What is a Situational Judgement Test?
A Situational Judgement test, or SJT, is a multiple choice test which gives you the chance to show how well you match what the organisation is looking for. These tests require you to use your judgement and identify the best course of action in response to described situations.
Some organisations may refer to the SJT by a different name, for example a ‘behavioural screening questionnaire’. This will be a very similar test, again looking at the preferences, priorities and motivations which influence a candidate’s decisions. These tests are often delivered online, but may be presented in a paper and pen format.
The scenarios are usually based on general management issues without any technical jargon or company specific terminology. An SJT isn’t usually knowledge based at all; it’s about applying your experience to make a judgement call. There is no need to study in the traditional sense, although there are definite shortcuts you can use to improve your performance.
There is often no time limit, although there will be an expectation of how long it should take- often around 45 minutes, depending on the number of questions.
The SJT details short scenarios and then asks ‘Which ONE of the following actions is most likely to be effective?’ It then gives you usually four options to choose from.
You are the manager of a busy team. You have been told that your team is going to be amalgamated with the team at head office which performs the same function. This will involve relocation or redundancy for your staff. You have been asked to pass this news on to your team.
You will need to read the scenario and then decide which of the options presented would be the course of action you would be most likely to take. For example:
a) Send an email to your team explaining the company’s position
b) Arrange to meet with each team member one to one to hear their thoughts
c) Hold a team meeting where you can explain the situation to everyone at the same time
d) Send a formal letter to each member of staff requesting their preference for redundancy or relocation
The format of some SJTs may mean that instead of choosing one of the four options you have to rank each of the four choices in order of preference. Or you may need to choose the action you would be most likely to take, and the least. Another way the SJT might be presented is for there to be a paragraph detailing the scenario then three or four questions based on it. You would need to indicate on a rating scale how desirable the action is in response to each question e.g. highly desirable, desirable, slightly desirable, slightly undesirable, undesirable, highly undesirable’.
You will be given instructions in writing and verbally by an administrator to explain what you have to do.
Often you will notice that there is one answer which is obviously incorrect. However, there may be at least two which are more difficult to choose from as the correct one.
You are looking for the MOST effective answer – it doesn’t have to be the perfect choice.
The beauty of this sort of test, from an organisational point of view is that it provides a quick and dirty ‘snapshot’ of how you think and whether you are a good fit for the company. It is easy and cheap to administer and can cut numbers of applicants dramatically.
From the applicants point of view it can be hard to know how you have done, or how you can do better next time. You may find out that you were unsuccessful and never really know why. You won’t usually be told which questions you got wrong or why (in our Pass your SJT workbook we make sure we do this very thoroughly!)
Reduce your SJT stress..
…by downloading our insider Communications Cheat Sheet.
- Find out the key things you will do to annoy your selection panel and damage your chance of success.
- Learn the simple techniques to avoid making these mistakes and stand out amongst your competitors.