What Is A Psychometric Test?
A psychometric test is an assessment used to measure an individual’s cognitive ability, personality, or behaviours. Often used as part of the recruitment process, psychometric testing provides a fair and objective way of assessing the potential of a candidate to perform well in a job role.
Most psychometric tests are completed online, though pen and paper tests are still used occasionally, for example as part of assessment or development centres.
Psychometric tests take many forms, and are broadly split into two categories: personality tests and aptitude (or ability) tests. Aptitude tests evaluate candidates on core reasoning or cognitive abilities required for the role, such as a candidate’s reading comprehension or numerical aptitude. Personality tests explore an individual’s behaviours, values, and motivations.
Different psychometric tests are commonly combined in the same assessment, as this allows for multiple aptitudes and traits to be measured at the same time.
What is psychometric testing used for?
Psychometric tests have become a common part of the recruitment process for many employers as a useful tool to determine a candidate’s suitability for a job. This is because they provide an objective, convenient and accurate method to identify a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and personality, and have been shown to be strong predictors of cultural fit and future job performance.
By using psychometric testing during the recruitment process, employers can quickly identify those who have the innate abilities, characteristics, and aptitudes required for the role. This, alongside traditional assessment methods, helps companies make better shortlisting decisions.
As well as recruitment, psychometric testing is also used for long-term career development, since it can provide an objective measure of performance. It can equip managers with the information needed to inform decisions on future progression.
Companies may also use psychometric testing to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing teams, to help make more strategic hiring decisions.
When might you take a psychometric test?
Psychometric tests are commonly used during the job recruitment process. They are particularly popular in entry-level and graduate recruitment.
Typically, psychometric tests are administered online during the preliminary screening stages of recruitment, which is usually after you have submitted your application, but before any interviews have taken place.
Sometimes, psychometric tests are administered as part of an assessment centre, which is typically at the end of the recruitment process. Even if you have already completed an online assessment, employers may ask you to sit a repeat psychometric assessment, to validate your results.
You may also come across psychometric testing once you are employed at a company, whether that be for individual training, team building, or career development and progression. However, the psychometric tests used in this context will likely be different to those in recruitment, since they focus more on employee development.
Psychometric tests are also sometimes given in educational contexts to determine the intellectual and learning capability of students. This can help students identify their strengths and weaknesses, and decide which career path to take as they progress through their studies.
What does a psychometric test involve?
Psychometric tests typically involve a series of multiple-choice questions that are in a timed format; the length and time constraints will vary from test to test. Personality tests are not usually timed.
Some publishers use adaptive testing in their assessments, which means they respond to your ability level, increasing or decreasing in difficulty according to your answers. This allows candidates to demonstrate their maximum performance level.
Once you complete a psychometric test, your score will be compared to a comparison group, which is usually either a norm group or the candidates in the same talent pool who also completed the test. This gives the recruiter an idea of how you performed compared to those with similar abilities.
What are the different types of psychometric tests?
As previously mentioned, psychometric tests is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of different areas and subject matters, which can generally be split into personality tests and aptitude tests.
Aptitude tests are designed to measure a specific skill or aptitude to determine how well a candidate will perform certain tasks in the role. There are several different types of aptitude tests, each assessing something different. Some of the most common aptitude tests include:
Numerical reasoning. Measures an individual’s ability to effectively and accurately interpret numerical data, and apply basic arithmetic to draw evidence-based conclusions from it.
Verbal reasoning. Assesses language comprehension and ability to process and draw conclusions from written information.
Logical reasoning. Candidates must apply logic to abstract information to reach the correct conclusion. This test evaluates critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Diagrammatic reasoning. Measures a candidate’s ability to deduce sequential rules and apply them to a series of different flow charts or diagrams, to arrive at the correct outcome.
Situational judgement. Candidates are presented with a series of hypothetical workplace scenarios and must state which response best reflects how they would react in that situation.
Personality tests are used to evaluate a candidate’s values, preferences, and character traits to determine how they might behave in an occupational context. In a personality test, you will usually be required to rate scenarios or statements based on how much you agree or disagree with them.