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:
- Reliable and valid
- 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
of organizations have a clear understanding of their workforce’s potential
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.
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.
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:
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.