Situational Judgment Test

Situational Judgment Tests

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The recruitment process is designed to scrutinize the applicants intently. This is done to ensure that the hired candidates are a perfect fit for the vacant position.  

The interview comprises a variety of technical and non-technical questions and tests to judge the potential of the candidates. Among a large pool of interviewing tests and techniques, situational judgment tests are very popular nowadays. 

This article explains SJTs, the effectiveness of situational tests, usage, and tips to ace these test types. 

What Is a Situational Judgment Test (SJT)? 

Situational Judgment Test
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A situational test involves work-specific situations presented to the candidates for judging their responses. This helps in scrutinizing their potential and suitability for the applied job post.  

The test involves situational questions followed by many answers. The preferred answer of the candidate determines their mindset and thought process.  

The situations presented to the interviewee are a reflection of real-life situations occurring in different offices. The questions also include scenarios related to the responsibilities associated with the vacant job position.  

The tests are designed according to the requirements of the job post and the skills associated with it. For example, if you have applied for a team lead position, the questions will involve a scenario in which your team members are not being productive. You must choose the best methods for improving their performance via media or textual materials. 

These tests are used for assessing your appropriateness for the job in question. The test is assigned during the interview and has a certain time limit. The SJTs are getting popular in America and Western Europe. 


Uses of SJTs During the Recruitment 

The tests are conducted before the initial interview so that candidates are narrowed down and suitable ones are shortlisted.  

The test results help the recruiters in understanding how well the applicant understands the responsibilities associated with the particular job role. 

These tests are also used by medical schools in a few countries for analyzing applicants. The answers chosen by the students are used to draw an array of their skills, thought processes, and aspirations. 

These tests are also used to calculate the values, professional attitude, decision-making ability, and resilience of the person. All interpersonal skills strongly impact the performance of the person at work. 

The SJTs are best used in the following situations: 

  • Jobs where a high volume of candidates is screened for multiple or large numbers of job positions. 
  • Roles that require semi-skilled managerial or executive level applicants.
  • In competitive talent acquisition environments, these tests are used to speed up the recruitment process and get ahead of the competition. 
  • For organizations that require unique and niche-specific behaviors for their employees. These tests analyze the motivation, judging abilities, and values of the people and rate them accordingly for the recruiters. 


What Do Situational Judgment Tests Measure? 

Situational Tests
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Situational tests are used for the assessment of specific job proficiency. Normally, the competencies that are judged with the SJT results include: 

  • Leadership 
  • Planning 
  • Resilience 
  • Organizational skills 
  • Communication 
  • Decision-making abilities 
  • Influence 

As the name suggests, the test is used for judging applicants and narrowing down the suitable ones. These assessments are flexible and can be transformed for analyzing the personality traits and values of the people applying for a job. 

Some SJTs are designed specifically for the hierarchy of an organization while others are generalized and can be used by anyone. For example, a judgment test for a sales role will comprise questions relevant to sales and marketing only. 

For leadership roles, the test contains analytical questions that measure the leading and decision-making capabilities of the applicants. 

Benefits of Situational Judgement Tests 

Situational tests have been used for years for making the hiring process quicker and more efficient. These tests are a great source of peeking into the personalities of the candidates and finding the most suitable ones for your organization. The various benefits of these tests include: 

  • Helps in analyzing a wide range of competencies, personality traits, and ethics. 
  • Can be conducted online by sending them to a large pool of candidates at the same time.
  • Helps the recruiters in narrowing down the job-relevant skills of the applicants and speeds up the hiring process. 
  • These test results help the organizations in choosing a diverse set of employees as they are independent of gender, ethnicity, etc. 
  • SJTs are flexible and can be molded according to the company or role. 
  • These tests offer a good replacement for the traditional written and verbal tests conducted physically.


Format of a Situational Judgment Test 

Judgment Test
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An SJT starts with a short descriptive scenario followed by questions. The questions are not technical mostly. Each question is presented with multiple scenarios and aspects and discusses the realities of working in the said job position. 

The candidate has to choose the best or worst answer. Sometimes you need to choose the most appropriate answer instead of the right one. 


Process of answering SJTs 

The process for responding to questions in a situational test involves: 

  • Read the instructions provided at the top of the test thoroughly.  
  • Complete the practice examples. These are relevant to the job position you have applied for. 
  • Judge according to the format of the test what you should do next. 
  • The answers must give an insight into your past work experiences and skills. 
  • Around 20 to 30 scenarios are given in the test and each must be answered according to your approach and personality. 
  • You must review the questions critically and then respond to them keeping in mind the real-life situations you have experienced.


Tips for Performing Well in an SJT 

Top tips for acing your situational tests are mentioned as follows: 

  • Start answering with the easiest question to boost your confidence level. 
  • You must read the questions thoroughly and weigh each option on a scale of appropriateness. Eliminate the ones that are not correct and narrow down your answers before choosing one. 
  • Prioritize the most important aspects of the scenario presented in the question before answering it. 
  • Imagine the scenario in real life and think of the most appropriate answer accordingly. 
  • The answer must be chosen based on your problem-solving skills. The selected option must be a workable and feasible solution to the problem mentioned in the question. 
  • The solution must be permanent or semi-permanent. 
  • The answers must be unique.  
  • Analyze the circumstances precisely and answer accordingly. 
  • Do not choose an answer based on what is most likely to happen.


Preparing for a situational judgment test 

You can conduct online research and go through sample tests to get familiar with the format of these tests. You can also read different tips and tricks for acing in these situational tests. 


How Are SJTs Results Calculated? 

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The test results are assessed by comparing them with the expert answers and rating them accordingly. For example, for an SJT related to sales, a sales expert presents the best answers. 

The answers of the candidates applying for a sales position are judged relative to the responses of the expert. 

The results normally comprise the following metrics: 

  • Overall score relative to the ideal performance. 
  • The score for each competency. 
  • A referenced score concerning the score of the candidates who have performed on a similar level.


Why Are Situational Judgment Tests Popular? 

Situational tests are extremely popular among recruiters as they are suitable for predicting real-life results for various scenarios. These tests can help the hiring team in analyzing a wide range of competencies and traits in a potential candidate. 

Another huge advantage of these tests is that they can be applied to different niches and industries like IT, police, medicine, fire, or civil services.

These tests are a rich resource for measuring the decision-making and problem-solving abilities of a person. It also records how a person would react in certain situations and their ability to lead others. 

Another factor that makes these tests popular is that these tests are independent of the gender or ethnicity of the applicants. The tests are designed to cover all the possible requirements of a job position.


Final Thoughts 

The situational judgment tests are a great resource for judging different personality traits of a person. The results of these tests help shortlist the most appropriate candidates for a particular role.  

The questions included in these tests resonate with the responsibilities associated with the job position. These tests provide recruiters with a reliable, quick, and easy solution for ranking applicants and choosing the best one. 

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MBA from the Australian Institute of business. Over a decade working for IBM Australia and Oracle Europe and the Middle East. Worked on Artificial Intelligence technology for many years and believes that technology can help everyone better understand his/her personality and find the job they deserve.