Job Interview Tests and Exercises

Go to Blog Home | By: Annette Lewis | Updated: 16 November, 2021 | Category: Assessment Centres, Interview Advice

Job recruitment and the accompanying selection process is becoming increasingly complex as competition for top jobs becomes ever fiercer. Employers want to be sure that an employee will live up to expectations before taking them on, especially in certain well paid specialised areas, and therefore deploy a range of interview tests and exercises alongside the basic interview.

These additional features in the selection process are designed to give a more comprehensive picture of the candidate’s practical abilities, as well as attitudes and aptitudes.  Some of the more popular types of interview tests and exercises that you may encounter, either in an Assessment Centre or as part of the interview itself include:

Numerical Reasoning Tests

The term ‘numerical reasoning test’ is in simple terms a test of your ability to use and analyse numerical data. Tests can be as simple as how quickly and accurately you can compute add, subtract, multiply, divide etc or can be very complex requiring you to analyse and interpret numerical data and make accurate recommendations. To prepare for these you should practice with sample tests. By doing so you will become familiar with the question format and how to answer accurately.

Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests used in a job interview situation often take the form of a piece of text with questions. Questions can be related to interpretation of the text or can be related to construction of sentences, deductions or overall comprehension. They are very much a test of your language skills and you will need to have a strong understanding of grammar, vocabulary and structure in order to score highly.

Inductive Reasoning or Abstract Reasoning Tests

Inductive reasoning tests are also often referred to as  diagrammatic reasoning or abstract reasoning and are designed to test your problem solving ability. They also assess your ability to understand new and complex ideas and questions can often require you to recognize patterns and similarities between shapes and figures.

Work tasks

Candidates are requested to perform a task or carry out a piece of work based on the type of day to day activities they would actually do in the job. These tasks can range from answering a simple email or letter, to constructing a graph or spreadsheet based on information supplied.

In-tray exercises

These are similar to work samples tests in that they simulate tasks and problems that you might encounter in the job. Part of this test, though, is to assess your ability to discern the relative merits of various factors and situations, and to be able to prioritise. You might be given a stack of messages or memos to sort through and deal with to determine your judgement of which demand immediate attention, and which are less important. You need to assess the given information carefully, quickly, and accurately before making decisions, and then to be able to give your reasons for your decisions.

Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are seen by many employers as a way to determine whether a candidate is likely to fit in with the company’s philosophy, the rest of the work force, and/or a specific niche. These tests will involve language and numeracy skills, and have to be completed within a given time frame. An example might consist of complex financial or written information for you study, followed by a series of multi-choice questions.


You need to be ready for the possibility of being asked to prepare, and then give a presentation, either a formal one, or, perhaps just a chat about yourself and how you think you will fit into the company. You may have to come up with your own idea for a presentation, or to carry out some research around a given subject. If you’re given the task of a presentation, it is reasonable to expect some guidelines and you can ask for clarification as necessary. You may want to use slides or other media, together with a voice over, so you need to know what is expected and what audio-visual equipment is available. You might want to know how many people you will have to address, and how long your presentation should be.

A good presentation needs to be well researched and well rehearsed, so do your best in the time available for preparation. Begin your presentation with a greeting and short introduction or overview of the subject matter. A little humour is OK if skilfully introduced, but a halting, or less than confident manner can cause a joke to fall flat. Don’t risk it if you’re not confident, and don’t appear too flippant if you’re trying to make a serious point. You should try to use body language and gestures to emphasize where necessary, and speak directly to your audience, making eye contact with at least some. The use of slides is always a good idea, as pictures help understanding and relieve the monotony of flat speech. Examples from everyday life can help to elucidate a concept where appropriate, and help your ideas to be understood more easily.

Preparation is invaluable, as it boosts confidence knowing beforehand what you going to say, and helps for a smooth delivery. Copies of your notes, or important points briefly set out, can be useful as handouts for the interviewers

Personality assessments

Personality assessments are made to an extent during an interview, but there are also questionnaires designed to elicit this kind of information, usually on the basis of answers given to questions of personal choice and opinion.  If asked to give opinions of yourself, it is wise to be as honest as possible since the points raised may be further pursued, and it is important that you should be seen as consistent.

A word about Assessment Centres

An assessment centre may employ several of the testing methods all ready discussed, but can also encompass more complex case studies, plus one-to-one interviews of a more probing or demanding nature, in an effort to assess more specific areas of competence. Assessment centres also carry out group exercises and discussions, sometimes with the use of role play. A simulated situation or problem scenario is laid out with detailed information, and objectives to be achieved. The group has a certain amount of time to discuss, and to come to an agreement in terms of a course of action. During the discussion, one or more trained assessors will observe and mark levels of individual competence and contribution. Assessment centres have proved to be objective and remarkably accurate in their predictions with regard to future work performance of candidates, and are therefore an important part of the modern selection process for employment.  Learn more about Assessment Centres here.

Get Free Interview Tests and Exercises With InterviewGold

So how do you prepare for the interview tests and exercises mentioned above? Well, the key to success is to practice with these tests in advance. You can buy books which contains sample questions or you can practice online.

InterviewGold contains free sample tests along with information and advice on how to excel in these tests. In addition it provides you with a detailed module showing you how to give a perfect presentation and how to excel in a group exercise.

InterviewGold - Online Interview Skills Course

About InterviewGold

  • Easy online interview skills training
  • With Questions and Winning Answers
  • Video tutorials and practice interviews
  • Interactive mock interviews
  • Content specific to your job
  • 97% of Members got jobs

Click here to get your target job with InterviewGold »

About the Author |
Annette is a top interview coach with Anson Reed and a skilled HR professional with experience in a broad range of sectors including Healthcare and the NHS, Legal, Banking and Customer Services. She is an expert contributor to our InterviewGold online interview training system and blog.