“Psychometric testing isn’t predictive of a person’s performance”

“You can always lie in a psychometric test”

“Some people may underperform in a test because they’re nervous”

Do you agree with these above statements? Many people feel like psychometric testing is an unnecessary step of screening as it tends to be ambiguous and not reliably predictive of a person’s true ability. Others feel it is an essential step to ensure retention and to find quality candidates.

What really is psychometric testing and is it a worthwhile implementation to your organisation?

Psychometric testing is a measurement tool used to assess an individual’s intellectual capabilities, personality characteristics and mental health status. There are two types of psychometric testing: cognitive ability tests and personality questionnaires.

Cognitive ability tests measure a variety of aptitudes, such as:

  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Mechanical reasoning

The results of cognitive tests are often numerical, which allows for an easy way to compare and measure someone’s ability. 

Personality questionnaires measure different facets of a person’s behaviour, which is often ideal in leadership or managerial positions. They are often represented as numerical scores on a scale or written factors. Some personality testing requires a detailed interpretation from an accredited psychologist. These questionnaires have no right or wrong answer. They indicate a person’s personality, preferred work style, communication styles or their strengths/weaknesses. This helps organisations assess whether an individual suits their company culture and whether they have the desired competencies.

Are psychometric tests effective?

Instead of leaving things up to the recruitment process and intuition, a psychometric test gives an objective evaluation of soft skills and personality characters that may be hard to discern via the standard recruitment process.

  • Psychometric tests can determine whether someone lives up to their abilities stated on their resume
  • Psychometric testing can result in up to 40% reduction in employee turnover.
  • Lie scales are used in testing which indicates how truthful a person was when responding. Some online psychometric test administers have anti-cheating monitors.

It is important to note that the scores should not be considered in isolation. For example, a score of 60 may be considered low but if the average score from the comparison group was 45, that indicates the candidate has a well above average capability.

A range of tests should be given to understand a holistic view of someone’s ability rather than obtaining a raw score on a single assessment. Businesses should not view psychometric testing as their source of truth but rather an add on criteria in addition to their CV, interview and references.

There are thousands of available tests in the market, the test you choose depends on the role and the skills required. An organisation would need to be familiar with types of testing and understand what types of tests are ideal for each role. It is ideal to have a range of assessments rather than relying upon one test score.

So, should you use psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing is especially useful if the test has high job relatedness and content validity. Content validity specifically refers to how well an assessment evaluates all aspects of the role it is designed for.

Psychometric services can be quite expensive, so it is important to assess the needs of your organisation before making a decision.

If you recruit for a lot of skills-based roles, psychometric tool may be a helpful tool to assess whether an individual is capable of meeting requirements of the role. Furthermore, if you are recruiting a high paying leadership role, personality tests can help to assess whether the individual has excellent calibre and is a good cultural fit to ensure retention.

No matter what you choose, psychometric services is definitely an add-on value for your organisation and is a security measure to preventing bad hires!