Situational Judgement Tests

Situational Judgement Tests assess how you approach situations encountered in the workplace. They are built around hypothetical scenarios to which you would be expected to react accordingly. Based on your answers it will be verified how aligned you are with values and behaviors of a particular company.

Situational Judgement Tests

What are situational judgement tests?

A situational judgement test, also known as an SJT, includes a series of scenarios that you might encounter in the workplace and asks you questions to reveal how you’ll respond.

Each company will value different competencies which they’ll be specifically looking to test.

What is the situational judgement test format?

Whilst Situational Judgement Tests vary in form, usually, you will be presented with a number of descriptions to which you are obliged to provide an appropriate response from a multiple choice list. So, try to be as sensible as you can and use the full capacity of your emotional intelligence.

The good news is that in some of the industries, employers are relying on relatively stable competencies that have been sought after for years. Communication skills, commercial awareness, building relationships and teamworking are just a few of them.

How to pass situational judgement tests?

First and foremost do your research. There are many competencies you can expect to be tested, but they’ll likely be specific to the employer and the role so do your research beforehand. Find out what they’re looking for as their SJT’s should reflect this.

While choosing your answers, it’s good to make use of your sensibility and emotional intelligence, however, this not always might be enough. This quite straightforward and simplistic formula of these tests can be misleading. Candidates usually complain that they stumble upon really similar answers or tricky questions. In order to know how to successfully navigate through those traps, practice some SJT’s first.

How will I know which competencies are being tested?

The short answer is that you won’t. However, by reading the role description and understanding the company you’re applying for, you’ll get a pretty good grasp of the competencies the employer is seeking,

Both the company and the role description will provide clues as to the type of desirable competencies the employer is seeking.

Below you can find some examples of the common competencies being tested for in situational judgement tests.

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What kinds of competencies do SJT’s test?

Below is just an example of core competencies they test.

Outstanding Communication Skills

These tests largely concentrate on your ‘people skills’ so, good communication and networking abilities should earn you a few points. But what really constitutes a good communication? In short, this is how you relate to others, and how good you are at adapting the style of a conversation to successfully influence and communicate with people. Behavioural thinking and a good level of empathy are therefore necessary to succeed, as you would be expected to effectively communicate your information both orally and in writing, in a manner appropriate to the audience, with clarity and purpose.

Team Spirit

You might have been a soccer star in your secondary school, but collaboration on a football pitch can be different from the one expected in the work environment. While taking the Situational Judgement Test, remember to demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively and empathetically within diverse teams. With the required efficiency in mind of course. Being a team member for some employers might also mean – putting the needs of the team above your own and being able to demonstrate openness and honesty with all the members. This is usually achieved by encouraging, listening and supporting your team pals and wider team members.

Good Networker / Strong Relationship Builder

You need to know how to successfully network with your team members but to be a truly Good Networker you equally would need to be able to network outside of the organization. Being an outstanding Relationship Builder is not limited to sustaining effective relationships in your workplace but also beyond it. Employers know that only someone who is a Good Networker would be able to establish and sustain effective relations with customers, partners, and suppliers to support the long-term goals of a company and oneself.

Customer Focus

We all are familiar with a growing significance of reputation systems that are embedded in most of the online services we use. We got so used to five-starring things and thumbing others down that it’s hard to imagine how the world has spun before the invention of these systems. Customer experience is highly important, and employers know it. To score highly in Situational Judgement Tests, you would have to be customer- oriented to a similar level. This means, of course, striving to understand their needs, and being prepared to guarantee them timely and efficient service. And sometimes, going the extra mile to surpass the expectations.

Creative and Analytical Thinking

On many occasions it might have been stressed in your job spec that the successful candidates would have to prove their ability to think creatively and analytically. This, of course, could mean anything from being highly skeptical about an idea presented to you in a job simulation, to an elaborate analysis of the company’s revenue. But usually, what is meant is your ability to think independently with a good balance of realism and pragmatism. As an Analytical Thinker, you would have to demonstrate the intellectual capacity to identify and propose solutions, while considering a multitude of angels. Employers are looking for confident thinkers, who easily draw conclusions, even when dealing with conflicting or complex data.

Strong Commercial and Market Awareness

Especially counts when you are applying for a job in marketing or finance. Commercial awareness, together with market and competitor knowledge usually would drive your decision making. These skills would be highly anticipated in financial and commercial sectors. Employers are aware that people with such skills are most likely to seize opportunities to grow an organization and address wider issues that could impact its success.

Having the Achiever Attitude

A true achiever personality could be sum up with three simple words: drive, determination, and resilience. If you have a so-called ‘can do attitude’ it means you are responsible for successful delivery of your own tasks, while being ready to work hard and display enthusiasm in all you do. Someone who is focused on achieving results knows how to approach work with a sense of urgency, and keeps the end goal in sight at all times. Even at times, when challenging circumstances blur the horizon.

Planning and Organising

We know that you don’t need a dictionary description of what planning and organizing might mean in a company, but just to remind you – employers are really keen on checking if you are able to deliver high-quality work in an efficient and timely manner. Planning could also mean successfully managing not only your time but also time of other team members while ensuring all necessary resources are available as required. If you are a good planner, it means you able to create and monitor clear action schedules and you know how to communicate any updates to those plans with all relevant stakeholders.

Example situational judgement test questions

You have just received a call from an unhappy customer. He is disappointed with the service he received from your business and is becoming increasingly distressed as he speaks to you. He starts to raise his voice, what do you say to him?

  1. I will do all I can to help you with this issue. If you give me your account details I will investigate what has happened here.
  2. I am sure there is a logical explanation for this. If you give me your details I will look into it for you.
  3. Sir, I can hear that you are really upset but I need you to calm down so that I can help you.

Answer: 1 most likely, 3 least likely Answer 1 is personable, it reassures the customer you are listening to their complaint and you will take it seriously. Answer 2 is fine, but doesn’t demonstrate any emotional understanding to your customers complaints. Answer 3 lacks emotional intelligence, asking a customer to calm down when they are upset is a sure fire way to make them angrier.

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Ellen used Practice Aptitude Tests to prepare for her upcoming interview at HSBC. Start your success story

Situational judgement test tips

1Remember to research

Try to find out as much as possible about the company and role you are applying for. It’s important to consider the qualities that the company’s culture is based on when answering Situational Judgement Test (SJT) questions. Think about the type of qualities the organization is going to be looking for. Teamwork and building relationships are among the most popular qualities that any candidate will need in a workplace environment but you might work out what other competencies you need to have.

2Ethics first

All employers value strong ethics. When answering SJTs, you should be guided by the companies values but also by universally recognized concepts of right and wrong conduct. It’s also a good exercise to make a list of values that apply directly to your profession. For instance, appreciation of client confidentiality and professional secrecy in client/lawyer relations are the key values that everyone who wants to be a lawyer is assumed to understand.

3Unethical options are incorrect

Following this, the unethical options will be the wrong choice.. You might have been charmed by the sneaky protagonists in TV series, in which they get along lying and being dishonest to most of their colleagues, but luckily in real life, societies still value the opposite. So if one of the possible actions is dishonest, involves lying, disguising personal errors, acting in an uncooperative manner, or provoking a client or a customer then this answer will not be correct or a “least likely” option, if you are not presented with other choices.

4Practice makes perfect

The catch in any situational judgment test is the high probability of any of the presented answers ( except the ethical examples explained above). We recommend you to think in accordance with the promoted values outlined in the company’s profile, but to really ace it you might want to train your situational judgment muscles and take one of the mock situational judgment tests profiled by some brainy people we have been working with.

5Best response dilemma

Often you’ll be asked for the ‘best’ or ‘most likely’ response. This means choose the most appropriate response given the information you have. It might not be perfect, it just needs to be better than the rest.

Situational judgement video tutorials

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1 min

Internal Website

1 min

Double Booked

1 min

Delayed Project

1 min

Quarterly Review

1 min

Requesting Data

1 min

Practice situational judgement tests

There’s a reason they say practice makes perfect. That phrase holds true when it comes to situational judgement tests. In fact, practice is perhaps even more important if you’re pretty new to these tests.

But don’t worry, we have all the tools you need to get started. Begin by trying some situational judgement questions, viewing the explanations and seeing your scores improve.

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