An Introduction to Psychometric Testing
Throughout the recruitment process, interviews, CVs and application forms help provide a broad impression of a candidate, and it’s usually enough to create a shortlist.
But it’s not enough to safeguard your hiring decision. Background screening is essential to drill down on the details and get the bigger picture about how an individual might fit into your company ethos and bring value to you as an employer. On top of that, if you’re an employee-centric employer who understands that you have to create a space for your team to be the best versions of themselves at work (and beyond), you know the value of understanding someone’s strengths and playing to them.
This is where psychometric testing comes in handy… While many people might be familiar with some of the more common background checks, such as identity checking and criminal record screening, psychometric testing is a seemingly mysterious new kid on the block. But what exactly is it?
In this post, we discuss Psychometric Testing as part of our “Everything You Need to Know” series. We’ll explain exactly what psychometric tests are; what they uncover, why they’re important and which employers should consider psychometric testing as part of their recruitment process.
Our comprehensive guide to background screening when hiring remotely gives you a full overview of all the checks you need to consider based on role type. Download it here.
What Are Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric testing is a way to measure a candidate's skills, personality traits, abilities and aptitudes in greater depth than employers are usually able to through traditional measures such as interviews and application forms. Testing is usually based on questionnaires, judgements and personality tests which aim to get deeper insights into how a candidate will perform in the position they’re applying for, as well as into their personality in general.
Psychometric testing has become a very common practice, with 95% of FTSE companies saying that they use some form of psychometric tests as part of their recruitment process, as well as the military, NHS and local authorities.
Psychometric testing helps employers get deeper insights into how candidates might perform on the job
Employers can usually choose which Psychometric Tests will provide them with the information they need, and select from a variety of tests according to what best suits their role and sector.
Psychometric Testing falls into two broad categories:
- Aptitude/ability tests
- Personality profiling
Aptitude and Ability Tests
Aptitude and ability testing is designed to create a picture of intelligence levels and skills. There are many different kinds of intelligence tests but testing options might include a variety of:
- Data checking tests – candidates are judged on their accuracy and speed
- Mechanical reasoning – testing problem solving skills using mechanical concepts, often used for applicants for technical positions
- Spatial ability – checks a candidates ability to understand the relationship between 2d and 3d objects as well as find patterns and movements between shapes
- Numerical reasoning – maths skills
- Abstract reasoning – analysing information and detecting patterns and relationships
- Verbal ability – use of language and grammar
- Work sampling – testing a candidate's ability to do the job they are being hired for
Aptitude and ability tests help employers discover how a candidate might perform on the job, and what extra skills they will bring as an employee.
Personality testing is a way of categorising someone’s personality. It usually includes assessing levels of:
This can help employers assess how candidates might behave in certain situations.
There are a number of types of personality tests, but the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is reportedly used by 88% of Fortune 500 companies.
While personality testing isn’t an exact science, it can help employers understand what makes candidates tick, and give them deeper insights into the kind of person they are hiring.
Psychometric Testing is also known as psychological profiling, psychological screening, personality testing, aptitude testing, ability tests
What are soft skills and why are they important?
Psychometric Testing is often used to assess a candidate's soft skills.
Soft skills are the more intangible characteristics which are difficult to measure. Soft skills include attributes such as:
- Problem solving
- Work ethic
- Interpersonal skills
Soft skills are not rooted in any particular profession and are more about the general disposition of the candidate. The soft skills of your collective workforce can make or break a successful team due to higher levels of communication, understanding, and innovation.
While traditional recruitment tends to focus on the hard skills demonstrated by experience and education, employers are increasingly seeing the value in assessing soft skills to not only make a better hire, but also differentiate between candidates whose benefits and skills might look similar on paper.
Soft skills are also known as professional skills or transferable skills
Why Is Psychometric Testing Important?
CVs and interviews have formed the basis of recruitment processes for many years, and these tried and tested methods aren’t going anywhere. But savvy employers are now seeing the value in psychometric testing as a way to get deeper understanding into the value each candidate might offer.
Getting to the heart of the matter
Candidates are known to present the very best picture of themselves both in interview and in application forms, but psychometric testing helps employers uncover things that candidates might be trying to hide, or strengths and weaknesses that they might not be aware of themselves. This provides both the employer and the candidate with valuable information on areas which can be nurtured or encouraged, as well as areas which might require further development.
Comparing similar candidates
While having more than one candidate who is perfect for the job might seem like a dream scenario, having to determine the right choice between two candidates who have almost identical experience and qualifications is difficult. Psychometric testing allows comparison of difficult to measure soft skills in a standardised format, which might give one candidate the edge over the other.
A deeper understanding of themselves
Psychometric testing helps employers understand more about candidates, but it also helps candidates themselves understand their own strengths and areas which might need work. Self reflection is a key component of success, and by encouraging workers to know themselves better, employers will create a workforce which is always improving.
Improvements to onboarding and training
Valuable insights can also be used to improve and tailor onboarding and training for new and existing employees. Lasting employee engagement begins with great onboarding, and results of personality tests can highlight areas which might be particularly beneficial for certain candidates.
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How Long Does Psychometric Testing Take?
Psychometric Testing can be carried out instantly online but interpreting the results will likely take a longer time, depending on the level of detail in the tests and the results.
Which Roles Require Psychometric Testing?
Psychometric testing is already used by most successful employers in all sectors, in order to provide deeper insights and inform a great hire.
We recommend that some form of psychometric testing be carried out for all roles and in all sectors, but especially those which involve a higher level of responsibility. Where candidates might be making important decisions it is useful to understand how they might interpret certain situations before making a hire.
Potential Difficulties Of Psychometric Testing
As part of a comprehensive set of background screening, psychometric testing can reveal valuable insights into a candidates personality and character which help in making great hiring decisions.
Psychometric testing is examining rather personal areas of candidates character, and therefore must be handled delicately. A specialist provider will provide secure and confidential testing as well as accurate results which can be clearly interpreted.
Some arguments against personality testing are that it only provides a snapshot of a person on any given day, and that candidates might test differently when in a different frame of mind. There are also some queries over whether or not personality tests are easy to fake, with determined candidates purposely swinging results to make them look like the perfect employee.
So, while psychometric testing is a brilliant technique for gathering increased knowledge about candidates and making an informed decision, these tests should not be used in isolation. A specialist screening company will provide psychometric tests as part of a comprehensive background screening process to create a broad and extensive picture of your candidate.
- Psychometric Testing is a way of looking more deeply into a candidates personality
- Usually involves both aptitude and personality tests
- Great way to measure the all important soft skills
- Provides important insights into a candidates character
- Might help candidates understand themselves and areas in which they need to grow
- Helps employers tailor the onboarding and training process
- Used by most FTSE100 companies as well as the NHS, military and local authorities
- Recommended for all roles in all sectors, but particularly roles which involve higher levels of responsibility
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We want to transform the background screening and reference checking market. Our innovative approach is a fast and scalable method of getting insights about candidates, on which better hiring decisions can be made.
Veremark’s online background check software automates your entire background screening process. The result is fast (sometimes even instant) check turnaround times, standardised and auditable processes and an improved overall experience for you, your candidates and their referees.
Start your free trial today to get access to Psychometric Testing as part of your candidate background screening. Veremark adds automation, security and scalability to the way you conduct your employment checks.