Situational Judgement Tests

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) are growing in popularity with graduate employers. These tests aim to find out how you are likely to respond to real-life scenarios and problems you might encounter in their workplace. They test your decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

The tests will ask you to evaluate various actions that might be taken in response to work-based situations. You will often be asked to rank the possible actions in order from most effective to least effective.

Who uses SJTs?

Graduate employers who take on large numbers of graduates. These include Jaguar Land Rover, PwC, Civil Service Faststream, Network Rail, NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, Nestle, BP and the Co-op.

Why do employers use SJTs?

SJTs are usually used by graduate recruiters at an early stage in their recruitment process, to filter large numbers of applications. Employers use them because they feel they are an unbiased  and effective selection method. These tests can also help to sell an employer's brand to candidates, as a well-designed SJT will give an engaging picture of what it is like to work for that company. 

What are the tests like?

SJT tests can be paper-based or online. They might be purely text-based, or involve the use of images or even animation. 

Should I prepare for an SJT?

Yes! 

As with all aspects of the recruitment process, before taking any test, make sure you research the organisation thoroughly. You should know what competencies and aptitudes the company is looking for, as well as their values.

You can practise SJTs using some of the useful links. However, be aware that SJTs vary enormously, as they are usually tailored to an individual company.

Tips

  • SJTs can appear fun and quiz-like. However, you will need to take them seriously to get through.
  • Use the full range of any ratings scale - avoid sitting on the fence and choosing the middle option.
  • Read the full range of possible responses before making a choice.
  • Make your choice based on the information provided in the scenario - don't make assumptions.
  • Make sure you take the test somewhere quiet where you know you won't be disturbed for the duration of the test.

SJTs are trying to gauge how you would react in particular scenarios or your opinions / values in regards to particular topics. Remember that there may be no right or wrong answers. The tests are set to see how you will fit into the organisation, so it is best to answer as honestly as possible. It is sometimes helpful to think about the organisation themselves - what do they value? How would they like their employees to react? Again, this needs to be your judgement, but a bit of background research can help you prepare.

Example question 1 (Morrisons)

It is a busy Sunday morning in store. A regular customer approaches you and tells you that they had wanted to purchase some Beef Wellington from the Butchery counter. The Butchery manager is on holiday and the customer has been told that no-one else is qualified to prepare this.

What do you do?

Place in RANK ORDER the options below, with 1 being what you are most likely to do, and 5 being what you are least likely to do.

A. Ask the customer to speak to the store manager for advice as they will be best placed to deal with the query.
B. Apologise to the customer that you cannot supply this product today, and let them know when the Butchery manager will be back from leave.
C. Ask the customer to wait while you speak to your colleague about what to do - you don't want to do the wrong thing in a customer-facing situation.
D. Ask the customer to wait while you look into the product specification for Beef Wellington - you are sure that with the right instructions, you can prepare this product for the customer yourself
E. Accompany the customer to the frozen food section and look for frozen Beef Wellington as a practical alternative.

Example question 2 (Jaguar Land Rover)

You work in an audit team preparing the final report for a client. You are concerned that the standard of work from one of your fellow graduates is dropping. You have just noticed that he has made a mistake in a key calculation, but that this work has not yet been reviewed by the team manager. How effective do you think it is for you to inform the team manager of the mistake at this point?

Choose one:

  • Extremely ineffective
  • Very ineffective
  • Fairly ineffective
  • Unsure
  • Fairly effective
  • Very effective
  • Extremely effective

Example Question 3

You work in the Accommodation Office at the University and your manager is out of the office, you are not sure for how long. A message has come through from a student who has been evicted from their accommodation and has nowhere to stay.  

Do you:

  • ignore the message - your manager will deal with it later
  • respond to the message by explaining that the manager is away and will make a decision when they return
  • organise accommodation with student halls for the night to be paid for by the department
  • tell the student they are welcome to use your spare room for the night

Last modified: 
Monday, April 13, 2015 - 16:48