Problem Solving Test

Problem solving tests assess an individual's ability to solve complex problems under pressures. Selecting good problem solvers is important if you want to build a proactive and solution orientated team.

  • What is a problem-solving test?

    A problem-solving test is a pre-employment assessment, used to determine the extent to which a candidate is able to apply their problem-solving abilities.

    The test challenges candidates through a series of hypothetical scenarios that look at problem-solving in a professional context. For each scenario, a candidate must conclude the most effective course of action by identifying the problem, weighing up potential approaches, and choosing which they believe will result in the best outcome.

    Those that perform well on the problem-solving test have the ability to navigate complex situations, adapt quickly to moving goalposts, and bring fresh ideas to the table - all attributes that make an employee a valuable asset to your organisation.

About the Problem Solving Test

Problem-solving skills are critical to so many job roles. It is the skill set that enables an employee to effectively work towards and achieve personal, team and business objectives. Yet it is among the most difficult skills to assess during recruitment.

Picked's problem-solving test provides a solution. It gives your hiring team a practical and efficient way to test and compare the entire applicant pool - so you can progress those not just with the most impressive resume, but also the most developed and demonstrated problem-solving ability.

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  • Why should you use a problem-solving test for recruitment?

    There are very few job roles that do not require at least some degree of problem-solving ability. In a professional setting, solving a problem is essential to achieve a specific goal. An employee must be able to determine the objective, identify any obstacles that stand in the way, and develop workable solutions to overcome them.

    Problems may relate to a personal situation like a conflict with a coworker, be project-based like a tight deadline, or apply to business success, such as how to attract new prospects, increase sales, or lower overheads.

    In all cases, employers that invest in talented problem solvers are likely to see the benefits of increased collaboration, productivity and innovation.

    The difficulty comes in knowing which applicants are in fact, strong problem solvers. It's a skill that can't really be expressed on paper, and while competency-based interview questions might give you greater insight, it is neither time nor cost-effective to interview every single candidate.

    By using a problem-solving test as a screening tool, you'll get objective and comparable data for your entire applicant pool. You can then shortlist those candidates that show the most promise, confident in the knowledge that their problem-solving skills meet the standards you're looking for.

    Ultimately, a problem-solving test minimises the risk of a bad hire. It can be used for a broad range of roles - in particular, those that involve shifting variables or innovative design, like project management, software development and engineering.

Sample Problem Solving Test question

You are preparing a summary of monthly accounts for the Finance Director. This financial summary is important as it will inform company spending for the next three months. However, something doesn’t seem right to you. Your summary has to be ready for tomorrow morning.

What would you do?

  • Organize all available financial data into a spreadsheet to analyze line by line, identifying any discrepancies.

  • Share your financial summary with a colleague and ask them to look over what you have prepared.

  • Make a note of what you think may be wrong to include in the report so the Director can look into the issue.

  • Work backwards in scrutinising the monthly accounts to track down what seems to be causing the discrepancy.

Picked Sample Report

View a sample report

Results for the Problem Solving Test 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.

How our test assesses problem-solving skills

In Picked's problem-solving skills test, candidates will need to answer a range of questions designed to indicate how well they can solve problems and work under pressure based on a final test score, which can then be compared to the scores of other applicants.

The test presents different problems for the candidates to review before selecting what they believe to be the correct answer. The other available options are mostly generic mistakes or misconceptions, which makes the test challenging and helps measure a candidate's ability more accurately.

During the development process, the test was rigorously analysed to maximise reliability and validity in line with industry best practices. It was created and tested by psychometric experts, and designed to assess interpersonal skills in a sample of job applicants who have varying professional experience.

Each test is reviewed by a panel of individuals representing diverse backgrounds to check for any sensitivity, fairness, face validity and accessibility issues. This ensures each test-taker has a fair chance of demonstrating their true level of interpersonal skills and feels the test is high quality.

Our problem-solving skills test is monitored to ensure it is up-to-date and optimised for performance.


Predictor of job success

Picked provides evidence-based recommendations for tests to use for over 750 jobs. Our recommendation engine leverages data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).


Access real assessments

Instant access to our full testing suite.

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    Fully accredited

    All our Problem Solving tests are written by accredited psychologists and fully validated.

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    For all levels

    We offer Problem Solving tests for all levels so you can assess all roles within your organisation.


Energize selection process

Streamline hiring with our out-of-the-box tools.

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    Smart automations

    Automated actions such as alerts and reminders ensure a smooth candidate experience.

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    Instant results

    Receive candidate results in real-time so you can make decisions in hours, not days.


Make better hires

Improve hiring with bias-free, data-driven decisions.

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    Analytics dashboard

    Our full array of candidate performance metrics will provide actionable data on each of your candidates.

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    Candidate comparison

    Simple, easy-to-use candidate comparison reports mean you don’t need to be a psychologist to interpret them.

“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
Problem Solving Test expert

Written by a Problem Solving Test 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

Problem Solving Test FAQs

How do you measure problem-solving skills?

In addition to Picked's problem-solving test, there are other tools and techniques you can use to measure this highly sought-after skill. These include practical assessments, role-play exercises, group-based tasks and behavioural style interview questions.

What types of problem-solving are there to test?

There are several styles of problem-solving. Some involve logical thinking and some practical thinking, whilst others rely on intuition and social sensitivities. Picked's problem-solving test has been expertly designed to ensure all aspects are covered.

What is the cost for Picked’s problem-solving skills test?

Picked operates on a monthly or annual subscription basis. We have several plans to suit your hiring needs, which you can check out here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us to discuss a custom plan.

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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