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Talent Assessment | 3 Min Read

The advantages and disadvantages of psychometric tests


When psychometric assessments were developed in the early 20th century, they were used in educational psychology. However, with time, the utility of these assessments expanded beyond academia and found its place in the workplace as well.

The tests now form a critical part of the initial assessment of potential candidates. They are easy to implement and help filter candidates from a large pool for a given position, making it significantly easier to get the right talent for the next round.




Why do employers use psychometric tests?

One of the most critical challenges recruiters come across is accurately gauging an applicant’s domain-specific skills, as well as their underlying personality traits and tendencies. Traditional interview processes often fall short of revealing a candidate’s inherent traits.

Employers, therefore, use psychometric tests to evaluate the cultural and personality fitment of potential employees. The tests act as enablers for employers to select candidates who fit a particular job. It is the primary reason psychometric tests have gradually gained greater importance in recruitment.

Psychometric testing is used not just for hiring but also in a wide range of learning and development practices, including training and development, high-potential identification, leadership development, succession planning and other dimensions of workforce management.


How do psychometric tests help?

Companies use psychometric tests in the initial stages of the selection process to gain a holistic view of the candidate’s likelihood of success at the job. Psychometric tests are designed to measure various personality and cognition-based metrics. They focus on two aspects of the human persona – cognitive skills and behavioral traits.

  • Cognitive skills: They evaluate how an individual handles and processes the data to extract useful information.
  • Personality and behavioral traits: They talk about the inclination and interests of the candidate, also suggesting how an individual would react to a particular situation.

Recruiters can predict the right talent fit and hire better by evaluating these two fundamental aspects of candidates.

Psychometric tests are valuable tools at every level of candidate assessment and for judging their growth and development once they are part of an organization.

Advantages of psychometric assessment

Provide insights about the candidates

One of the critical benefits of psychometric testing is its ability to reveal beyond what is mentioned on a candidate's resume. These tests are an efficient means to know the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate and therefore, their propensity to succeed in a certain role or job. Psychometric assessments also help recruiters chart a career trajectory for candidates within the company and carve out the right deployment strategy.


The other significant advantages of psychometric tests are cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. An organization may take several months to know about a person, but a reliable psychometric test can supply that information within hours. Psychometric assessments reduce or diminish the chances of bad hires, providing a good return on investment (ROI). While a good fit candidate is an asset for an organization, a bad hire can prove to be costly to the organization and impact other employees' productivity and morale.

Reduce bias

Psychometric tests make the recruitment process fair and unbiased. They help organizations maintain standards by objectively measuring personality traits and aptitudes. The test score checks upon various parameters of the candidates and provides transparent results to weigh different people on the same scale for recruitment.

Help filter candidates

When hiring, most organizations receive hundreds of applications. To go through every single CV would be not only time-consuming but also highly ineffective. In such scenarios, psychometric tests help the HR team narrow the applicant pool to a manageable size by identifying candidates who are a potential match for the job.

Help formulate L&D plans

As discussed above, psychometric tests are not limited to recruitment but span an employee's entire career cycle. Psychometric assessments indicate future potential, leadership orientation and learning agility that can empower HR professionals to chart and create learning and development plans that unlock the employee's full potential.


Disadvantages of psychometric assessments

Organizations must select a suitable psychometric assessment provider, or it can lead to many drawbacks. Some disadvantages of psychometric assessments include the following:

Lack of adequate training

Psychometric tests are often deployed by people who aren’t trained to interpret and use them. Proper training can help make the most of these tests. Without adequate training, the prospect of misjudgment of the test results is relatively high. So, companies have to incur additional costs to train people or hire third-party professionals. An easy way to mitigate this is to select the right assessment provider. For instance, Mercer | Mettl’s assessments are easy to administer and provide accurate candidate insights.

Misleading responses

Standard psychometric assessments are readily available, especially with the hoard of free online personality tools available on the web. A reliable and validated assessment tool is essential; otherwise, a candidate can alter their responses to bring out the results desired by the organization, misleading everyone involved. To overcome this, HRs can ask the assessment provider to randomize questions every time the test is administered. This will ensure that questions are not repeated or in the same order.

The presence of a cultural barrier

Psychometric tests work under the assumption that all candidates are from a homogenized group, failing to account for differences in languages and cultural backgrounds. In such cases, a candidate is likely to be eliminated even though they might be fit for the role. Organizations can ask psychometric assessment providers to create custom tests considering various social and cultural aspects. For instance, Mercer | Mettl provides psychometric tests in 15 languages and take other considerations while delivering the assessments.


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl’s suite of psychometric tests is designed to evaluate behavioral and cognitive skills accurately and in a result-oriented manner. Mercer | Mettl offers psychometric tests under two broad categories – personality assessments and aptitude tests.


Personality assessments


Hiring managers use personality profiler tests to match the potential candidates against given job specifications and competencies to ascertain their job suitability. An individual’s responses can imply whether their personality attributes align with the organizational requirements. Most companies initiate the recruitment process with personality profiling, which may also be implemented after assessing job-specific skills.

Some popular personality assessments offered by Mercer | Mettl are:


Aptitude Tests


Aptitude or cognitive tests are psychometric tests that measure a candidate’s cognitive abilities or intelligence. These tests assess candidates’ skills and competencies crucial to performing well across different areas. A standard aptitude test includes questions that help predict the likelihood of an applicant’s success in a particular job while leaving no room for biases to creep in through its standardized administration.

  • Mercer | Mettl Test For Numerical Reasoning: The Mercer | Mettl Numerical Reasoning Test evaluates test-takers general aptitude with numbers and numerical skills. It helps employers identify the right person to solve critical business challenges.
  • Mercer | Mettl Test For Verbal Reasoning: This test evaluates the candidate’s ability to understand and reason through word problems and concepts.
  • Mercer | Mettl Test For Abstract Reasoning: Assess the candidate’s ability to apply learnings to solve novel problems by connecting information points to grasp the bigger picture, detect patterns and relationships, and solve complex problems with innovative solutions.



Considering the pros and cons of psychometric testing and its varied applications, the best way to implement it is to combine it with other recruitment assessments and processes for a holistic picture. Once other methods, such as skill tests, interviews, or group discussions, are combined with the results of a psychometric assessment, the recruiter can get a fair idea of a candidate’s role and organizational fitment. Purposefully engaging with the candidates gives companies a solid foundation to know them better.



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Originally published March 30 2018, Updated May 27 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Psychometric tests measure an individual’s personality traits and behavioral tendencies to predict job performance. Psychometric assessments gauge cultural fitment, trainability, motivations, preferences, dark characteristics, etc., to hire and develop the right people.

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