Situational judgement

What are situational judgement tests?

Situational judgement tests (often abbreviated to SJTs) are designed to assess your ability to choose the most and/or least appropriate action in a range of workplace situations. They present you with a realistic scenario and ask you to select the optimal response from several choices. Sometimes you will be asked to rank a range of options in the order that you feel would be the most effective.

SJTs are usually designed specifically for each employer to use, so the situations described often reflect real-life elements of the job you are applying for.

The scenarios vary widely, but often involve prioritising your workload when an unexpected task is introduced, deciding how to best to handle a mistake made by you or a colleague, or dealing with a difficult customer query or other problem.  

International law firm Allen & Overy presents a typical example in a short YouTube video here.

They are used by a wide range of employers in graduate level recruitment, including Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, Civil Service Fast Stream, John Lewis, Sony, Network Rail, NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, Nestle, BP, Herbert Smith Freehills and the Co-op.

The format will vary from paper-based to computer-based. Sometimes the test will include video clips or animations. A test typically lasts for around 30 minutes.

How can I prepare for a situational judgement test?

  • By researching the employer, you’ll gain a stronger idea of the competencies they are looking for and the values that are important to them. These are likely to be reflected in the scenarios you face.
  • Login to GraduatesFirst using the LSE Careers subscription to access their online SJT and receive a personal report with correct answers.
  • Although a generic practice SJT may not present scenarios that precisely reflect your chosen role or sector – it will give you an idea of the format of these tests and what’s required. A quick Google search will provide a list of free online practice tests. Try the following: AssessmentDay, JobTestPrep or SituationalJudgementTest.

How can I perform better on the day?

  • Make sure you are clear about the instructions and that you read each scenario carefully.
  • Keep in mind what you know about the employer and their ethos – what do they value? What behaviours are likely to be important to them?
  • When choosing your actions, remember to focus on what you would do in a professional situation. A useful rule of thumb when prioritising your answers is to think about the business/customer first and your team/colleagues a close second.
  • Reflect on your own experience. Part-time customer service or volunteering roles will have given you a useful insight into how to be proactive and professional.
  • Be yourself and go with your first natural response. The employer wants to understand who you are and what value you will add to their organisation.

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