Situational Judgment Tests (SJT)

Employers like to constantly refresh their recruitment methods and STJs are increasingly being used within the graduate recruitment process to filter the large numbers of applications some companies receive.  Companies including Jaguar Land Rover, BBC, HM Revenue and Customs, Nestle, BP, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Wal-Mart and Deloitte, to name but a few, currently use SJTs, and they have also been used by the NHS as an integral part of the selection to the Foundation Programme for doctors.

For some organisations, SJTs are replacing the lengthier competency based application form questions which savvy students can learn how to perfect, get checked or can be coached to success in.  SJTs on the other hand are ‘on the spot’ assessments of your ability to perform effectively in a range of work specific scenarios.  They are not usually time limited but present you with a number of situations that you could realistically encounter in the job or company for which you are applying.

These scenarios may be presented to you in multimedia format like the JLR and NHS ones where you are given voice over, text and visual images on screen; or they may be more text based.  You will then be given a number of different courses of action and be asked to rate the effectiveness of the different options such as the example here:

Other types of SJT questions may give the situation and ask you to rank a number of different actions in order of how effective / ineffective they would be. 

Other types of questions may simply ask you to rate which is the most or least effective option – or could ask you to indicate which of the options you are most or least likely to do - thereby identifying your personality traits and behaviour more than your ability to assess the best or worst course of action. On questions such as this, it is therefore a good idea to check whether the test is really assessing what you should do or what you would do.

Tips for completing SJTs are, in many ways, similar to any other aptitude tests.
  • Follow this instructions
  • Read or watch the scenarios carefully
  • Do the tests in a place where you can concentrate and will not be distracted or disturbed
  • Assess your answers based upon the information given rather than based on any assumptions or previous experiences
  • But most importantly, keep the company’s values and competencies in mind.  These tests have been designed to assess your ‘fit’ to the role and how you would reflect the company’s values and competencies within your day to day work. 
As STJs can be highly personalised to the job role, company and their brand, you are unlikely to be asked to do the same test for different organisations.  All practice, however, can be helpful to give you an idea of the different types of questions you may encounter.  Some further information and example questions - and some free practice tests, can be found on the following sites:

Good luck and let us know your experiences of SJTs!
Annette (Careers Adviser)
Careers Service

Careers Service

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