Industrial-Organizational Psychology Jobs: How are Tests Used in the Workplace?

See if you know about tests I/O psychologists use in the workplace by studying four scenarios.

By Sarah Stevenson


Many industrial organizational psychology jobs fall under the umbrella of workplace research, testing and data analysis.

To work in these types of industrial psychology jobs, you’ll need to be well versed in the different varieties of tests that I/O psychologists commonly employ.

Take a look at these four sample work-related questions or situations and see if you can identify the test type in which each one would be most commonly utilized.

“One of your employees is unable to complete a task you have assigned. When you try to explain the task further, he seems unable to understand. How do you respond?” This type of question is used in which of the following tests:

A. On-the-job mastery test
B. HR performance review
C. Situational judgment test
D. Skills mastery analysis

Answer: C
This is a type of work sample test called a situational judgment test, which is intended to measure how job applicants will respond in a given workplace scenario or how they will handle a particular situation. Work sample tests address specific skills that are important to job performance. Industrial psychology jobs that include work sample testing usually deal with employee selection and hiring.

Jane either goes to the gym or for a walk in the park every day. If it is raining and windy then Jane goes to the gym. If it is sunny and not windy, then Jane goes to the park. Sometimes it can be raining and sunny at the same time. This test goes on to give several situations to choose from, such as, “If it is not sunny and it is raining then Jane goes to the gym,” or “If it is windy and sunny then Jane goes to the gym.” This type of testing is called:

A. Reasoning
B. Story problems
C. Rational relating
D. Aptitude testing

Answer: D
This type of question is used in aptitude tests, which measure skills such as abstract reasoning or mathematical ability. This question tests verbal reasoning skill, which can be an important indicator of analytical abilities in a job candidate. In certain types of workplaces, industrial organizational psychology jobs focus on employee skill and aptitude testing.

You are attending a meeting to address shortcomings in the proposed budget for next quarter’s employee training expenditures. Some of the proposed solutions include reducing the budget for employee training, seeking less costly vendors and charging fees for training courses. You have 45 minutes to solve the problem as a group. This type of problem solving is called:

A. Role-playing exercise
B. Cognitive strategy
C. Trust exercise
D. Interactive game

Answer: A
Role-playing exercise
s—in this case, a leaderless group discussion—are common in teamwork training as well as in the evaluation of employee skills such as cooperation and interpersonal communication. In particular, industrial organizational psychology jobs that deal with organizational development may use role-playing exercises to help assess the workplace climate and facilitate productivity.

Questions such as “Sometimes I don’t feel like I am able to handle my work responsibilities,” which offer response choices like “strongly agree,” “neutral” or “disagree” are called:

A. Personality evaluation tests
B. Performance assessment
C. Multiple choice
D. Human resources management

Answer: A
Industrial psychology jobs that focus on human resources management issues such as workplace health, stress management, employee behavior or performance assessment might make use of questions like these on personality evaluation tests, to determine whether potential employees have the qualities an employer is looking for.

If you’re interested in learning more about industrial-organizational psychology jobs, outside of employee testing, take a look at our organizational psychology careers page.


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