Royal Mail Online Assessment Test: Application, Interview Process & Preparation Guide
Last Updated on April 6, 2021
If you are applying for a job at the Royal Mail then you will probably have an online assessment coming your way. This online aptitude testing is a system the Royal Mail has introduced to filter out around 50% of candidates based on intelligence and personality.
That means it is an important step that you want to get right. Even a simple mistake could cost you the job before you’ve even been invited for an interview. The online assessments may seem daunting, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
If you are well prepared the tests are actually fairly straightforward. This guide is here to walk you through the process, help you prepare, and boost your chances of passing with flying colors. Let’s get started!
Who is the Royal Mail?
The Royal Mail is a British postal and courier service that has been in business since 1516. With over 150,000 employees they deliver mail to over 30 million addresses in the UK.
With such large, nationwide operations they have a huge number of roles across a variety of different departments. These job sectors are the following:
- Sorting and posties
- Head Office
- Fleet maintenance
- Graduate programs
- Temporary Jobs
While each job role may have slightly different tests and requirements this guide will be useful for any application to the Royal Mail.
Make sure to research your role thoroughly before you apply, especially if you are applying to one of the graduate programs. The different graduate programs follow either a logistics and operations route or a corporate route. Make sure to choose the one you are most suited to.
So how does the application process actually work? There are various different phases of the recruitment process that you will have to complete. Depending on which job you apply for, you may only be asked to complete some of these. Make sure to check thoroughly beforehand so that you prepare for the right ones.
The different stages of the application process are the following:
- Application Form
- Online Aptitude Tests
- Personality Test
- Checking Test
- Numerical Test
- Verbal Test
- Logical Reasoning Test
- Case Study
- Role Play Exercise
The first step to applying for any Royal Mail job is submitting an application form. This is similar to any typical application form and is done online. You can expect to fill in your past job experience, the role that you had, as well as any skills that you learned from it.
The suitability of your skills and profile will be evaluated against the About You section that is included in any Royal Mail Job posting. They will also value any skills that match those of the job you are applying for which is also described in the posting.
So make sure to refer back to the requirements of the job as you fill in your application. You have plenty of space to write your answers so make sure to include why the skills from your past job make you suitable for this one.
As well as your past experience, you will need to fill out your interest in the role and the company. Do some research on the company and highlight why you want to work for them in this section. Once you have submitted the form, successful candidates will be notified and invited to take the online assessments.
Online Aptitude Tests
The next phase involves undertaking some online assessments. These are aptitude tests designed to evaluate base-level intelligence and personality to make sure you are suitable for the role. Many people are eliminated from the selection process at this point so it is important to prepare yourself.
The tests cover the situational judgment, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning as well as a personality test. The tests you will be asked to take may differ depending on the role you are applying for. Supervisors and above will usually take an additional set of assessments which include some psychometric tests.
But we have included all the possible tests below. You should receive these tests via email and should return them within 3 to 5 days. An important thing to note is that these tests can be practiced. And the more practice you get, the higher chance you have of passing so don’t leave it until the last minute.
Let’s start with the personality test which evaluates your personality and how you act in various situations. Each question is a statement related to character and personality. You will answer these by selecting from five options that indicate how ‘true’ each statement is.
The options range from very true to completely untrue. The questions cover a bunch of different topics including behavior in the office, teamwork, and leadership. Although you can’t be ‘wrong’ in this test and you have no timeframe to complete it.
However, it is still useful to practice tests like this in advance and research the company in advance. This can be helpful to give you an idea of the psychology behind the Royal Mail selection process and the kinds of personalities that will be most suitable to them.
The checking test is a timed test that is designed to measure accuracy and precision under pressure. It is mainly useful for post carrier positions as these require high levels of accuracy while working at a fast-moving pace.
The test may also be useful for some clerical positions that require high levels of accuracy. What is included in the test? Normally you will be shown sets of numbers, like postcodes, and asked to pick out the matching one from a list of options. Although it is simple to do, it can be easy to make mistakes under pressure.
This test is all about numbers and again you will be against the clock. It tests to see how well you can understand, work with and analyze data. Usually, you will be shown some sort of data in the form of a graph, table, or other figures.
Each question comes with some instructions on what you have to do, usually giving you some time to analyze the data and then answer the question. You will have up to 90 seconds per question. If you are rusty on maths, you can prepare by looking over fractions and basic algebra.
The verbal test, as you may have guessed, is all about words. Here you are given a section of text that you will need to read and answer questions on. You typically only have 12 minutes to do this, which is not very long once you get started.
It is a good idea to practice these types of tests in advance to get an idea of how they work and to get used to picking out the key themes and meanings in a limited time. The questions are multiple-choice with 6 different options and there are usually between 3 and 5 questions. These questions are designed to test your reading comprehension as well as grammar and vocabulary.
Logical Reasoning Test
This test is all about being able to identify and apply random rules and patterns to situations to assess how logical you are. The assessment does this by showing you sequences of shapes with the last step missing, for example.
You are asked to figure out the pattern and select the next shape in the sequence from a list of options. The patterns may have something to do with shape, color or frequency. This is a little different to typical testing and is something you can get better at with practice. The logical reasoning test is 12 minutes long, like the verbal test. So make sure you complete it as efficiently as possible.
The Royal Mail Assessment Centre
If you pass the online assessments with the Royal Mail, for many roles you will then be invited to attend the final stage of the recruitment process, the Royal Mail Assessment Centre. This phase typically takes place within a Royal Mail building— it may be the hardest part of the application process.
A number of candidates for similar roles and regions are usually invited to attend this part of the process where you may need to undertake a number of different tasks. These will depend on the role you are applying for, but they include group exercises, presentations as well as an interview.
Related Reading: What to Expect at Your Assessment Centre
One of the possible tests is a case study that will be presented to you as part of the Assessment Centre. This is a simulated ‘real life’ situation that will be found in the information pack such as an onsite problem in the role you are applying for. There will be a group discussion following the presentation and then you will need to give an individual written response too showing how you would act in this situation. For the graduate scheme, you may also need to present these ideas in a clear way.
You may also have another group exercise that will assess how you work as part of a team. This could be a role-play exercise where you all need to work together to create something. This may be something simple like drawing or proposing a solution, but the key is to present your ideas while also listening to others and being willing to collaborate.
Role Play Exercise
You may also be asked to undertake a role-play exercise. This is to test how quickly and effectively you can think on your feet to find a solution to a real problem. You will be given a brief outlining the problem and you will need to respond with the action that you would take in this situation. The assessor will judge how well-suited your answer was to assess things like empathy, being detail-oriented, problem solving, and creativity.
An interview is part of the selection process during the Assessment Centre. This may take around an hour and will be mainly made up of competency-based questions. Competency-based questions usually focus on real life examples of how you have dealt with situations in the past.
These could be things like examples of when you have worked to a tight deadline, worked in a team or shown leadership skills. Make sure to prepare by thinking through past roles for relevant skills and examples you can draw on.
You will also be expected to know key facts and information about the Royal Mail group and the role you are applying for so make sure to do some research on their website and news sources before you go. Finally, if you successfully complete all the tasks in the Assessment Centre someone will contact you with a job offer.
How to prepare for your application?
So now we have gone through the whole application process, how can you actually prepare? While it is difficult to study for the aptitude tests like a standard test, you can find some simulation aptitude tests online that will help you get used to the types of questions and how they work.
This can really help with things like logical reasoning which is something you may not be used to. It is not really possible to prepare for the personality test but it can be a good idea to thoroughly read through the job role description beforehand and the Royal Mail’s ethos and align your answers here, In fact, in general, it is important to keep in mind exactly what the royal mail are looking for in the role you are applying for.
That way you can align how you respond to tasks and questions based on what they are looking for. Finally, try and stay confident and relaxed during the interview stage and aim to listen and collaborate in the team sections. You should now be ready to take on the application to the Royal Mail and move into a brand new job or even career. Good luck!