Don’t let the title scare you - psychometric assessments aren’t that scary, and can actually be quite fun and interesting to do.
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History of the psychometric assessment
It’s not known by many, but psychometric assessments were actually born in Cambridge in the late 1880s. One of the first pioneers of the science was James Cattell who at that point labelled them ‘mental tests’ – the first time the term had been coined.
Cattell was originally forced to house his equipment in the Cavendish Laboratory, in the Department of Physics at Cambridge University. Here he studied things such as an individual’s judgement, memory and attention.
The science grew in popularity during the 20th century and has now become a well-used avenue for testing intelligence, capability and personality traits – particularly for employers looking to hire the most suitable candidate for a role and business.
What is a psychometric assessment?
Let’s start with the basics: just what is a psychometric assessment? From a scientific standpoint, they are a method used to measure an individual’s mental capabilities, their personality and their behaviours.
Now this may seem wishy-washy, but there is a lot of scientific fact behind this, as you’ll see later. The unique insights psychometric assessments provide into an individual is exactly why they are being used more and more by employers and large businesses.
Psychometric assessments look at areas like Verbal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning and Multi-Tasking. The areas are typically chosen because they underpin the day-to-day activities that are asked of individuals when performing a specific job.
“The unique insights psychometric assessments provide into an individual is exactly why they are being used more and more by employers and large businesses.”
There are many different types of psychometric assessment, but broadly speaking, they can be broken down into two types of assessment. Assessments of ‘typical performance’ and assessments of ‘maximum performance’.
Assessments of typical performance are designed to measure the behaviours you tend to adopt in different situations; so there are no right or wrong answers, but they help to form a picture of your own behavioural style, your preferences and typical choices you might make.
Assessments of maximum performance, on the other hand, are designed to determine the best you can do under certain restrictions. This is the most common type of aptitude/ability test. Strict time limits will often be imposed on these tests, as this is an effective way of putting someone under pressure to work quickly and accurately.
Why are psychometric assessments used?
Employers and companies use psychometric assessments during the recruitment process because they provide objective information on whether a candidate’s personality and cognitive abilities match with what is required from a particular job role.
Up until relatively recently, it was thought that judging recent graduates on their performance in knowledge-based tests (e.g. university exams) was almost entirely sufficient to find the best (or at least a good enough!) person for the job. Nowadays, however, with so many eligible candidates coming from universities, employers require new ways of predicting who will be the best fit for a given job. The most effective tool that they have is looking at a candidate’s capabilities in relevant skills: psychometric assessments!
“>Not only do psychometric assessments have a proven ability to predict who is most likely to be best at a job, they can also be used to predict who is most likely to be the best ‘fit’ in that company’s culture”
Psychometric assessments can also be used to help avoid unconscious bias from recruiters and also have the advantage of helping minimise the advantages some candidates have in knowledge-based tests. Somebody might not have the opportunity to go to the best university, but they can still demonstrate their suitability for a job role in these assessments. In this way, such assessments often help level the playing field by looking at raw potential, rather than what somebody already knows.
Not only do psychometric assessments have a proven ability to predict who is most likely to be best at a job, they can also be used to predict who is most likely to be the best ‘fit’ in that company’s culture – who will get on best with the employees already there, who will add the most value to the team, and, importantly, who is most likely to enjoy themselves in the role, and thus be more likely to stay.
They have been proven to improve retention and future job performance, as well as streamline the recruitment process and reduce HR costs.
When are psychometric assessments used?
Psychometric assessments are used alongside traditional interview and application processes to help provide a more rounded overview of an individual. They allow businesses to better understand if someone is perfectly suited for a role.
The term ‘personality test’ is not quite accurate in terms of what the assessment measures, but is so universally used, that most people know what you’re talking about. More on this below…
Where are psychometric assessments used?
What are the different types of psychometric assessment?
This is the fun part. There are soooooooooo many types of psychometric assessment; here’s a run-down of just some:
- Work-related behaviour
- Numerical reasoning
- Verbal reasoning
- Deductive logical reasoning
- Inductive logical reasoning
- Diagrammatic reasoning
- Error checking
- Spatial reasoning
- Logical reasoning
- Abstract reasoning
- Mechanical reasoning
- Situational judgement
Quite a few, as you can see – seven of which you can check out in Debut’s Abilities tab on our app. Let’s dig a little deeper into these…
What are the benefits of psychometric assessments?
Benefits to candidates:
- They can reveal unique insights into your personality and dominant work-related behaviours you may not have known.
- If you are hired after completing a test, you can rest assured you are a perfect fit for a company personality-wise (always a fear).
- It adds another dimension to your application. If nerves get the better of you in an interview, psychometric tests are a wonderful chance to show who you really are.
- It removes unconscious bias from the hiring process.
- It allows you to highlight other skills and abilities, not just academic performance.
Benefits to employers:
- Companies of any size can implement psychometric testing at any stage of the recruitment process.
- It allows for even more focused recruitment for in-demand roles, by adding an extra level of testing that goes beyond a CV, cover letter or interview.
- It makes the hiring process more objective, so you’re not relying on the subjective nature of an interview.
- It saves recruiters time and money.
- It protects company culture by ensuring all hires are guaranteed to fit in.
And there you have it – our absolute ultimate guide to psychometric assessments. Hopefully now you’re fully prepped for the future of recruitment – good luck…!
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