How to answer tricky assessment test questions

applying for jobs, applying online, answering assessment test questions,
There are moments in life when you will be asked questions you simply can’t answer well including, "Does my rear end look fat in these jeans?" Possibly the hardest questions of all to answer are those posed in pre-employment personality tests given by hiring companies.

Fortunately, there are helpful articles online where you can learn how to answer tricky questions.

Unfortunately, they are maddeningly hard to locate because there are so many different types of assessments tests and way too many irrelevant articles cluttering up the web. Despite that, it’s worth the trouble to dig for answers because even though the test administrator may say there are no ‘correct’ answers, there are, of course, correct answers, and it will be these answers that will get you the job.

To answer tricky assessment test questions well, you will need common sense, your wits and an understanding that these tests … and your answers … don’t necessarily relate to the real world.

answering personality assessment tests
Personality assessment tests are used to gauge
how well you will fit into a company's culture 
Answering personality assessment tests
Typically, such tests start out with a simple question to make you feel at ease and then the questions become more complicated. A simple question might be, “Can you count to 20?” A more complicated question might be, “Have you ever stolen anything -- Yes or no?” The latter question is obviously more difficult to answer. No one wants to hire someone who has a history of theft, but if you are truthful, you have probably stolen something even if it was toy and you were a toddler.

Unfortunately, as in the theft question, the answer options are so cut and dried, they don’t allow for human flexibility or frailties, thus they have no connection to who you really are.  Understanding that flaw in the system can help you respond to personality assessment tests questions to your advantage.

The right way to respond?

  • Give them the answers they want to hear while being as honest as you reasonably can be. Since by your usual nature (I assume) you don’t steal, the correct answer to the theft question is “No”.
  • Be consistent and answer similar questions in the same way
  • Answer quickly with your first instinctual response
  • Don't over-think your answers

To learn more precisely how to answer personality assessment questions, check out these actually helpful articles:

Richard McMunn
Richard McMunn
Guest blogger Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the leading career website His aim is to help as many people as possible pass the recruitment process to secure the job they want. The website offers books, DVDs and courses for those who want to ensure they have every stage of the process covered. Connect with Richard and How2become on YouTube

What personality test questions do you find difficult to answer? Share them on or on the LinkedIn discussion group board that might have brought you to the blog.


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  1. Basically, just lie your way through it. Employers don't want honesty on these things, they want correct answers. If you hate dealing with cranky customers and one of the statements is "I like working with customers even when they are insufferable jerks," you tick the box next to "Strongly Agree," or at least "Agree." If you don't lie, you'll never get the job.

  2. Sadly Silverbuttons, you may have a point. I've always hated when they ask questions like, "Have you ever taken anything from a company?" Well, if you are hyper honest, you're going to feel guilty if you accidentally took a work pen home and admit it on the assessment test ... very likely disqualifying yourself for being honest.

  3. I'm having a lil trouble answering this question-[ what is your biggest weakness that ifs really a weakness and not a strength?

  4. can someone give me an idea on how to answer a question on my application? like what it's my biggest weakness that's really a weakness and not a strength? why dye humans have2 eyes?

  5. Lillian, This article conveys my strategy for handling "what's your greatest weakness" question -- -- the best answer is to talk about something that you are working to improve and turn it from a weakness to a strength. -- Kathy

  6. I have taking a few of these lately and they are starting to mess with me. I'm taking it personal. I know I can do the job... Still haven't passed any of these test lost out on some great career positions, it's not fair... I'm very skilled.

    1. Unknown, I know how discouraging it can feel about not passing assessment tests. The only thing that I can suggest doing is to read as much as you can about how assessment tests work and then take as many practice assessment tests as you can. Try to think like the employer as far as what they want and answer accordingly ... and consistently. Also keep in mind that not every company uses assessment tests so focus on the ones that don't ... if enough people refuse to complete the tests, maybe the employers will stop forcing them on applicants.




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