The Beginner’s Guide to Psychometric Tools

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The truth is, we love to put other people into categories. The bigger truth is, we like to know that other people are in the same category as us. Birds of a feather flock together.

The same can be said in the context of a recruitment strategy for HR teams looking to fill an open role. The danger in looking for people with the personality they think might “fit”, outside of the context of role or capabilities, is that they end up merging their talent pool to fit the bucket.

To that extent, psychometric assessments are an incredible resource for HR professionals. They are powerful tools for effectively classifying a candidate’s working style, management style, and where their development potential lies.

psychometric tools

What are Psychometric Assessments?

A psychometric test is a set of questions that provides an objective and unbiased assessment of a candidate’s personality, behaviours, motivation, competencies, and intellectual abilities. Quite an ambitious goal, one would say. But it is necessary when applied in the context of recruitment.

There are two main types of psychometric tests that are commonly used today:

  • Personality tests – evaluate a candidate’s suitability based on their behaviour and their approach to work. These are presented as a questionnaire which explores behaviour, attitudes, preferences, motives, and/or values.
  • Ability tests – assess a specific or general set of skills required for a role. These include numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning tests with visuals that need interpreting.

Its origins, however, are murky. Some believe it began in ancient China where candidates took examinations for prime positions in the military or government offices. Others believed it originated from a laboratory in England.

The modern type of psychometric testing we know today has roots in France in the 19th century. It was devised as a means for physicians to identify and separate patients with mental deficiencies and those experiencing mental illness. Regardless of its origin, these tests were and still are developed scientifically and are designed to be objective and unbiased.

Understanding the Role of Psychometric Assessments

According to MISCO, 75% of Fortune 500 companies use psychometric assessments in their recruitment process. A 2017 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management also found that 32% of respondents used personality and behavioural assessments when filling prime positions, while 28% of respondents deployed them for middle-management positions.

Pruning the candidate tree to find the right person for a role is never easy. Degrees and experience might look good on a resume but they don’t always connect with a candidate’s job performance. Psychometric assessments can give companies a glimpse of the job performance potential and identify the best role fit. Prior to using psychometric tests, HR teams need to know what they are looking for in the first place.

Aligning job analysis with test results

HR teams need to know what they are measuring, such as the aptitudes and behaviours that predict a role’s success. A job analysis can help to examine the role’s responsibilities and skills required to meet the role’s objectives. This can help to isolate specific skills, behaviours, and traits correlated with success.

Aligning values vs. culture fit

Psychometric testing also assesses a candidate’s values and determines if they are aligned with the company’s core values. The ability to come together with a company’s code of ethics is more attainable for employees with high values alignment. Avoid using the tests for culture fit as it can invite bias into the hiring process and replicate uniformity in the workforce.

Using Different Psychometric Tools for Your Hiring Process

Psychometric testing has long been a practice of using spreadsheets and spending countless man hours poring over rows and columns. Today, psychometric assessments can easily be accessed and completed online, giving HR teams a better overall evaluation of a candidate. Here, we explore four types of psychometric tests that HR teams can incorporate into their hiring strategy.

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs)

These tests are used in graduate-level recruitment to assess a candidate on their choice of actions in a hypothetical scenario. The scenario is based on real-life problems that candidates might face on the job with each multiple-choice answer offering a particular course of action. This test focuses on the candidate’s selection of the most appropriate response according to the job role and the desired outcome of the recruiter.

psychometric assessment
Source: Department of Psychology, University of Nairobi

Verbal Reasoning Tests

These tests assess the candidate on their reading speed as well as the ability to understand and analyse a text passage. The question may ask something related to the content of the text passage which the candidate needs to choose whether the statement provided is true, false, or cannot say. This test focuses on the ability to make reasoned and logical deductions from the information provided, rather than jumping to conclusions.

Numerical Reasoning Tests

These tests assess the ability to read, understand, and analyse numerical data quickly, which is usually provided in tables or graphs. The objective is to evaluate candidates on their ability to understand percentages, ratios, and fractions. Ultimately, using basic mathematical methods to extract data and manipulate it to find the correct answer. Numerical reasoning is often the most used psychometric test.

Logical Reasoning Tests

Logical reasoning assessments consist of several types of tests that broadly evaluate problem solving abilities. These tests include:

Inductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning assessments use a series of images that follow an unknown pattern. Candidates are required to select the next image in the pattern according to inductive logic.

Deductive reasoning assessments evaluate a candidate’s ability to make logical arguments based on the data provided. Candidates are also required to identify a false conclusion according to deductive logic.

Abstract/Diagrammatic Reasoning

Critical Thinking

Both abstract and diagrammatic reasoning use images to identify patterns, relationships, and trends. Candidates are required to identify the next image in the series, a missing item, or the odd one out.

Used for high-level roles like management, where this ability is vital in decision-making. Here, candidates are evaluated on their ability to assess logical reasoning through arguments, assumptions, and conclusions.

Find Out More about Accendo’s Psychometric Assessment Tools

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has since created a monumental shift in how companies recruit and retain employees. The pandemic has also compelled companies to embrace remote or hybrid working environments as a benefit for employees and productivity.

How companies continue to select candidates who are aligned to the new way of working may impact the business in the future. Implementing psychometric tests into a recruitment strategy can bring out a more robust and accurate selection in the talent acquisition process.

At Accendo, our mission is to understand your organisation’s needs and establish a framework of psychometric assessment tools that will help you find the best fit. Our psychometric tools include all of the methodologies above to provide a better fit for job candidates and employers.

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