Psychometric Testing in Recruitment
Our guide for HR professionals on what psychometric tests are and why they are important for recruiting
What is a psychometric test in recruitment?
A psychometric test is used to assess a candidate's cognitive ability and their personality. From a candidate's response psychometric testing can predict valuable insights such as job performance, competence, and motivations.
There are two general types of psychometric tests: ability tests and personality tests.
Ability tests will be able to identify a candidate's level of cognitive ability. It can assess, to name a few, their numerical, verbal, logical, critical thinking skills.
Personality tests are focused on understanding the candidate's behaviours and motivations.
Why are psychometric tests used when hiring?
When recruiting new employees, psychometric tests provide the ultimate insight into a candidates potential, providing a meaningful and highly valid prediction of that candidates knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics of good job performance.
Psychometric tests are administered online by test publishers, like Test Partnership. This means that hundreds, or even thousands, of candidates can be tested from the click of a button, and their data can be compiled and reported automatically. This saves an incredible amount of time and money for hiring companies, as they can quickly identify those star candidates from their candidate pool with the greatest of ease.
Psychometric tests hold no bias and are effective at testing candidates from all job levels from entry level to CEOs. Hiring companies can even create bespoke assessments that are designed specifically for their organisation tailoring the assessments for specific roles.
Benefits of psychometric testing
We've already mentioned a couple reasons why employers would use psychometric tests, here we will take a deeper look into some of the main benefits of psychometric testing for hiring companies:
- 1. Job performance: Psychometric tests are the most powerful and valid predictors of job performance available today and are over 14 times better at predicting job performance than the average selection interview (Hunter & Hunter, 1984). As a standardised testing method, psychometric tests offer a highly effective way of predicting how effectively a candidate will perform in their new job.
- 2. Organisational performance: The use of psychometric tests in the workplace has been found to lead to the following workplace outcomes: increased organisational performance, increased employee retention, reduced cost per hire, decreased employee turnover, decreased absenteeism and higher levels of employee engagement/motivation. Selecting top performing candidates and ensuring a high quality workforce is imperative for any organisation and psychometric testing is the ideal mechanism for ensuring this.
- 3. Convenience: Online psychometric tests can be sent to candidates at the click of a button, individually or by the thousand. As a result, psychometric testing is significantly less time intensive than other selection processes, such as interviews and assessment centres. Once a candidate completes their assessment, reports are automatically generated and available for viewing within seconds, requiring little input from staff. This makes psychometric testing ideal for pre-employment screening, high volume recruitment, or in busy human resources departments.
- 4. Return on investment: Psychometric tests can be purchased online and Test Partnership allow you to setup tests easily. The cost of hiring a poor performing candidate has been found to be 3.2 times the salary of the indivisual (Gallop International). Whereas, high-performing candidates were found to produce on average 43% more revenue than an average performing employee (Hay group). The cost of using a psychometric testing platform, like Test Partnership, will likely save you money and result in a better performing workforce.
This table shows how using cognitive ability testing compares to other hiring methods.
- 5. Objectivity: Selecting employees using well-researched psychometric tests increases the fairness and objectivity of a selection process. This means that employees can be selected on merit using fair and standardised tests, rather than subjective (or biased) selection methods. Unstructured interviews are classic examples of subjective and inefficient selection tools, which may screen out high performing candidates unnecessarily. Fair, standardised, and valid selection tests are a great way to increase the fairness and objectivity of a selection process, helping organisations avoid legal disputes over unfair selection decisions.
What types of psychometric tests are there?
Psychometric tests for selection and assessment can be grouped into two categories: cognitive ability tests (also known as aptitude tests) and personality tests. Cognitive ability tests are measures of cognitive ability/intelligence, and personality questionnaires measure specific personality traits such as extraversion and agreeableness.
These two psychological constructs are important to employee selection as they both show meaningful correlations with job performance. Therefore using scientifically valid psychometric tests when hiring, such as ours at Test Partnership, can accurately measure these constructs, providing a predictor of good job performance to client companies.
Within cognitive ability tests, a variety of specific aptitudes can be measured and evaluated, using the following:
- Numerical reasoning tests
- Verbal reasoning tests
- Logical/diagrammatic reasoning tests
- Error checking tests
- Data analysis tests
- Critical thinking tests
- Mechanical reasoning tests
Personality questionnaires are even more versatile and can measure the following variables:
- Leadership potential
- Development needs
- Competency potential
- Motivations and Behaviours
Other psychometric tests, such as situational judgement tests draw aspects from both cognitive ability tests and personality questionnaires. As a result, many psychologists consider these exercises to be an intermediate between cognitive ability tests and personality questionnaires.
Due to the range of tests on the market, it is always advisable to discuss psychometric testing with an expert before deciding on the use of psychometrics in the workplace.
Additional psychometric test FAQs
Are psychometric tests reliable for recruitment?
Psychometric tests can be a useful tool for employers in the recruitment process as they are the most powerful predictor of job performance, but it is important to understand that they are not a perfect indicator of an individual's suitability for a job. The reliability of a test depends on several factors including the quality of the test and how well it has been validated. A well-designed and validated test can provide valuable information about a candidate's abilities, personality, and other characteristics that are relevant to the job in question. However, to maximise effectiveness, it should be used in conjunction with other methods of assessment such as interviews and work exercises to get a more complete picture of a candidate's qualifications.
Can psychometric tests measure IQ?
Psychometric tests can measure a person's cognitive abilities, which can include intelligence (IQ). However, not all psychometric tests are designed to measure IQ specifically. IQ tests are a type of cognitive ability test that are specifically designed to measure a person's general intelligence, which is often defined as the ability to learn, understand, and reason.
Free example psychometric tests
Here are some practice psychometric tests for you to understand what each test type entails. The practice tests are timed and will have worked solutions at the end explaining the correct answers.
Inductive reasoning test
Critical thinking test
Situational judgement test
Express Personality Test (TPAQ-27™)
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