Career Advice Expert Advice

Find out if you make the grade

How confident are you in standing out from among thousands of rivals applying for the same job?

A simple test from cut-e, a psychometric-assessment provider, helps companies like Coca-Cola, HSBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Siemens screen graduate applicants in a split second.

"The test is a quick reference for our clients to select the best candidates based on the assessment of ability and cultural fit," says Rebecca Cheung, managing director of cut-e China.

"As for candidates, they can also assess different cultures, and find out if they are more comfortable with a more creative and dynamic environment, or a more structured organisation that values teamwork and contributions."

The company name derives from the two important elements in its business: "cut" for measurement and "e" for online. Its psychometric test measures a person's ability and behaviour using scores or categories gathered from a large sample. The results enable multinational corporations to obtain a swift evaluation of individual performance and the future potential of their applicants.

Psychometrics - the science of measuring mental faculties - was created in the 19th century by Sir Francis Galton, an English scholar who introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities. Nowadays, wider commercial applications are used to leverage technology to fit the growing demand for psychometrics from companies.

There are usually two parts to cut-e's test: aptitude, which gauges cognitive abilities such as verbal, numerical and logical reasoning ability; and personality questionnaires, which evaluate traits, behaviour and motivation.

Most online psychometric tests, such as cut-e's, require candidates to answer a set of questions within a certain timeframe based on a company's needs.

The beauty of the exercise lies in providing a resource-saving way when screening large pools of applicants such as university graduates. It also acts as a filter to detect and disqualify unsuitable candidates from a pre-selected candidate pool.

"Our service fits in best for corporates with a committed human resource strategy," Cheung says.