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I'm doing an online Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) followed by an interview. I'm simply going to answer the online test as straightforwardly as I can. I'm more concerned about the interview, however.

I've been happy fielding technical questions in the previous interviews for this company: it's my job after all, and I have no complaints if I get a tough question and mess it up. On the other hand, I have little or no experience of the kind of questions I'm likely to get in the forthcoming OPQ interview. Should I be preparing for this interview? If so, how?

  • I like to try to answer the questions like I am a movie character... surprisingly I don't get many jobs that use the OPQ for screening. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 20 '13 at 20:14
  • @Chad lol I did need to take it a bit less seriously :) – TooTone Jun 20 '13 at 20:29
  • Try doing it as billy bob thortons character in sling blade... mmmmmmyep – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 21 '13 at 14:49
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The OPQ measures 32 different personality traits that are relevant to occupational settings. Ultimately the test measures traits with the purpose of determining your behavioural style at work. Employers often use this personality test to see how well job applicants fit the role they are applying for.

The 32 personality traits measured in the OPQ are grouped into categories such as: Relationships, Sociability (e.g., outgoing, socially confident), Influence (e.g., persuasive, outspoken, independent minded), Empathy (e.g., democratic, caring), and Thinking style (e.g., evaluative, rational). The OPQ also includes a social desirability measure to detect ‘faking’ responses.

Practicing for the OPQ personality test will ensure that you are confident and free of stress when taking this personality test. It will also ensure that you are capable of demonstrating your relevant personality characteristics and demonstrate your fit against the job requirements to your potential employer. To learn more about how to effectively prepare for the OPQ, try a free sample personality test.

  • Plan and maintain a quiet, calm environment

    When taking an ability test or completing the OPQ, it is vital that you maintain a quiet, non-interrupted environment all the way through the process. Check that you will be comfortable for the duration of the test/questionnaire before starting.

  • Maintain a positive frame of mind

    Whilst you need to visualise yourself being successful in completing an ability test to ensure lack of confidence doesn’t get the better of you, over confidence can have a detrimental effect on candidates where they fail to pay sufficient attention to the questions and skip through them too quickly. Even if you have done well in the practice tests, remember the questions are likely to be different ones and require fresh thinking. A happy balance is required here.

  • Have sufficient resources to hand

    Have a few pieces of paper and a pen to hand should you wish to write something down whilst you are on-line. For some Numerical Reasoning tests, a calculator is allowed, so ensure you have one of these beforehand.

  • Take a break between tasks

    If you are likely to be sat completing several tests and/or questionnaires, you may want to consider having a drink to hand before starting and taking appropriate breaks between these tests/questionnaires to ensure you maintain full concentration.

(Sources: http://www.psychometricinstitute.com.au/SHL_personality_test.html, http://www.ksl-training.co.uk/free-resources/psychometric-testing/shl-test-preparation)

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  • Thanks, that is useful background for the test as a whole and for taking the test. However, my main interest is in the follow-up interview and how to prepare for that. – TooTone Jun 21 '13 at 8:44
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You don't need to prepare in any special way for such interview. It'll probably look like any other behavioral interview in which the recruiter will ask you to describe various situations from you past. This will help him/her understand how the way you've presented yourself in the questionnaire corresponds to the way you act.

You can expect questions like "Please give me an example of a situation in which you had to make a difficult decision? What were you trying to achieve in that situation? How did it end? etc. Perhaps the interviewer will describe briefly your results in some of the dimensions measured by the OPQ and will ask some follow up questions.

Assuming that the interview will be conducted professionally, you shouldn't expect anything else (like the need to "defend" or "explain" your answers in the QPQ), so it should be a pleasant experience.

You can read more about such interviews here: http://hr4startups.quora.com/How-will-Google-hire-now-as-the-in-famous-puzzles-are-over

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As Arek Dymalski wrote, the interview is a lot like a regular behavioural interview, except that it's tailored to the answers you give in the questionnaire, so if you're concerned about these kinds of interviews it makes sense to record your answers somehow, identify the areas you're liked to be asked about, and make sure you've got your answers down pat in those areas.

My strategy was as follows:

  • I took screen grabs of the questions and my answers as I answered them. I answered the questions honestly. (In any case, the test has built in cross-checks to detect lying).
  • I then worked through my answers and identified the common themes. The test is forced answer (e.g., often gives you options that all seem reasonable and you have to choose) so inevitably you tend to come out as "spikey", strong in some areas and weak in others.
  • For each theme, especially where I identified as weak, I tried to come up with a response. Where I could, I came up with examples in my previous career where I had had to overcome that particular weakness. E.g., from my answers it was evident that I could take some time to make decisions. My prepared response was: "Yes, I can be slow to decide strategy on larger projects, but I tend to get it right. When I'm making decisions, I engage in plenty of consultation, and make sure I get feedback on possible mistakes."

This approach I took was quite costly in time and effort, but as a result I was well-prepared for the interview and it went fine.

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