About Psychometric Testing

What is a psychometric test?

Psychometric tests are as the word describes ‘psycho’ – the mind and ‘metric’ – to measure so all psychometric tests or assessments are some form of measurement of mental ability. Whether it is how good you are at maths or what type of person you are, the range of tests available is immense.

Psychometric tests in some form or another have been used since the early part of the twentieth century and were originally developed for use in the educational sector with the psychology departments from a number of leading universities playing a key role in test development. These days, outside of education, you are most likely to encounter psychometric testing as part of the recruitment or selection process. Tests of this sort are devised by occupational psychologists and their aim is to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants or candidates for promotion or further development. Psychometric tests aim to measure attributes like intelligence, aptitude and personality. They provide a potential employer with an insight in to how well you work with other people, how well you handle stress, and whether you will be able to cope with the intellectual demands of the job.

Tests can be completed either on-line or by pencil and paper in the client’s premises We offer both options as part of our service. It is also recommended that test practitioners should be fully qualified and registered with the British Psychological Society.

Tests fall broadly into two distinct groups

Aptitude or Ability Tests and Assessment of Personality

Aptitude and Ability Tests measure the individual’s ability to perform against a given criteria such as mathematical ability or language ability and are often referred to as ‘skill’ tests.

There are a huge number of aptitude and ability tests and the range spans the simple spelling or arithmetic test that is often performed in schools to very intrinsic and complex spatial ability tests we use in industry. We use a broad range of tests from a variety of publishers and we develop our own tests too.

Personality Assessment

Personality assessment has been around since the early 1930’s and most stem from the original pioneering work of Carl Gustav Jung. His work was popularised by Isabel Briggs Myers who, in later years extrapolated the MBTI theory from Jung's writings in his book, Psychological Types’ also Raymond Cattell, who, in the late 1930’s, devised the sixteen personality factor tests based on his discovery of source and surface traits. In later years Paul Costa Jr. and Robert McCrae further developed personality profiling and added another layer of knowledge to the field with their NEO PI-R.

One of the source traits often found in an individual is that they are highly creative, however; it is most likely that they will also be very untidy too. An example of this would be a visit to an artist’s studio and you are unlikely to find everything neatly filed away and all materials precisely labelled and neatly stored. More likely you will find a jumble of half-finished paintings and various art material scattered everywhere. The more spatially aware individuals are, the greater their creativity and the more unstructured they become. This isn’t an excuse to be untidy in the office though! Tidiness is a discipline that can be learnt.

Most assessments of personality measure the basic source traits that we all have, for example warmth verses coolness, organised verses disorganised, extroversion verses introversion. A warehouse company would look for well organised operators and recruiting people who have organisational skills as a natural trait would be a good start.

Most of the established psychometric tests used in recruitment and selection make use of ‘norm’ data. This is data collected from many respondents and ‘normalised’ to discover what is the trend. Practitioners are then able to assess whether the respondent is outside of this range and may be unsuitable for the role or nominated post, or not. We can create ‘norm’ data for a particular organisation, for example an accountancy practice may have a standard of arithmetic capability that they expect all accounts staff to attain within the practice. We take a selection of the account staff that is deemed to meet the standard and test them, with the data collected we use a process similar to averaging to find a mean score that all new recruits must attain to join the practice.

Testing has a number of benefits and not just for the employer. Whilst testing enables the employer to select the most suitable staff to either employ or promote it also provides protection for the prospective employee in not placing them in a post that is outside of their abilities where certain failure awaits them. I am sure that no one would condone poor recruitment processes or accept the enormous cost that this creates.

Our services range from online tests with a report sent by email to our one to one support with one of our consultants at a location to suit you. We provide a full quotation prior to any work being undertaken.

If you are interested in using psychometric testing for either recruitment or staff development please get in touch with us on our local rate number 01623 345119.


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