Situational Judgement Tests

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) are a type of psychological test which present hypothetical work-related, hypothetical scenarios and ask the test-taker to identify an appropriate response. They are useful in personnel selection for customer services where the application of "common sense" is deemed an appropriate differentiator for selection. They are sometimes referred to as Situational Judgement Inventories (SJIs).

Situational Judgement Tests are generally administered online in a multiple choice format. There are a number of off-the-shelf SJTs to suit generic roles, and they can be tailored to be suit the more bespoke requirements of a given role. Some companies which have a clear idea of their "customer experience" could use a bespoke situational judgement test to assist their recruitment process.

Background and History

The earliest situational judgement test was a scale in the George Washington University Social Intelligence Test published in 1926. SJTs then went on to be used in World War II by psychologists in the US military. Situational Judgement Tests have evolved today, to be used in many organisations, are promoted by various consulting firms, and are researched by many.

Advantages over other measures

  • They show reduced levels of adverse impact, by gender and ethnicity, compared to cognitive ability tests.
  • They use measures that directly assess job relevant behaviours.
  • They can be administered in bulk, either via pen and paper or on-line.
  • The SJT design process results in higher relevance of content than other psychometric assessments. They are therefore more acceptable and engaging to candidates compared to cognitive ability tests since scenarios are based on real incidents
  • It is unlikely that practice will enhance candidate performance as the answers cannot be arrived at logically - a response to a situation may be appropriate in one organisation and inappropriate in another.
  • They can tap into a variety of constructs - ranging from problem solving and decision making to interpersonal skills. Traditional psychometric tests do not account for the interaction between ability, personality and other traits.
  • They can be used in combination with a knowledge based test to give a better overall picture of a candidate's aptitude for a certain job.