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Psychometric testing in recruitment

Psychometric Testing

What is psychometric testing in recruitment?

In recruitment, psychometric testing is a series of assessments to check a candidate’s suitability for a role. The tests assess candidates’ personality and capabilities.

Psychometric testing often takes place during the early stages of the candidate screening process, or as part of an assessment centre.
 

Psychometric Testing

Who does psychometric testing?

Psychometric tests are developed by qualified psychologists. Recruitment companies can facilitate the tests - which are often completed on a computer. 

At Eden Scott, we use software developed with a licensed psychologist to administer psychometric tests on behalf of our clients. Before starting the test, we explain to candidates how psychometric testing works and what to expect. 

Why do companies use psychometric testing?

Companies use psychometric testing to paint a clearer picture of a candidate’s suitability for a role, and whether they would be a good fit for the company’s culture and values.

Psychometric testing is part of a wider candidate screening process, including candidate interviews. Learn more about how to interview someone

Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing in recruitment - Advantages 

What are the benefits of psychometric testing? Here are the main advantages.

Objectivity 
It’s easy to say you can do something, but psychometric testing can provide objective data on whether that;s actually the case. For example, a candidate might list ‘problem solving’ as a skill on their CV, but a psychometric aptitude test can measure their ability level by setting a problem-solving task. 

Personality fit 
Because everyone is on their best behaviour during an interview, sometimes it can be difficult to get a full picture of a candidate’s personality. However, employees with certain personality traits are required for certain roles. For example, you may need someone who can remain calm under pressure, or who can instil confidence in their colleagues. Psychometric personality tests can help to build a fuller impression of a candidates’ character. 

Psychometric Testing
 

Psychometric testing in recruitment - Disadvantages

Does psychometric testing work? Here are some disadvantages.

Relying too much on testing
For psychometric testing to be effective, it should be part of a holistic candidate screening approach  - including in–person interviews. Relying on psychometric testing results alone could rule out good candidates.

Data over ‘gut instinct’
When it comes to making a job offer, employers often like to go with their gut. Psychometric testing asks us to focus on data rather than gut instinct. This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, but can be a challenge for those who aren’t used to a data-driven approach.

As we’ve mentioned above, effective psychometric testing should be used as part of a wider screening process, and isn’t a standalone solution. 
 

Which companies use psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing is commonplace across most industries. Most well-known large organisations - like Google, Citigroup, Deloitte and more use some form of psychometric testing. It’s also widely used in public sector organisations and governmental departments, including the Civil Service. 

Companies tend to use psychometric testing for graduate roles, but it can also be used as part of an assessment centre or at any other stage of the hiring process.
 

Types of psychometric testing

The two main types of psychometric testing are personality tests and aptitude tests.

Psychometric Testing

Personality tests

A psychometric personality test is usually a series of questions designed to gauge how an applicant would respond to certain scenarios. It also assesses their characteristics and categorises them into strengths and weaknesses for the specific role. 

Personality tests can assess qualities like extraversion, introversion, thinking, feeling, sensing, intuition, judgement, perception and emotional stability.

Personality test examples 
Often, psychometric personality test questions ask participants to rate statements from ‘Strongly disagree’ to ‘Strongly agree’. 

For example:

  • I prefer variety to routine 
  • I rarely feel stressed
  • I enjoy discussions as part of a large groups 
  • My decisions are based on logic rather than instinct

While there’s no ‘right’ answer to these questions, the responses help companies to understand how candidates might fare within a specific role.
 

Aptitude tests

Psychometric aptitude tests are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to perform certain tasks. There are several types of aptitude tests, with the main ones being:
 

  • Verbal
  • Numerical
  • Abstract reasoning 

Companies usually focus on one or two kinds of aptitude test, depending on the type of vacancy they need to fill. For example, a customer service employee may need to demonstrate verbal and numerical aptitude, while a graduate engineer may be required to show numerical and abstract reasoning skills. 

Verbal aptitude test examples
A verbal aptitude test is all about a candidate’s communication skills. This can include writing, spelling, grammar and conversational skills. It also tests their comprehension skills and their ability to understand complex sentences

Answers are usually multiple choice. 
 

For example:

  • Scarlet is to red as Fuschia is to_____ [Blue / Colour / Pink / Flower]
  • Find the antonym of ‘cherish’ _____ [Value / Hug / Cry / Belittle]
  • I need an _____ response [Fast / Slow / Quick / Urgent]
  • There are five children in the Maxwell family. Peter’s sister Jill is younger than Brian, who is older than Adriana. Adriana has one brother and a younger sister but her youngest brother Eddy is not the baby of the family. Who is the youngest child? [Peter / Jill / Adriana / Eddy / Brian] (source: aptitude-test.com)


Numerical aptitude test examples
A numerical aptitude test assesses a candidate’s ability to perform mathematical calculations and analyse data.  This can include interpreting a graph, converting currency, estimating and more. It can also include solving more complex equations.

Answers are usually multiple choice. 

Abstract reasoning aptitude test examples
Abstract reasoning tests are designed to assess a candidate’s logic and analytical skills. Usually, this involves identifying patterns in a sequence of shapes, and determining the next logical step in that pattern.

Often, the sequences also include irrelevant features - this is to assess whether participants can distinguish between distractions and important information. 


Free psychometric testing websites

Psychometric tests are best designed alongside professional psychologists, as each role will require a unique balance of personality traits and technical abilities. At Eden Scott, we work alongside a professional psychologist at our bespoke assessment centres.

However, if you’re interested in seeing examples of psychometric tests, there are loads of free resources to check out online. Here are some examples:
 

Free psychometric personality tests
 

Psychometric Institute - Free Personality Test 
SHL - Personality Questionnaire
Open Psychometrics - Big Five Personality Test


Free psychometric aptitude tests

Verbal 
Test Partnership - Verbal Reasoning Test
Job Test Prep - Verbal Reasoning Test

Numerical 
Numerical Reasoning Test (several examples)
Psychometric Institute - Free Numerical Reasoning Test

Abstract reasoning
Test Dome - Abstract Reasoning
Latest Pilot Jobs - Abstract Reasoning Test
 

Final thoughts - Should you use psychometric testing in recruitment?

When used as part of a wider candidate selection process, psychometric testing can be highly effective. Get more insights into how to interview candidates in our new report.

 

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