for and pass an SHL Situational Judgment Test

As the situational judgment test is a bespoke assessment designed for the role you have applied for, the questions are all relevant to situations that you may well come across if you were to get the job.

It is important to bear this in mind, as the scoring for a situational judgment test is not the same as for other pre-employment assessments. The benchmark for a verbal reasoning test, for example, might be that you need to get 80% or more of the questions right or perform better than 80% of the other candidates to be selected to move forward in the process.

The SHL Situational Judgement Test is marked against what is known as an ideal candidate profile. In many cases, this is a benchmark that is set by having employees already in the role of taking the test, identifying the different ways that they would deal with a problem, and making that the correct answer.

This becomes more relevant when you are preparing to take a situational judgment test, especially when you know that there may be more than one viable course of action to take. The recruitment team will be looking for the answers that demonstrate your leadership style, how you like to communicate, your conflict resolution skills, and how well you match the core values of the business.

To prepare yourself fully for the SHL Situational Judgement Test, you need to be sure of what the recruitment team is looking for in a candidate, and what the role will require you to do. There are several ways you can research this, but the best place to start is with the job description, where there will be a clear indication of the skills, aptitudes, and competencies that the employers want.

Example Questions

Example One:

It is Friday morning, and your team has a presentation to make to senior staff members after lunch. One of the team members has not completed their part of the presentation, and it is a crucial section that needs to be done otherwise the presentation can not go ahead.

What do you do?

1) Do the work yourself 1) Complain to your line manager that your colleague is not pulling their weight 1) Speak to the colleague and see whether they need some support 1) Call a meeting with the whole presentation team and work together to complete it

All of the above answers could be considered relevant responses, but the one you choose will depend on your style of teamwork and how you behave at work. Some people prefer to just ‘get on with it’ and would choose to just get the work done, while others might be more likely to try and help other people. The least useful course of action at this point, based on the given information, would be to make a complaint to the line manager, as that isn’t going to solve the issue at hand.

Example Two:

You are dealing with a customer who has a complaint about the service that they have received from another colleague. From what they have described, the other employee did not deal effectively with the problem and behaved unprofessionally towards the customer. The employee has been reported for similar behavior before. However, the customer is complaining about something that cannot be changed as it is a part of the service process. During the conversation, they ask you what you think about the issue.

How do you respond?

1) Tell them that the employee has a history of being rude and unhelpful 1) Tell the customer that their complaint is pointless as there is nothing that can be done 1) Agree that there has been a problem in communication and pass it to a manager 1) Comment that the communication might not have been the best, and ask the customer what they want to do about it

In this scenario, the reputation of the business is under discussion, and you will want to ensure that the customer gets some sort of resolution to their problem. Taking sides against a colleague, even if they are in the wrong, might not be the most professional approach, and some might consider that passing the customer to a manager might be the right solution.


Can I fail an SHL situational judgment test?

As SHL Situational Judgement Tests are part of the pre-employment process, if you do not meet the required benchmark of scores your application will not be taken further.

Failing at the situational judgment part of the assessment process might demonstrate that your preferred working behavior, personality traits, or leadership skills are not at the right level for the role that you have applied for.

How are SHL situational judgment tests scored?

Your answers to each of the scenarios in the SHL Situational Judgement test are compared to a benchmark set as an ‘ideal candidate profile’. These are the answers that demonstrate the right level of soft skills like communication and teamwork, but also leadership style, personality traits, and work behavior that is necessary for success in the role.

SHL Style Situational Judgment Tests

Why are SHL situational judgment tests used in the pre-screening process?

In an SHL Situational Judgement test, each candidate is put into workplace scenarios that are both realistic and relevant for the position that they have applied for. This makes them a really good way for the recruitment team to see how each candidate would behave in different situations, especially when there might be some sort of conflict that needs resolving.

Are SHL situational judgment tests difficult?

SHL SItuational Judgement tests can be difficult, especially as they require some imagination to put yourself into the scenario and think about the best way to deal with the problem. This can be more challenging if you don’t know what the recruitment team is looking for in a candidate.

Tips to Pass the SHL Situational Judgement Test

Tip 1: Do your research

Before you take on a situational judgment test, be clear on the skills, aptitudes, and competencies that the employer and recruitment team want you to demonstrate.

You can find out a lot of information about the workplace culture as well as the core values of the business by looking at the website, especially if there is a careers section. You will have already focused on listing the relevant skills that are needed in your resume and cover letter, but you are going to need to actively demonstrate that your values and behaviors match those of the business when you are choosing the right course of action.

Another place to get some idea of what the recruitment team is looking for is in the job description itself. You’ll be able to see if you will need leadership skills or to manage projects. You’ll also get an idea of what soft skills you might need, like communication, delegation, and other interpersonal skills.

Tip 2: Practice tests

While SHL Situational Judgement tests are usually bespoke for the role that you have applied for, taking practice tests will help you become more familiar with the way the questions and scenarios might be presented, and how the different options for possible courses of action might be phrased.

They will also give you confidence in answering the questions in the real thing because you will be more aware of what to expect.

Tip 3: Prepare your brain

When you are taking any type of pre-employment assessment, you are likely to feel the pressure - and you can help yourself to perform at your best by ensuring that you are as healthy as possible.

Try and get a good night’s sleep before the test, and eat a healthy, balanced meal. While nerves might make you feel like eating is the last thing on your mind, your brain is a machine that needs the right fuel to work quickly and efficiently, and food is important - as is adequate hydration.

Tip 4: Read/watch each scenario carefully

Unlike some of the other pre-employment assessments, SHL Situational Judgement Tests are untimed - which means you can take your time to complete them.

One of the most important things you can do to maximize your chances of meeting the benchmark score is to understand the scenario that is being presented. Whether it is an animation or a written description, repeat it a few times so that you feel more familiar with what is happening.

Some candidates prefer to think of the right way to deal with the problem before they look at the possible courses of action that are suggested to be sure that they are choosing the action most like the one they would take in the real world.

Tip 5: Be honest

Although you want to get the job that you have applied for - and you will be thinking about the values, behaviors, and skills that the recruitment team is looking for when you are answering these questions - you must be honest.

Not every candidate is suitable for every role, and your skills might not be appropriate for the role that you have applied for. As an example, if you are a person that prefers to work alone and deal with logical problems, you might not excel in a sales role that requires lots of extroverted communication skills.

The recruitment process is as much about the company fitting you as it is about you being a good fit for the company, and the SHL Situational Judgement Test is a good way to get an idea of what the role will entail before you start, which could indicate that this isn’t the role for you.

Being honest in your answers might not get you the job you have applied for - but it will show you more about where your skills might lie instead.