Plum Assessment (Discovery Survey) – Guide and Practice [2024]
David Meshulam

David, Pre-Employment Tests Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What Is the Plum Assessment?

The Plum Discovery Survey assesses potential employees for various companies and organizations, including Deloitte, Scotiabank, and Bloomberg. The AI-based test includes four sections that assess your soft skills – problem-solving abilities, behavior and attitude, and social intelligence. 

The test has 4 sections,  no time limit , and takes about 25 minutes to complete.

The Plum Discovery Survey Invitation

If you are required to take a Plum Assessment, you will receive an email with a test invitation from the organization you applied to, Bloomberg, for example.

Once you receive the invitation, you are required to complete the assessment within 72 hours.

When clicking on the test link, you will be redirected to the Plum testing site, to which you need to register with the same email address you used for your application.

This is what it’s going to look like:

plum assessment invitation

Plum Discovery Survey Content and Sample Questions


Plum Discovery Survey Section #1 – Forced-Choice Personality Assessment

Sections 1 and 3 of the Plum test assess different aspects of your personality.

In the past, this section was used to compile the two types of personality assessment questions in a row. Today, the personality assessment is divided into two separate sections.

In this first section, you will be presented with a set of statements. In each set, you will need to choose the one that reflects your viewpoint the most (or best describes you) and one that reflects your viewpoint the least.

This section includes about 20 statements.

Plum Assessment Section #1 Sample Question

Which statement describes you best?

I love debating academic theories

I adopt a future emphasis

I am discreet about my accomplishments

Recommended Answer

The statements in this question relate to three different aspects of the Competency Framework:

  • I love debating academic theories – Creativity and Change
  • I adopt a future emphasis – Structure
  • I am discreet about my accomplishments – Dynamism

The best answer to this question (as often happens on the actual Values Assessment) varies depending on the position you are after.

Let's go over them one by one.


I love debating academic theories

The ability to conceptualize and debate abstract ideas is related to the Formulating Concepts and Strategies dimension of the Creativity and Change factor. This competency is important for any employee in a complex industry such as the financial industry, but it is especially crucial for managers and team leads.

For team members, however, this ability is second in importance to tackling practical and functional problems.

Therefore, our recommendation in this statement is:

  • Management position – Most (first choice)
  • Team member position – Neutral (second choice)


I adopt a future emphasis

Future emphasis is a part of the Structure factor, and its Planning and Organising dimension. This involves clearly understanding the potential challenges, particularly the implications of upcoming developments for various aspects of the business.

As a manager, this competency is second in importance to the ability to formulate and discuss abstract ideas, which are required for large-scale decisions. For team members, however, this competency is more important.

Therefore, our recommendation in this statement is:

  • Management position – Neutral (second choice)
  • Team member position – Most (first choice)


I am discreet about my accomplishments

This statement relates to the Achieving Goals and Objectives dimension in the Dynamism factor. While it indicates modesty and hard-working nature, considered an advantage in personal relationships, it may not be considered necessarily good in the HSBC Values Assessment, for two main reasons:

  1. In order to progress in any company, it can be positive for achievements to be visible.
  2. Remember that marking this statement means you DO NOT mark one of the other statements. Of these three statements, this one is least relevant for a working environment.

Therefore, our recommendation in this statement is:

  • Both managers and team members – Least (do not choose)


The main challenge in these types of questions is that all three statements can be just positive or just negative. Therefore, you are forced to choose between several positive and negative options that may not fit perfectly with your personality or your way of thinking.

To reflect your personality, you will need to be familiarized with these questions and learn to prioritize your possible answers.  

Our Recommendation for Better Preparation

If you want to improve your personality answers and learn how to prioritize your possible answers, we offer the perfect study guide and practices for six different possible positions to cover everything you need. It's affordable and comes with a money-back guarantee.


Plum Discovery Survey Section #2 – Problem Solving & Cognitive Ability Assessment

In this section, you will be presented with a series of abstract reasoning puzzles, in which you will need to select the missing piece in the sequence. 

This type of question is commonly referred to as “Next in Series”.

This section includes about 7 questions.


Plum Assessment Section #2 Sample Question


Inductive reasoning Sample Question 3
Inductive Reasoning anwser A
Inductive Reasoning Anwser B
Inductive Reasoning Anwser C
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C

There are two patterns of change in this set:

The diagonal from the upper-left corner to the bottom-right corner loses two squares every step from the center towards the corners. Therefore, there should be no black squares in this diagonal in the next step.

The diagonal from the upper-right corner to the bottom-left corner gains two black squares are every step from the center towards the corners. Therefore, there should be 6 black squares in this diagonal in the next grid.


This is the only section that focuses on your reasoning abilities and not your personality traits and preferences.

While the variety of questions in this section may be virtually infinite, the Plum Assessment combines a limited number of rules and patterns. By learning them, you will be able to spot the rules much faster on the actual test.

Plum Discovery Survey Section #3 – "You" Descriptor

As in section 1, this section of the test also assesses different qualities of your personality.

In this section, you will be presented with a list of adjectives; you will need to choose 3 that describe you the most and 3 that describe you the least. You cannot select both “most” and “least” for the same adjective.

This section includes about 5 questions.


Plum Assessment Section #3 Sample Question

Determine which three adjectives are most like you and which three adjectives are Least like you

Most like me


Least like me


The lists in this section will not always include adjectives that perfectly describe you one way or the other. However, selecting the adjectives that reflect your range of preferences will be easier after getting to know these types of questions. 

Plum Discovery Survey Section #4 – Social Intelligence Assessment

In this section you will be presented with a series of real-life workplace scenarios and a series of optional responses; you will need to choose the response that you believe to be “least effective” and “most effective” to handle the scenario. This type of test is also known as a Situational Judgment Test (SJT).

This section includes about 7 scenarios.


Plum Assessment Section #4 Sample Question


You have been in your role at the company for two years, working with several small clients. You were recently assigned a big project and were very excited about this new opportunity. This morning, you were scheduled to sit with the client and your manager to go over your recommendations for the client. Halfway through the meeting, your manager intervenes during your presentation. She apologizes to the client and asks you to step outside the conference room. Once you are alone, your manager expresses her dissatisfaction with the meeting, saying the client does not seem happy with your conclusions and suggests that, perhaps, you failed to gather appropriate and sufficient evidence to support your conclusions.

What would you do in this situation?

Please rank the responses below on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being what you are most likely to do and 5 being what you are least likely to do. 


Response #1: You accept your manager's criticism, even though you don't agree with it. You return to the meeting and continue as planned, asking your manager to offer her comments at the end of your presentation.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Response #2: You decide not to make an issue of it for the time being and return to the meeting to continue as planned. You ask your manager to discuss the subject with you after the meeting.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Response #3: You are concerned about the manager's disapproval of your work. After the meeting, you write her an e-mail apologizing for your lack of experience and promise to go over the data and refine your conclusions.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Response #4: You feel your manager has embarrassed you in front of the client. You ask her to refrain from making further comments during the rest of the meeting and later write her an e-mail explaining what you think you did in the meeting and why it was appropriate.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Response #5: You feel you have disappointed your manager and ask to be excused from the rest of the meeting. You do not want to damage the company's reputation and feel your manager is better equipped to handle the rest of the meeting.

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Recommended Answers + Explanation

Primary competencies: Resilience/Determination

Secondary competencies: Working under management; Social intelligence, Openness to criticism

The correct ranking is: 1 - 2 - 3  - 4 - 5

Explanation: The scenario portrays an uncomfortable situation in which your manager criticizes you during a presentation and you are expected to (a) accept the criticism and (b) handle any negative emotions that may arise, so you can continue with your obligations towards your client.

Let's consider each response separately:

Response #1: You accept your manager's criticism, rather than become defensive and reject it. You exhibit a high level of self-control by continuing your presentation, while incorporating your manager's viewpoint during the meeting with the client. This is an excellent response.

Response #2: You don't allow your negative emotions to overshadow your judgment and continue with your presentation, despite the negative comments you have received from your manager. You do not incorporate your manager's viewpoint during the meeting with the client, but you make up for this by setting a later date to deal with the criticism more comprehensively.

Response #3: This response indicates you are overwhelmed by feelings of self-blame and anxiety over your manager's opinion of you. Although you promise to go over the data and refine your conclusion, you do not seek your manager's input during the meeting, and you fail to set a future time to discuss and deal with the criticism more comprehensively. This is not a preferred response.

Response #4: You are acting defensively in response to your manager's criticism. This reaction portrays an emotionally unstable employee who has a hard time dealing with frustration. You do not seem open to accepting a different opinion than your own as you insist on presenting your own viewpoint in a later meeting with the manager. This is a negative response.

Response #5: This is by far the worst possible response as you are so distressed by your manager's criticism you cannot return to the meeting and finish your obligations. Therefore, this response indicates a low level of emotional stability.

Responses one and two are positive responses, as in both, you prove your ability to accept criticism and demonstrate self-control by continuing your presentation. Response one is slightly better due to the fact that you deal with the criticism immediately, rather than putting it off.

Responses three, four, and five are negative responses, as you do not respond to the criticism positively. Response three is better than responses four and five, as even though you are overwhelmed by the criticism, you still agree to accept it, and you continue presenting to the client. Response Five is the worst response, as you have taken the criticism so negatively that you are too emotionally unstable to perform your job.


The questions in this section assess your workplace behavior. While the correct answers might seem obvious in some scenarios, they actually depend on the position and the company culture for which you've applied. Thus, answering these questions can be pretty challenging without knowing what they are measuring and the motive behind each scenario.

Your Plum Profile

After completing your Plum Assessment, you will receive your personalized Plum profile. The profile is divided into three sections –

  • Your top three talents out of the 10 Plum Talents.
  • Your preferable working environment and work style.
  • Questions you should ask yourself and your interviewer when applying to a new position.

The profile gives you self-insights that can help you better understand the motivations and drives that you need for prospering in your position and workplace.


What Does the Plum Assessment Measure?

The test measures your natural abilities according to the 10 Plum Talents:

  • Adaptation – the ability to adjust to changes while preserving a positive demeanor.
  • Communication – the ability to effectively express ideas and identify and understand other people’s opinions.
  • Conflict Resolution – the ability to unite people to reconcile differences and resolve conflicts.
  • Decision Making – the ability to assess information and make a high-quality knowledge-based decision.
  • Embracing Diversity – the ability to understand other people's points of view and effectively manage different types of people and needs.
  • Execution – the ability to set goals, oversee progression, take initiatives to improve the process, and reach the desired result.
  • Innovation – the ability to initiate new ideas and creative solutions to solve problems.
  • Managing Others – the ability to lead a group of people and to motivate them toward common goals.
  • Persuasion – the ability to convince people to go with your direction, suggestion, idea, or initiative.
  • Teamwork – the ability to cooperate and work efficiently with other people.

Plum Discovery Survey Tips

  • Take your time – the test has no time limit so you can read the instructions with no haste, understand what you are asked, and choose your answer carefully.
  • Consider the Test as a Whole – as most of the Plum Discovery Survey is a personality profiling test, single questions are rather meaningless, and only the entire test, as a whole, will eventually uncover if you are a proper match for the job or not. As such, before preparing and taking the actual test, learn the traits required of your position, the organizational culture of the employer, and the traits measured specifically by the Plum Assessment, and integrate those to a full image.
  • Think “what should I do” rather than “what would I do” – in the SJT questions in the social intelligence assessment section of the test, you are encouraged to answer intuitively. However, your spontaneous response is not necessarily the right for the job. Therefore, before making your call, think “what should I do in this scenario” instead of “what would I do.”


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