How Effective are Situational Judgement Tests?

Vicki Mann

Posted 19/09/2022
by Vicki Mann

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How Effective are Situational Judgement Tests?

How Effective are Situational Judgement Tests?

Situational judgement tests, or SJTs, are used by many employers as a tool to assess job applicants' abilities to think on their feet and make decisions in difficult situations. But do these tests really measure what they claim to? And are they effective at predicting how an individual will perform in a given role? New research is starting to shed light on these questions. Stay tuned for more information!

What is a situational judgement test?

Situational judgement tests (SJTs) are a type of psychometric test used in the hiring process to evaluate a candidate's ability to make sound judgement in various work-related situations. The assessment consists of a series of questions that present the candidate with different hypothetical scenarios and ask them to choose the best course of action

SJTs are designed to assess a wide range of skills, including problem-solving, communication, and time management. While there is no right or wrong answer to SJT questions, the candidate's responses are typically compared to those of other candidates in order to identify the individual with the best judgement.

In some cases, SJTs may also be used to assess a candidate's fit for a particular role or company culture. Situational judgement tests can be a valuable tool for employers, helping to ensure that they hire the best candidates for their organisation.

The benefits of situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests have proven to be extremely effective and successful in a variety of industries and organisations. This form of psychometric testing can help organisations to really zero in on hiring the best applicants. Unlike other psychometric tests, these judgement tests can be tailored not only for each role but for each specific company and its culture.

SJTs allow employers to see how applicants would react in real job-related situations

Situational judgement tests present applicants with realistic, job-related scenarios and ask them to choose the most effective and least effective responses. The results of these assessments allow employers to evaluate candidates' responses and learn whose judgement skills best suit the requirements of the role. 

SJTs help to measure specific job-related skills

As well as assessing how applicants would react in everyday scenarios, the assessment also helps to measure job-related skills specific to that role. SJT scenarios to help to identify candidates with the skills and knowledge required to be successful in a specific role such as problem-solving, decision-making and judgement, as well as a range of non-academic skills that are required but cannot be effectively measured with an interview or their CV. 

SJTs can reduce turnover

SJTs can be used to assess how well a candidate can handle workplace situations. However, they are also a very effective tool for reducing turnover in the long run. Whilst an applicant may look perfect on paper, this does necessarily mean they will fit into the culture of the company and the way that specific organisation will deal with situations.

This allows the employers insight into how a job candidate will react in work-related situations, but also provides the candidate themselves insight into the day-to-day running of the company. This makes the SJT a powerful deselection tool with candidates who feel they would not fit well into the role being able to withdraw their applications at an early stage. This saves a lot of time and money in the long-run and makes it easier to identify candidates who will stay at the company for a long period of time.

SJTs are inexpensive

SJTs also have a high ROI because they are quick and inexpensive to administer. They are efficient and cost-effective, with research showing that it is more efficient to use SJTs as a measure of skills and attributes rather than using face-to-face interviews alone. This is especially the case when interviewing large pools of candidates, as it can be very time-consuming and costly for the recruitment team to perform individual interviews. The scenarios and questions based around the specific job role can help provide far greater insight faster. 

They can be tailored for each job roles

In addition, these judgement tests can be easily tailored to assess specific skills and knowledge. Each SJT question can provide a unique job-relevant scenario that has been written to fit the specific role. 

How can we measure the effectiveness of SJTs

One way to measure the effectiveness of SJTs is through criterion-related validity. This involves assessing the extent to which SJT scores correlate with job performance measures. If SJT scores are found to be significantly correlated with measures of job performance, this provides strong evidence for the predictive validity of SJTs. Fortunately, research has found that SJTs that assess leadership and teamwork skills have relatively high validity for job performance.

Another way to assess the effectiveness of SJTs is through their reliability. This refers to the extent to which SJT scores are consistent over time and across different test versions.  Research shows that situational judgement tests are a reliable method for judging candidates on their cognitive abilities and professional attributes such as teamwork, empathy, integrity and more which are all highly valued attributes in the workplace.

A test that is highly reliable will produce similar results each time it is administered. High reliability is essential for any assessment used for high-stakes decision-making, such as deciding who to hire for a job. 

Practical uses of SJTs in an organisation

Organisations can use SJTs in a number of different ways to help measure competency in specific roles. Typically, these assessments are carried out as part of the application process as a way to improve selection procedures and make better hires.

Whilst an applicant may seem like they tick every box due to their qualifications or past experiences, you might find that once they have carried out this assessment they're not quite in line with the company's core beliefs. Implementing this in the hiring phase can help to greatly improve ROI by saving both time and money that can sometimes be spent on wrong hires. 

Whilst implementing the assessments in the hiring process in the most common method, SJT tests can also be used for internal team members when looking to switch roles and make promotion decisions. SJTs can also be used to identify training and development needs within an organisation.

Ultimately, the practical implications of situational judgement tests will depend on the specific context in which they are used. However, there is no doubt that they can be a valuable tool for organisations across a range of industries.


It is evidenct that SJTs have grown in popularity in recent times and for good reason. They provide insight into the individual competencies of each candidate, and provides a more accurate idea of each candidate in terms of how they would behave and react in a variety of scenarios. We can guarantee that by implementing these into your hiring process you will have a higher-skilled, competent and long-lasting workforce. 

If you're interested in psychometric testing, we also have a range of other aptitude tests to take a look at. Finally, if you have any more questions regarding SJTs or any thing else, feel free to contact us today for more information. 

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