What is a Situational Strengths Test?
The situational strengths test is very similar in nature to the situational judgement test. These tests are used by many employers to evaluate behaviour in the workplace. If you are asked to complete one of these tests, the employer will select a set of skills that they would like to test you on. These skills will be important for the role you have applied for, and the scenarios within the test are those that would commonly arise in your day-to-day work.
As with all types of psychometric test, situational strengths tests are designed to allow both the employer and the candidate to determine whether the business is right for them. For the employer, they get to see whether you will fit in with their culture, values and vision. For the employee, it is an opportunity to see whether you would like to work for the business.
Often used as a method to shortlist further in the graduate application process, these tests frequently appear in a recruitment campaign for graduate opportunities.
Situational strengths tests are not so much about your raw strengths as how well you would fit into the organisation.
What Are Situational Strengths Tests Used For?
If you have been asked to complete a situational strengths test, it can be helpful to know why they are used. In brief, employers see them as a quick, efficient and accurate method to select the right people to join their business. The situational strengths test will identify key strengths that will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to deliver and perform effectively in the workplace.
These tests can also prove beneficial for candidates too, because they mimic situations that you would typically encounter in your day-to-day work. They provide you with a realistic overview of what your work will be like, so you can also see whether the role is a good fit for what you are hoping to achieve.
Structure of the Test
A situational strengths test is made up of multiple questions based on work-related scenarios. Each scenario will focus on a different skill or strength that is required for the role you are applying for. Candidates will be judged on how effectively you can demonstrate these strengths.
The structure of the test is relatively simple. You will be presented with a specific scenario which would occur in the workplace. You are then asked a question based on this scenario and provided with a series of answers. Some situational strengths tests will ask you to list the answers in order from most likely to least likely, while others will ask for a single response, requiring you to state which decision you would make in the same situation.
Situational Strengths Test Practice Questions
As with many of the assessments that you have to complete as part of the recruitment process, practice and preparation is important. In this section we have created a list of some typical questions that would arise in the situational strengths test and the responses. If you require further practice, we recommend the situational strengths test packages produced by JobTestPrep.
Example Question 1: Marketing Role
You have been asked to work with Sophie, a junior member of staff, on some marketing projects. You asked Sophie to draft a marketing analysis and report for a potential client, which your manager will be presenting at a meeting to take place the next afternoon.
When you begin reviewing the analysis and report, you notice a few pieces of information that aren’t as accurate as they should be, as well as sections which are not completed as fully as possible. You are familiar with the client and you think that they may not notice that the report is not as comprehensive as it should be.
To amend the report it will take several hours. You have work scheduled in to complete but you know that your manager needs the report and analysis by the end of the day. What do you do?
Rank the following options in order of relevance.
A) You decide that you cannot send the report to your manager without addressing the inaccuracies and completing the information. So you reschedule your other work to edit the report.
B) As this is a new client, you hope that they won’t notice the report isn’t finished. As such you approve the work and send to your manager.
C) Due to the time constraints, you complete the most important changes and then send it to your manager.
D) You explain to your manager what has happened and you request that you send the report/analysis by the next day.
E) You raise the report as an issue with Sophie and ask her to carry out the most important amendments.
A) is probably the strongest answer in the eyes of your potential employer. As the report is for a new client, the report is important. Using your experience you can quickly review the document and make the required changes.
B) is the weakest option. Sending work to a client that is not finished or contains major inaccuracies is best avoided. Doing something like this could have disastrous consequences for the business - and depending on the seriousness of the omitted information or inaccuracy, might lose the firm business.
Example Question 2: Retail Role
You work in a retail store with responsibility for the homeware section. You have been asked to remove a large amount of old stock and replace it with new. The store has a very important visitor coming later in the day.
To get to your designated area, you walk past a stand near the entrance of the store and notice the promotional signs have fallen on the floor and the display looks very untidy and unappealing. This display area is not your area of responsibility.
What would you do in this situation and how would you feel?
Rank the following in order, with 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important.
A) You are glad that the display is not your responsibility and continue to your own area.
B) You are concerned that the display is the first area that people see as they enter the store and spend time considering what to do.
C) You are concerned about the impression it will create of the store, so you raise it with a colleague who is responsible for the area.
D) You tidy up the display stand, happy that you could help to create a better first impression of the store.
E) You are so preoccupied that you walk past the display without taking much notice of its untidiness.
D) is perhaps the strongest answer because it demonstrates that you can take the initiative and are willing to take responsibility for areas that are outside of your official remit.
E) is the weakest answer. When you are at work you should always be aware and focused, not just on your own work but what is going on around you. This is especially true when you work in a retail establishment similar to the one in this scenario.
Example Question 3: Sales Role
You work in a sales department and you have made in excess of 30 calls in the past couple of hours. Each time you call, the caller hangs up. It is not always like this and you wonder what might be going wrong.
What would you do in this situation and how would you feel? Select one of the following options:
A) You feel incredibly stressed and take a break.
B) You show resilience and continue with the calls knowing that one will convert into a sale eventually.
C) You reflect on your approach and try to see how and why you may be going wrong.
D) You are inspired to carry on, knowing that every setback makes you more determined to secure a sale.
E) You can’t see a way forward, so you speak to one of your colleagues to see what strategy they would deploy.
D) is perhaps the strongest answer. You know from past experience and training that your techniques do work, so perseverance is the key.
Tips and Techniques for Situational Strengths Tests
As with anything, the more you practice, the better you get. Situational strengths tests are no different. Here are some tips to follow:
- Practice. Before you sit the real test, try to practice as many tests as you can. Not only will you familiarise yourself with the situation - you will also become accustomed to answering and thinking properly with these type of questions.
- Review. If you get a chance to, record your answers to the practice tests so you can come back to them at a later date. Some of the practice situational strengths tests will provide detailed responses, and you’ll often find that you can learn more from the answers you got wrong.
- Patterns. When reviewing your answers, try to identify patterns in your responses. Typical patterns include asking others’ opinions before you act, or taking the initiative and making decisions yourself. These are personality traits that the tests are designed to evaluate, so learn to recognise when a certain characteristic is being investigated.
- Consider the role. When answering the questions. try to imagine yourself in the specific role at that company. This will help you make a decision as to their ideal candidate. These tests are usually tailored to the organisation that you are applying to, so thinking about the ideal member of staff can help you understand why they have asked a specific question.
- Be yourself. It is important to answer questions honestly and not provide the answers that you think the recruiter will be looking for.
- Timing. This is where practice comes in. The more you practice, the more you will become accustomed to working through the questions and assigning a specific amount of time to each one. Don’t be tempted to rush through just to get finished, and if you get bogged down with one question, pick an answer and move on.
Looking to practice situational strengths test further? Try more example tests with JobTestPrep.
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