There have been a huge number of people apply to An Garda Síochana for 2016 – over 15,000 people, in fact.
As part of the comprehensive selection process, psychometric testing is used to help narrow down the huge pool of candidates.
Joining the Gardaí is a huge decision, and the role of a police officer in Ireland requires a very unique skill set. It’s an incredibly demanding job; very challenging yet very rewarding, but it’s not for everyone.
It will impact your way of life, so the kind of person who wants to become a Garda in modern society needs to have more than good exam results or intellectual capabilities. They need certain qualities that lend themselves to being effective and professional in the role.
What does a Psychometric Test Show?
Psychometric tests are an objective, scientific way to measure a candidate’s suitability for the role of Garda. These kinds of tests are administered as a part of the selection process to help give the recruiting panel the fullest picture possible of each candidate.
Psychometric tests measure more ‘hidden’ traits, such as personality characteristics and cognitive abilities.
Interviews, no matter how probing, don’t reveal everything about a candidate. Interviews also tend to be a bit more subjective, as it is people interviewing people so there is always the opportunity for a little human bias. Different types of psychometric tests help to build a more complete idea about the applicant.
Why is Psychometric Testing of Benefit to the Applicant?
Psychometric tests are constructed to be entirely unbiased and objective, helping to provide a highly accurate evaluation of the candidate. As the role of Garda is such a unique one, providing the most rounded and informed view is vital.
Obviously, power-crazed lunatics would be weeded out at an early stage! But people who apply to the Gardaí may be unaware of how resilient they need to be, or how demanding the job really is.
They may not even realise that their personality isn’t suited to dealing with the public at their worst. As a Garda you will see people at their lowest ebb; and enforcing the law in many circumstances is never black or white; but is a challenge to your professionalism and integrity. Psychometric testing helps identify those traits that help make a good Garda, suited to the demands of the role.
Can I practise for a Psychometric test?
Yes, you can prepare for it in the sense that you can look at examples of tests; research the role you are applying for very thoroughly, and know all you can about the expectations of the Gardaí in what they are looking for in a candidate.
You cannot distort a psychometric test, so be honest in all of your answers. Remember that they are only part of a very thorough process, and will objectively highlight your strengths and weaknesses.
There are different types of psychometric tests, designed to assess different qualities i.e. intelligence, logic, reasoning ability, or verbal and numerical ability. They help measure how people feel about their motivation, priorities, values and opinions in specific situations.
Some of the types of tests may include:
Verbal Reasoning: to help assess your comprehension and analytical abilities.
Numerical Reasoning: to help assess your grasp of figures, basic mathematical calculations, etc.
Non-Verbal Tests: These can include logical reasoning, inductive reasoning, abstract reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning.
Situational Judgment Tests: These focus on the kind of core values that are important to you when you have to make decisions. They may present you with certain scenarios and offer you a number of possible solutions or actions for each one.
You should look on these tests as an opportunity to demonstrate your capacity and genuine response, not as a hurdle to be overcome. If you are truly right for the role, it will be evident!