The Use of Psychometric Tests in Selection and Recruitment
What are Psychometric Tests?
The British Psychological Society definition of a psychometric test:
‘a psychological test is any procedure on the basis of which inferences are made concerning a person’s capacity, propensity or liability to act, react, experience, or to structure or order thought or behaviour in particular ways’.
Who uses psychometric tests?
Large, medium, and an increasing number of small firms use psychometric tests. Over 70 % of larger companies are currently using psychometric tests to gather vital information from potential and current employees. More and more companies are using psychometric tests for:
- graduate recruitment
- filtering out candidates when there are large numbers of applicants
Over 70% of large companies use them in their recruitment process and small companies are using them increasingly.
They are also used to assess existing employees for:
- training and staff development needs
What do psychometric tests measure?
Psychometric tests may measure aptitude, personality or interests:
Aptitude Tests – these measure how people differ in their ability to perform or carry out different tasks. (these are the type you are most likely to find at the first stage of a selection process).
Interest Tests – these measure how people vary in their motivation, in the direction and strength of their interests, and in their values and opinions (these are less likely to be used on new graduates but are sometimes).
Personality Tests – these measure how people differ in their style or manner of doing things, and in the way they interact with their environment and other people (personality).
Whereas aptitude tests measure your maximum performance capacity, the other tests examine typical or preferred behaviour.
Why use psychometrics in an employment setting?
The main advantages of using psychometric tests are:
- Objectivity – they dramatically reduce bias and personal perspective.
- Clarity – they provide a robust framework and structure.
- Equality and fairness for all individuals (tests are standardised so that all individuals receive the same treatment).
- Increase the likelihood of being able to predict future job performance (they have a high level of ‘predictive validity’).
- The identification of training needs.
- Encourage employers to do thorough job analysis in order to identify appropriate skills and abilities. This helps to ensure that candidates for a position are assessed on skills only relevant to the job.
What are psychometric tests used for?
Some uses of psychometric tests are:
- Selection of candidates to jobs
- Personal development/identification of training needs/staff development
- Careers guidance
- Building and developing teams