Benefits and Types of Psychometric Tests in Recruitment

Woman professional taking a psychometric paper test and circling answer with wooden pencil sitting at a desk.

Having a structured, objective recruitment process is one of the keys to successful hiring. Psychometrics tests can be useful in analyzing candidates, removing bias, and identifying culture fit. We’ll explain the benefits of psychometric tests in recruitment and go over the different types that can help you in your quest to find the best candidates. 

What is a Psychometric Test?

The word ‘psychometric’ is a combination of the terms psycho (pertaining to the mind) and metric (referring to measurement). A psychometric test is a standardized assessment designed to measure different aspects of a person’s mind: their knowledge, cognitive abilities, personality traits, and more.

Purpose of Psychometric Testing

In the context of recruitment, psychometric testing is designed to measure a candidate’s aptitude for the job they’re interviewing for. Psychometric tests may be given to assess a candidate on the required skills, to gauge their likely behavior in various scenarios, to understand their reasoning, and to analyze their potential for success. 

Psychometric testing is useful during the screening phase to ensure that only qualified candidates move on to the interview round. It can also help screen out underqualified candidates or those who are likely to be a poor cultural fit. 

When administered correctly, psychometric testing can help hiring managers compare candidates on an equal scale and minimize the interference of personal bias. 

Benefits of Psychometric Tests in Recruitment

Objective scoring

Psychometric tests are standardized, which means they deliver reliable, unbiased results. Instead of relying upon a hiring manager’s subjective assessment of a candidate’s qualifications, which can be fallible, the test provides an objective, numeric score that’s free of personal bias. 

Equalized comparison

When you judge candidates based on your impression of them, it can be hard to compare them fairly against one another. For example, if you found one candidate highly qualified but standoffish and another less qualified but extremely likable, you might have difficulty deciding who wins out. 

Psychometric testing weighs every candidate on the same equal scale, which makes for simpler side-by-side comparisons and promotes a fairer hiring process. 

Predictive of performance

Psychometric tests are grounded in research and carefully developed to provide precise results. Thus, they’re a highly accurate predictor of likely job success. More accurate hiring means lower turnover and fewer unnecessary costs. 

Supports team productivity

The most effective teams are those where team members can collaborate effectively. Psychometric tests can help you build more dynamic, well-balanced teams, which helps optimize productivity and minimizes conflict. 

Tailored training and development

Psychometric tests pinpoint a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, which is useful in hiring. Beyond that, however, they can help you identify employee-specific training needs and design customized development plans that help boost staff performance and engagement. 

Types of Psychometric Tests in Recruitment

1. Skill tests

These tests measure a candidate’s technical abilities and knowledge in a specific area. For example, can the candidate code a web page? Translate a selection of text from English to Chinese? Create a pivot table? 

Skills tests are often given as part of the screening process, requiring the candidate to obtain a minimum score to advance to the next round. 

2. Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are similar to skills tests, but they’re more focused on predicting success in a role. They measure a candidate’s ability to learn new skills, adapt to a new role, and become effective in their prospective position. 

3. Personality tests

Personality tests measure characteristics separate from hard skills, like introversion vs. extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeability, and openness to change. They can also help you understand how a candidate is likely to react in certain scenarios, like how they handle pressure and what they do when faced with a tough decision.

Related: Should You Use Personality Tests For Hiring?

4. Emotional intelligence tests

These tests assess a candidate’s ability to recognize, understand and manage their emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence, also called EQ, is an important factor in how a candidate will interact on a team, like their communication style and how they respond to conflict. 

Most Popular Psychometric Tests

Just as there are a range of software applications that can help you track applicants or manage candidate communications, there are various psychometric test providers to choose from. 

Here are a few of the most widely used tests:

  • Predictive Index: measures a person’s behavioral drives and professional preferences
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: a popular test used to categorize psychological preferences and decision-making styles
  • Identity Personality Assessment: analyzes important workplace behaviors like communication, focus, and judgment 
  • SHL Situational Judgment Test: presents a series of workplace-related scenarios and asks candidates to choose how they’d respond
  • OPQ Leadership Report: measures a candidate’s aptitude for a leadership role

Best Practices for Using Psychometric Tests in Recruitment

Select the appropriate test

Psychometric tests are only effective if they’re directly tied to the job’s requirements and the team’s dynamic. If you have a mathematics assessment of candidates for a customer service role, you will screen out a whole swath of great applicants lacking strong math skills, even though those skills have no bearing on the job in the first place. 

So, clearly outline the job requirements and select an assessment that zeroes in on those particular qualifications. 

Standardize the testing process

To ensure fairness and consistency, give the same test to every candidate for a given role and administer it similarly. For example, you might give the test to candidates in your office on the same day as their interview, or you might utilize a remote testing platform that all candidates must use. 

Practice transparency and security

Let candidates know beforehand that testing will be part of the hiring process and obtain their consent. Ensure that candidate privacy is protected in accordance with all data security protocols. 

Provide proper training

Ensure that all recruiters and hiring managers who will be administering and interpreting the tests are properly trained. This will ensure consistent, accurate evaluations and help minimize misinterpretations. 

See the whole picture

Psychometric tests should be part of the bigger picture when assessing candidates rather than the whole picture itself. They can’t measure everything and don’t provide the uniquely human “gut feeling” that can help you discover all-star talent and identify potential red flags. 

What’s more, some people aren’t good test takers. Being anxious can skew the results. So, take psychometric tests with a grain of salt and use them in combination with other hiring tools to make an informed decision. 

Review and update periodically

Psychometric test results should be tracked and analyzed like any part of your hiring process. Regularly review the success of your hires and the role testing plays in your recruitment process, making updates as needed based on the data.

Related: How to Use Pre-Employment Assessments to Make Better Hires

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn