Situational Judgment Test: All You Need to Know about SJTs

What Is a Situational Judgment Test?

The content and focus of a situational judgment test vary based on the scenarios presented and the type of questions. Generally, SJTs assess a range of desired behaviors and attributes relevant to specific professions, such as communication, teamwork, leadership, empathy, conflict resolution, problem-solving, negotiation, resilience, ethical responsibility, self-awareness, adaptability, and reliability.

The test evaluates your capacity to make appropriate decisions in workplace settings, mirroring situations you will encounter in the role you applied for. You will be presented with work-related problems or critical scenarios and asked to select your preferred course of action.

For example, if you're seeking a role in project management, a situational judgment test scenario might involve a team member missing a deadline, requiring you to decide how to handle the situation while maintaining team morale and project progress.

While there are no strictly correct or incorrect answers, employers typically have preferred responses.

 Situational Judgement Test Format

The situational judgment test can come in different formats:

  1. Traditional paper-based assessments
  2. Computer-based simulations
  3. Text-only scenarios
  4. Video clips depicting situations, accompanied by written response choices
  5. Animated scenarios featuring computer-generated avatars with written response options

While most SJTs are in a multipole-question format, you may encounter open-ended questions in which you will need to respond to the scenario in your own words.

Situational Judgement Test Question Types 

There are various types of situational insert judgment test questions –

 Choosing One Response

You will be given a work-related scenario and a list of 3-5 responses.

You could be asked to identify the best or worst response to the situation or the one you would most or least likely choose based on your personal tendencies.

This type of situational judgment test questions aims to evoke more emotional and personal responses, giving assessors insights into your personality and behavior beyond intellectual thinking.

You're leading a team project with a tight deadline. One of your team members consistently arrives late to meetings, causing delays and affecting team productivity.

Which is the best response?

  1. Confront the team member privately and express your concerns about their punctuality, emphasizing the importance of being on time to ensure the project's success.
  2. Ignore the issue and hope that the team member improves their punctuality on their own without intervention.
  3. Give the team member less critical tasks to minimize the impact of their delay on the project.
  4. Discuss the situation openly with the entire team, emphasizing the importance of punctuality and setting clear expectations for meeting attendance.

In this scenario, the best response is option 1, which addresses the issue directly and professionally while also providing guidance and emphasizing the importance of punctuality to the project's success.


Choosing Two Responses

You will be given a scenario in which you need to select the best and worst responses from a list of 3 to 5 options. Additionally, you could be asked to choose the response you are most and least likely to take.

You're working on a team project with tight deadlines. One of your team members consistently misses deadlines and fails to deliver their assigned tasks on time, causing delays and frustration among other team members.

Which are the best and worst responses to this scenario?

  1. Confront the team member privately and discuss the importance of meeting deadlines, offering assistance or resources to help them improve their performance.
  2. Inform the team member's supervisor about their consistent failure to meet deadlines, emphasizing the negative impact on the team's productivity.
  3. Offer to take on some of the team member's workload to help them catch up and prevent further delays.
  4. Ignore the issue and hope that the team member improves their performance on their own.
  5. Publicly criticize the team member during a team meeting for failing to meet deadlines, hoping to shame them into better performance.

In this scenario, the best response is option 1, which addresses the issue directly and offers support and assistance to help the team member improve their performance. The worst response is option 5, as publicly criticizing a team member is unprofessional and unlikely to resolve the issue effectively.


You will be given a scenario in which you will be asked to evaluate the effectiveness of different optional responses on a scale of very ineffective to very effective. You'll need to compare the optional responses to each other and rank them according to the level of effectiveness you think is appropriate. Keep in mind that each rank can only be assigned to one response.

You're a manager overseeing a team of sales representatives. One of your team members consistently fails to meet their sales targets despite receiving training and support. Their performance impacts the team's overall success, and you need to address the situation.

Rank the following responses from very ineffective to very effective:

  1. Provide additional sales training and coaching to the struggling team member.
  2. Have a one-on-one meeting with the team member to discuss their performance issues and set clear expectations for improvement.
  3. Transfer the struggling team member to a different department where their skills might be better utilized.
  4. Publicly reprimand the team member during a team meeting to emphasize the importance of meeting sales targets.
  5. Offer financial incentives or rewards to motivate the team member to improve their performance.

In this scenario, the ranking is:
Very Ineffective – option 4
Ineffective – option 5
Neutral – option 3
Effective– option 1
Very Effective – option 2



You will be given a scenario in which you will be asked to rate the effectiveness of each response on a similar scale. In this case, your rating for each response is considered independent of your rating for other responses. This means you can assign the same rating to two or more responses if you find them equally effective or ineffective.

You're a manager in a retail store, and you've noticed that customer satisfaction ratings have been declining recently. Upon investigation, you discover that one of your employees has been consistently rude to customers and providing poor service.

Rate the following responses based on their effectiveness:

  1. Transfer the employee to a different department where their customer interaction is limited.
  2. Provide additional customer service training to the employee to improve their skills and attitude.
  3. Issue a verbal warning to the employee and explain the importance of providing excellent customer service.
  4. Immediately terminate the employee for their behavior to send a clear message about the importance of customer satisfaction.
  5. Offer incentives or rewards for employees who receive positive customer feedback to encourage better service.

The correct rating in this scenario is

How to Answer Situational Judgment Test Questions?

Although SJT questions allegedly don’t have definitive right and wrong answers, you may reconsider that approach, as your recruiters and hiring managers do have certain behaviors, they value more from their employees.
Following these 5 principles will help you effectively respond to any situational judgment test question:

  1. Read both the scenarios and the potential responses carefully before selecting your answer. While one answer may appear correct initially, another option could better fit the situation.
  2. Base your decisions solely on the information given; avoid making assumptions beyond what's provided in the question.
  3. Evaluate each response independently, considering how it reflects your professional attributes. Determine if selecting a response aligns with your desired image as an employee based on the company’s values and culture.
  4. Use the SJT as an opportunity to showcase your strengths. Opt for the action you should take rather than what you might typically do.
  5. Prioritize a careful examination of all instructions, just as you would with any significant test. If uncertain about a question, mark it for review later. Upon completion, revisit marked questions if time permits.

Situational Judgment Test Score 

Once you've completed the situational judgment test, a computer typically scores your answers automatically, and the results are then provided to your recruiter.

The scoring process involves comparing your answers with the 'best fit' responses determined by your hiring manager. Your performance is also benchmarked against a norm group of previous test-takers.

Your recruiters receive several pieces of information:

  1. Your overall test score indicates how closely your responses aligned with the factors determined by your recruiters.
  2. Individual competency scores, which may include areas such as communication, drive planning, analysis, and people skills.
  3. Comparative data, often presented as percentile scores, shows how your scores stack up against similar test-takers.

Your employers may use this data as a pass-fail benchmark for advancing candidates to the next stage of the hiring process. They do so if they're satisfied that the situational judgment test effectively filters candidates and selects the most suitable ones for the job.

Situational Judgment Test Score 

Before the test, familiarize yourself with the company’s background, values, and organizational culture. Companies often provide information about their agenda and approach to service and sales, either through published materials or on their website. Identify the competencies that hold significance for the position you're seeking within the company.

Understand that the situational judgment test does not strictly have correct and incorrect answers. Your task is to select the response that best aligns with the situation presented and showcases competencies valued by the employer.

Consider the specific context of the scenario. Choose the response that best suits your role and the circumstances described.

Assume that all optional responses are possible; you won't encounter options that cannot be implemented.

Recognize that the listed responses may not encompass all potential options. Your ideal or most appropriate response might not be among those provided.

Acknowledge that responses may be suitable for either short-term or long-term outcomes and vice versa. Evaluate responses regardless of the timeframe, as an action could be appropriate even if it can't be immediately implemented.



What is the Situational Judgment Test?

The Situational Judgment Test (SJT) is a personality assessment, often used as a pre-employment tool that evaluates how people handle work-related situations. The test presents real-life scenarios to evaluate how candidates will respond and whether they have the needed traits for the position they applied for.

How do you answer a Situational Judgment Test?

To tackle a Situational Judgment Test effectively, start by familiarizing yourself with the employer and the company's values and culture, as they often indicate their prioritized competencies. Remember that there are no strictly right or wrong answers; instead, choose responses that demonstrate desired competencies based on the company’s values and culture. Consider each scenario individually, selecting the response best suits the situation and your role. Ensure you understand that all provided responses are possible and that your ideal response may not always be listed. Finally, assess your responses based on short-term and long-term effectiveness, prioritizing actions aligning with the desired outcomes.

How to pass the Situational Judgment Test?

To ace the Situational Judgment Test (SJT), start by familiarizing yourself with the employer's and company’s values and culture, as these often influence the competencies they prioritize. While there's no definitive right or wrong, prioritize responses that best fit the scenario and showcase desired traits. Assess each response independently, reflecting on how it portrays your professional qualities. Opt for actions that demonstrate your strengths and align with what's expected in the role. Lastly, carefully follow test instructions, mark uncertain questions for later review, and revisit them if time permits after completing the test.

How do situational judgment tests work?

Situational Judgment Tests (SJT) assess how you respond to workplace scenarios, focusing on desired behaviors like communication and problem-solving. You will be presented with real-life situations and will be asked to choose the most appropriate response.

There are various types of SJT questions:

  • Choosing one response –you will select the best or worst response from a list based on your personal tendencies.
  • Choosing two responses –you will be asked to select the best and worst responses from a list.
  • Ranking –you will be asked to evaluate the effectiveness of different responses on a scale.
  • Rating – you will be asked to rate the effectiveness of each response independently.
How do I prepare for a Situational Judgment Test?

To prepare for a Situational Judgment Test (SJT), start by researching the employer's values and culture to understand the competencies they prioritize for the role. Practicing different types of situational judgment test questions is also recommended so that you won’t be surprised by any obstacle coming your way on the test.

How do I study for SJT?

The best way to study for your Situational Judgment Test is by practicing various SJT question formats while considering the organization’s values. This will also help alleviate any apprehension and ensure you're fully prepared to address any scenario presented during the test.

How SJT tests are scored?

Situational judgment tests are scored by comparing your responses with ideal ones, usually determined by your recruiter and hiring manager during test creation. Your performance can also be compared to a norm group of previous test-takers. Your recruiters receive your overall score, individual competency scores, and comparative data. These metrics help them evaluate your suitability for the role you applied for.

What is a good Situational Judgment score?

A good Situational Judgment Test (SJT) score reflects alignment with the competencies valued by the company you are applying for, as well as effective decision-making in workplace scenarios. Employers typically assess candidates based on their overall test score, individual competency scores, and comparative data against previous test-takers. Thus, it's essential to understand the company's values and culture, consider the context of each scenario, and select responses that showcase desired competencies.

Can you fail a Situational Judgment Test?

Yes, you can potentially fail a Situational Judgment Test (SJT). While there aren't definitive correct or incorrect responses, your answers are assessed according to their alignment with the behaviors and competencies esteemed by the employer. It's essential to thoroughly evaluate each scenario and response, opting for the choice most closely mirrors the desired attributes. Moreover, understanding the context of the scenario and sticking to test-taking strategies can enhance your performance and heighten your chances of success.

Are situational judgment tests timed?

Most Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) don't impose a time constraint. However, the test provider may suggest an average completion duration.

For instance, Aon’s ChatAssess recommends a 20-minute time limit, and SHL's SJT suggests completing the test in around 20 minutes.

Learn More About Situational Judgement Tests


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