Retail Tests

Retail tests evaluate the skills and characteristics of applicants for a given position in retail.

  • What are retail skills tests?

    Retail skills tests assess candidates on their ability to perform many of the core skills needed to do well in a retail position.

    Working in retail requires several traits that retailers should test their applicants for. Numeracy, problem-solving, situational awareness, emotional intelligence and teamwork are competencies often sought – but how do you know if a candidate has such abilities?

    The tests will typically cover topics such as personality, cultural fit, comprehension, communication and reasoning skills for both numerical and verbal abilities.

    The tests are usually sent once a candidate has submitted an application form for their chosen role. Candidates are typically given two or three days to complete the online tests, usually under a timed condition with multiple-choice answers.

    The response options aside from the correct answer, called distractors, are mostly common mistakes or misconceptions, which enhances the question's ability to accurately measure a candidate's proficiency.

About the Retail Tests

Retail competencies are an essential but often overlooked skill set that should be tested. Poor retail skills can have a negative effect on business sales and service. It is therefore a core area a retail recruiter should test for before hiring new employees.

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  • Why use pre-employment testing for retail?

    It can be difficult for a recruiter or hiring manager to judge a candidate's competencies from just reading an application. Even when reviewing a person's CV who has lots of previous work experience in the retail industry, it's difficult to know with confidence which skills and qualities that person possesses unless they are tested.

    Retail skills tests solve this problem and can be sent to a large pool of potential hires to provide comparative data.

    Results from the skills tests will help you rank your top-performing applicants based on their tests results – which makes shortlisting more efficient, improves the quality of hires you make and reduces unconscious bias.

    Low-performing applicants can be removed from your talent pool, saving the need to interview numerous candidates in person or over the phone.

    Generally, it helps guarantee you are shortlisting the most suitable and skilful candidates from your applicants. Without a skill test, retail competencies can be difficult to evaluate.

    Job roles retail skills tests would be suitable for include:

    • Wholesale and Retail Buyers
    • Retail Loss Prevention Specialists
    • Retail Salespersons
    • Online Merchants
    • Supervisors
    • Merchandise Displayers
    • Sales Representatives
    • Sales Managers
    • Purchasing Agents
    • Cashiers
    • Demonstrators and Product Promoters
Picked Sample Report

View a sample report

Results for the Retail Tests along with other assessments the candidate takes will be compiled to produce a candidate report. The report is automatically generated and available both online and as a downloadable pdf so they can be shared with other team members and employees alike.

Which specific tests should you use?

At the core of retail work, the following tests are useful in measuring the quality of your hires:

  • Numerical reasoning test
  • Personality test
  • Verbal reasoning test
  • Interpersonal skills test
  • Personality test

Numerical reasoning test

A numerical reasoning test assesses a potential employee's ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately, which is particularly useful in a retail store when working at a cash register or till. The tests are typically short, timed assessments in a multiple-choice format, lasting between 10 to 45 minutes.

The challenge isn't necessarily the difficulty of the mathematics involved, but the ability to cope under time pressure, since candidates have approximately one minute per question. This can help replicate serving customers at a till in a busy store; for example where a queue has formed.

Personality test

A personality test is a good indicator of aptitude and performance – for example how well you can build rapport, how likeable you are and how well you will fit in a team.

The traits you are tested on relate to qualities you might expect for team-oriented and customer-facing roles such as a cashier, a retail salesperson or a sales manager. You might expect a candidate to have strengths in the following, which a personality test will identify:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness

Verbal reasoning test

A verbal reasoning test examines your ability to comprehend written information, identifying whether it's a fact, if the text passage infers it and if you can draw logical conclusions.

Verbal reasoning skills are useful in retail, for example, if you are working on a shop floor and a customer asks you a question about a product. You might need to read information about the product to understand its meaning and come to a conclusion about it.

Or another example might be when a senior manager or a senior leader is given a report to read and summarise for the rest of the team.

Interpersonal skills test

Good interpersonal skills are essential for nearly all retail positions as the retail business involves regularly interreacting with other people like customers and fellow employees. Strong interpersonal skills are necessary to ensure customers have a positive experience in the store, and employees are able to effectively cooperate with each other.

The interpersonal skills test is a measure of a candidate’s social intelligence, and the core competencies required to effectively interact with customers or employees.

Other aptitude tests (senior leadership roles)

Other aptitude tests you might consider in retail for more senior roles include diagrammatic reasoning, logical reasoning and abstract reasoning.

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“We used Picked as part of our Finance Graduate Scheme recruitment and it was just what we needed – really simple to send candidates the link to complete and clear to see how they all compared. And great value for money!”
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Retail Tests expert

Written by a Retail Tests expert

Our team of assessment experts is made up of I/O psychologists and psychometricians who are dedicated to making all of our tests as reliable, valid and fair as possible. They strictly adhere to best practices in the industry and stay on top of the latest innovations to ensure job candidates’ unique profiles of characteristics, abilities and knowledge are being measured accurately while minimising bias. They leverage decades of research and advanced predictive analytics to build assessments that link to outcomes that matter, such as job performance, turnover, engagement, culture fit and more.

“Personality profiling allowed us to perform lookalike modelling of our most successful employees and use this as a blueprint for new hires.”
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain

FAQs

What is the typical recruitment process in the retail industry?

A typical recruitment process for the retail industry might look like this:

  1. Online application
  2. Pre-employment tests
  3. Telephone interview
  4. Assessment day
  5. Job offer
What skills does a candidate in retail typically need?

Communication, the ability to multitask, literacy and numeracy skills, teamwork, merchandising, product knowledge and software skills (point of sale systems etc.)

What is the cost for Picked's retail test?

We believe in simple, transparent pricing. We operate monthly and annual subscriptions so you can pick the perfect plan for you. Don't worry if you're not sure: you can always upgrade or downgrade later, or speak to us to discuss the option of a custom made plan to fit your needs. This is all you ever pay – no set-up or hidden fees.

Can I get a free trial?

Yes, sign up (no credit card required) and we'll give you a 7-day trial completely free. You'll get unlimited access to create as many jobs and test as many candidates as you like. You can cancel any time and you won't be charged anything.

“Focusing on data reduced the subjective decision making from our hiring process and allowed us to reduce bias and make better hiring decisions.”
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden

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