Psychometric Testing

The success of an organization is essentially related to the quality of the employees in that organization. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right candidates from the beginning – those who have exceptional skills and whose talents, values ​​and motives best suit the culture, structure, and reward systems of the organization. In this way, we can further develop employees with potential, and create teams that work effectively together. Each of these aspects requires a thorough understanding of the individuals we hire and work with. Accordingly, psychometric tools provide the ability to assess candidates in an objective, standardized, and comparable manner. 

What makes a psychometric test psychometric? 

Every psychometric test is a psychological test, but not every psychological test is psychometric.

A psychometric test is a psychological test that is: 

  • Scientific
  • Reliable and valid 
  • Standardized   
  • Objective
  • Ethical
  • Consistantly Applied

What types of psychometric tests are there? 

  • Personality questionnaires
  • Motivation questionnaires 
  • Skills tests
  • Aptitude tests

What is the use of psychometric assessments for business?  

Psychometric tests in the work environment enable the right person to come to the right position. They ensure fairness of implementation and equality among candidates and can be used throughout the employee life cycle – from recruitment, through performance appraisal to development and succession. 

The purpose of psychometric testing  

The British Society of Psychologists defines a psychological test as “any procedure that leads to conclusions about a person’s ability, tendency to act, react, experience, structure or behave in a certain way” (Groth-Marnat, 2009).

These tests in their modern form were created a little over 100 years ago in laboratory studies of sensory discrimination (visual acuity), motor skills (grip strength), and reaction time. Psychological job tests are a scientific method used to assess candidates by measuring a person’s cognitive abilities and behavioral style. The science behind psychological testing is psychometry, so psychological tests are applied by psychologists or trained users. 


of HR executives aren’t sure they have the right people to execute their business strategy

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of organizations have a clear understanding of their workforce’s potential

One of the most important principles of psychometric testing is that it’s based on the psychology of individual differences.

Definition and principles of psychometric assessment

So what is psychometric assessment? The term “psychometric” derives from a combination of two Greek words, which literally means “measurement of the mind” (Highhouse, Doverspike & Guion, 2015). The goal of psychometric assessment is therefore to objectively identify and measure aspects of the cognitive abilities, personality, or behavioral style through of the candidate.

One of the most important principles of psychometric assessment is that it is based on the psychology of individual differences. Cooper defined this as “a branch of psychology that considers how and why people are psychologically very different from each other.” Determining the difference between individuals is an essential function of human nature: it can be observed on a daily basis, albeit in a less systematic way, through the conclusions we draw about others. We often make judgments about the people we meet based on their smile, appearance, educational background, the way they express their point of view, and in some cases even based on their hair color or hairstyle. Each of these aspects further influences the building of perceptions and opinions about a friend, colleague, acquaintance or even strangers, and we try to use them to draw conclusions about their enduring characteristics of behavior. Using this approach we are sometimes right, but sometimes we may also be wrong. 

The fact is that psychometric methods for assessment do almost the same thing, but use indirect, practical, or pragmatic measurements, ie. the method of psychological measurement using psychometric tests. The scientific nature of psychometric assessment means that it has a special use value in organizations because it provides a standardized and objective approach by which employers can determine and understand the characteristics of their employees in the business environment.

Types of psychometric tests 

There are many types of psychometric tests, each designed to measure different indicators of potential job performance. These types of tests include, but are not limited to, skills, knowledge, ability, and personality traits tests.  

Skills/ knowledge tests

These tests assess the ability to perform certain tasks and duties related to the job. Examples of skills or knowledge tests include IT skills such as knowledge of a particular programming language, software, or perhaps administrative skills such as typing and data entry.

Ability tests

These tests measure how well a person would perform certain tasks in a field in which he or she has no previous training or experience. Ability tests measure one’s general learning ability, ie. acquisition of new knowledge, information processing and problem solving. 

Personality questionnaires

Preferred behavioral styles are assessed through personality questionnaires – how an individual prefers to work. These tests do not deal with the assessment of abilities, but with the understanding of behavior, ie. how an individual builds relationships with others, approaches problems, and how he or she deals with feelings and emotions. 

Motivation questionnaires

Motivation questionnaires assess the extent to which an individual is motivated (or demotivated) by certain factors such as recognition, personal growth, status, flexibility in work, etc. Identifying employees’ motivators and demotivators enables organizations to better understand them and better manage employee motivation and engagement.

How to prepare for a psychometric assessments

Do your research

What kind of psychometric test is it?

Identify what will be assessed and find out what the assessment will look like.


For many tests you will have the option of a mock test to find out what types of questions you can expect. This is recommended especially if the test has a time-limit.

You can find examples of psychometric tests here.  

Be honest

This is especially true for personality questionnaires, but also all other psychometric tests. Not only do these tests have a built-in reliability scale, which provides information on how consistently you answered questions and sometimes even built in proctoring, but the results obtained allow you realise your development needs and improve those areas that allow you to advance in your career.

Benefits of psychometric assessment in the context of employment 

Choosing the best job candidates has always been a challenge. Poor selection can have catastrophic consequences for both the employee and the organization. From the perspective of the organization, the costs of hiring and training a candidate who is not right for a certain position can be very high in terms of lost productivity and income, reduced efficiency, increased absenteeism, impaired morale.  

From the employee’s perspective, choosing the “wrong” job can have consequences ranging from loss of motivation, decreased job satisfaction, increased work stress, loss of self-esteem, failure to advance in career advancement, to multiple clinical manifestations such as depression and anxiety. 

Numerous studies have shown that modern psychometric assessment is one of the most important predictors of future work results. Increasingly, employers are now turning to psychometric testing to help make selection decisions, as well as to have an accurate insight into current staff. The reasons for this are: 

Improved Objectivity and Clarity

Good psychometric assessments are standardized on a large sample and provide normative data in a wide range of demographic and age groups. Well-chosen tests allow a candidate to show talents that might not otherwise be evident.  

Equality and Fairness

As a result of the fact that the essential feature of psychometric assessments is that they are standardized, all candidates are assessed under controlled conditions, regardless of gender, background or age. In addition, the objective nature of psychometric assessments limits the effects of bias and subjectivity that may occur in areas such as recruitment and selection.

Increased Productivity and Cost-effectiveness

One of the primary goals of psychometric assessment is to assess human behavior and the likelihood that a person will succeed in a particular role. It follows that the predictive validity of a psychometric test is a major factor in predicting how consistently an individual will behave in the workplace. The field of psychometric assessment consistently analyzes and assesses the level of predictive validity using psychometrics.

Identifying Training and Coaching needs

As mentioned above, psychometric assessment can provide a valuable source of information to aid in career development and management. This has many benefits for the organization, as it facilitates effective transitions and career advancement of individuals with insights into strengths, areas for development and personal goals. It also facilitates performance management by identifying the root causes of poor performance. All of this allows organizations to establish informed succession planning through employee appraisal, which further improves talent retention. 

Encourages Job Analysis

When assessments are used, it is necessary to understand a particular job before any comparison can be made. Job analysis is the most effective way to identify the appropriate skills and abilities needed for a job role. This helps to ensure that job candidates are assessed on the basis of only on skills that are critical for the job. Business analysis is basic in terms of determining content validity. (Content validity refers to whether a test contains a pattern of behavior, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings that is representative of the domain of the trait being measured.) Thus, job analysis provides objective evidence of the skills and abilities needed to perform effectively, which are then taken take into account when choosing a measuring instrument to assess these capabilities.

Fluctuation and Retention

Psychometric tests help companies determine whether a candidate will be eligible for the job, but also whether the candidate has the right personality, interests and motivation to succeed in the organization. Effective use of psychometric assessment can help retain employees in the organization. Psychometric tests can help determine not only whether an individual will fit well into a role (“Person-Job Match”) but also an organization (“Person-Organization Match”). When the potential for mismatch between employee and organization decreases, a lower turnover rate is likely to occur. This is especially true in cases where organizations use Realistic Job Previews and Situational Judgment Tests early in the recruitment process because candidates are more likely to gain an accurate insight into whether they fit into the company’s culture and values. 

In order to ensure valid results, reduce the risk of legal offenses, and on the other hand provide a positive experience for the candidate, it is important to keep in mind the following criteria of psychometric tests: 

  • Reliability and validity: Accuracy and stability of results is the degree to which results are useful for predicting job-relevant outcomes. 
  • Negative impact: The extent to which members of protected groups (eg minorities, women, over 40) systematically score lower than members of the majority group.
  • Benefits: The relative cost of developing, administering, and maintaining the evaluation process. 
  • User reactions and perceptions: To what extent do candidates react positively to the assessment process. 

All criteria should be considered together when conducting assessments, and evidence supporting each criterion should be available or collected. Potential risks of ignoring this information are significant and may include negative impacts on the employer’s image, employment decisions based on inaccurate information, or allegations of discrimination in the employment process. 

Application of psychometric assessment in the business environment

Psychological assessment is used in the fields of business, education, and clinicians use it as a diagnostic method in classifying psychological states of pathology.  

Our focus, as well as the focus of this text, is understanding the application of psychometric tests in the business environment. Although the best-known benefit of psychometric assessments is their use to make better decisions in selection and recruitment processes, this is only one part of the benefits that organizations can derive from them, as they can be used throughout the employee lifecycle. 

Candidate selection

Many employers use psychometric tools to help them identify the right person for the job. Assessments provide an independent and objective measurement of a candidate’s competencies, abilities, personality, and motivation. This allows the employer to create a complete picture of a particular person and to objectively assess his suitability for a particular position. Assessments are often used as part of a multi-stage recruitment process, along with applications / CVs, interviews, and assessment and development centers. 

Personal development

Assessments can also be used in making succession decisions, planning new leadership development programs, and further improving knowledge and skills. By involving employees in such assessments in a developmental context, an employer can gain valuable insight into the individual strengths and development opportunities of its employees, especially if used for mapping in relation to job roles. In that way, greater employee satisfaction is achieved in further development in a way that coincides with their personal motivation and preferences.  

In addition, it is possible to gain a full understanding of all potential development areas that may act as barriers to employee advancement. This can help plan additional training and further development. 

Career planning

While not exclusively a business benefit, it is worth noting that psychometrics can play a useful role in helping individuals make a decision about the career they want to pursue. Psychometric testing is comprehensive and reliable and can therefore greatly benefit anyone on the brink of an important career decision – from a person just leaving school and thinking about which career they want to pursue, to experienced professionals who always thought they might be better at something else.

Psychometric assessments are useful in understanding an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to other individuals. Armed with test results, candidates have the knowledge to choose a career that suits their strengths and needs. This is how they gain the confidence to highlight their abilities in an interview. While it makes sense to pursue a career that fits into someone’s specific abilities, the results themselves should not define a career choice. However, they can highlight areas where someone may be weaker, which can help define action and development steps. We can all make assumptions about our abilities, and psychometric testing can help verify those assumptions or identify occupations that have not been considered before, opening up new career opportunities. 

Team building and development

A better understanding of individual differences in the team leads to improved communication and cooperation, which positivley reflects on the overall performance of the team. Psychometric assessment can affect team effectiveness by creating self-awareness as well as collective awareness of similarities and differences in the team. This facilitates openness in communication because by creating and using a common language there’s a lesser chance of conflict between “difficult interlocutors”.
Building effective teams depends on whether team members will be able to clearly recognize and adapt to personalities, qualities and strengths of team members that are different than their own. Psychometric assessment currently offers organisations to acquire valuable knowledge about different personalities, all based on information verified decades ago through large-scale sample research and rigorous statistical analysis. In this way, organisations have the support and methodology to build teams that will achieve outstanding results, while respecting diversity, being able to address challenges, all with the goal of superior performance (Michel, 2012).