Predicting Performance: What Is a Psychometric Employment Assessment?

You can read dozens of resumes, cover letters, and references, but you may still have no idea how a prospective hire may perform on the job.

To see how your new employee fits in, you have to hire them. Or so you thought. Today, more and more employers use psychometric testing during the recruiting process.

The tests promise to evaluate a candidate’s ability to work with a team, complete their tasks, and cope with the day-to-day requirements of the job.

How could a simple online test promise all that? Here’s what you need to know about psychometric tests and how to use them.

What Is a Psychometric Test?

A psychometric test is a multiple choice quiz used to assess a potential employee, i.e. the job candidate’s personality, intelligence, and workplace skills.

Most tests now take place online, which means you can integrate them into your HR process at any point.

What Does It Measure?

Psychometric tests offer an analysis of specific parts of a candidate’s mindset. The questions and measurements often depend on the type of test used. Some of the more common assessments include:

  • Aptitude test
  • Skills test
  • Personality test

You can also get hyper-specific categories that include:

  • Numerical reasoning
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Diagrammatic reasoning
  • Error checking
  • Logical reasoning
  • Financial modeling
  • Specialist systems
  • Myers Briggs

The sky is the limit, and the field of predictive HR analytics continues to grow year-on-year as employers want more data to make hiring decisions.

Who Can Use Psychometric Tests?

Any hiring team can use psychometric assessment as part of its recruitment strategy.

It is most popular among large corporations hiring for graduate programs or specialized teams. However, the tests are so diverse that small and medium enterprises can also benefit from them.

Generally, small businesses use them to garner more general notions about the candidate’s personality and abilities. Larger companies tend to have the budget and human resources to tailor them to a specific profile.

Why Use a Psychometric Test?

Anyone can write a resume and a job title, but how do you know if your candidate can perform at the level you need upon hiring? Psychometric tests are the way to determine a candidate’s aptitude, skills, and personality right off the bat.

But are they the right decision?

Psychometric tests are more than essential hiring tools. They also offer an extended look into the potential candidate’s working style after hiring.

For example, when you hire someone using these tests, you better understand how to communicate with them throughout the process. Early and regular communication ensures better communication throughout the process and directly impacts both personal and team performance.

Tests also give you an advantage in identifying someone who can not only perform the role but who is the right fit for it. By finding someone who fits seamlessly into the team, you can increase performance, improve satisfaction, and reduce negative behaviors.

Potential Pitfalls of Using Psychometric Tests

Psychometric tests are helpful tools in the right hands. But you do need to consider two important points before deploying them.

First, you always need to use the psychometric tests alongside other data gathered by HR. The tests should inform your hiring but not dictate it. A well-informed hiring decision always wins the day.

Second, you need to avoid over-interpreting the results of the test. Generally, this means understanding what specifically what the data attempts to deliver. In other words, don’t go looking for answers the test provider isn’t offering. Ideally, you need to work with your test provider to interpret the results in a way that doesn’t warp the data.

Remember, an unstructured interview can elicit the same, if not better, data than provided by psychometric testing.

Third, depending on your industry, you may need a long list of assessments before the results make sense. That also means you need more guidance through the test report. The method always raises the cost-per-hire, which can be difficult for hiring budgets among small businesses.

How to Use a Psychometric Test in the Hiring Process

When used correctly, psychometric testing can increase the likelihood that your candidate will succeed within their team. 

However, misusing these tests is rather common across small, medium, and even large organizations.

1. Understand Employment Law

Before adding psychometric testing to your HR process, you need to know the law.

Assessment tools must be both validated and relevant to the job if you use them in pre-employment screening. This is particularly true of cognitive ability tests.

If they aren’t, you run the risk of violating anti-discrimination laws.

Additionally, you must keep these tests and their reports private. You cannot use them in a way that identifies the applicant. In other words, you can use them to learn about their personality, but you can’t “diagnose” a candidate. If you do, you violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The bottom line: if your test discriminates or invades privacy, then you can’t use it.

2. Decide When to Use the Test

When will you use the test? Before the application? After the application? On-site during the final round of interviews?

Because of the cost of hiring, many companies choose to use the test as early as possible. Doing so picks up on important personality or technical skills, which serves as an early screening measure before you read through hundreds of resumes.

However, using the tests at the initial stage means candidates take the tests unproctored, which increases the risk of cheating. It can also be very costly for a considerable number of candidates to take the test, particularly if you pay per test.

3. Share the Results

Sharing the test results is a helpful thing to do, but many companies don’t do it. In some cases, they even ask candidates to waive their right to access.

All candidates benefit from seeing the results, regardless of whether you hire them or not. The courtesy speaks volumes about the kind of organization you are.

Psychometric Tools Transform Hiring

Psychometric testing offers an opportunity to make sure you hire the right fit for your team. You can choose tests that cater specifically to the position, team, and organization.

Remember that you need to use the tests correctly for them to work their magic. And you always need to use them legally.

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