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Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

The difference between psychometric tests and aptitude tests


In the dynamic work environment and ever-changing needs of the industry, it is imperative for organizations to improve and enhance recruitment strategies such as pre-employment screening of candidates. The traditional means to screen applicants such as group discussions, panel rounds with industry experts, and basic subjective tests have taken a backseat. Organizations are adopting better and cost-effective recruitment assessments to hire candidates. Some of them are psychometric and aptitude tests.

These assessments help in gauging essential factors such as personality traits, emotional quotient, cognitive capability, communication skills and critical thinking.


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What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests can be better understood by the psychometric theory that revolves around personality and behavior. Personality is what we are while behavior is what we do. Apart from that, these assessments measure potential candidate’s intelligence, intended behavior, skills, and competencies to perform the job effectively.


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To understand the key differentiating factors of aptitude test vs. psychometric test, it is essential to understand what these tests are and how they function. While this section elaborates on the nuances of psychometric tests, you will find more information on aptitude tests in the following section.


Factors that impact human behavior and personality


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The bright side

This is a part of the human personality that comprises positive personality traits. The latter are quickly noticeable and can enhance job performance. The bright side of the human personality is based on the Big five personality traits:

  • Openness to considering new changes, displaying intellectual curiosity.
  • Positivity and tendency to behave in a thoughtful and organized way.
  • Enthusiasm and the inclination to seek others’ company.
  • Diligence toward prioritizing and constructively addressing others’ needs.
  • Emotional stability to stay grounded and not panic in grave situations.

The dark side

This is a part of the human personality that exhibits stable traits of a person when triggered and leads to the display of undesirable, destructive, and counterproductive behavior.

Some of the dark personality traits are listed below:

  • These people tend to be dishonest and manipulative.
  • They tend to be excessively selfish.
  • They have fragile self-esteem that makes them unaccepting toward criticism.
  • They are insensitive and are unable to understand other’s pain, suffering, and perspective.
  • Another dark personality trait is to get annoyed at the slightest provocation and engage in anger-related emotions.

Cognitive abilities

Cognitive abilities comprise intelligence and the ability to understand, comprehend, and take decisions pertaining to any activity.

These abilities are divided into two categories:

  • Fluid intelligence: The capability to distinguish things and retain new information to handle issues in different circumstances.
  • Crystallized intelligence: The ability to use data obtained over time and utilizing the acquired expertise to perform tasks.

The X-factors

These are additional factors to the dark and bright sides that act as catalysts and affect the intended human behavior. These factors are segregated into 3 components:

  • Upbringing: The way people are raised also impacts their behavior and actions in performing tasks. It can be both positive and negative.
  • Motivation: This is a human personality trait that persuades people to perform in the hardest situations.
  • Values: It refers to the moral and ethical values passed on to individuals by their loved ones. The significance of values determines the candidate’s behavior to perform in any given circumstance.



Types of psychometric tests

The broad umbrella of psychometric tests is divided into two prime categories.


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And there lies the key difference between psychometric and aptitude test. While psychometric tests include the following varieties, aptitude tests are a part of those varieties.

The most effective types of psychometric tests are:

Personality profiling

The most prevalent tests under this kind of psychometric test include MBTI (The Myers Briggs Type Indicator), 16 PF Questionnaire (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire), and DISC tool (Test of Dominance, Inducement, Submission, Compliance).

Cognitive abilities assessment (Aptitude tests)

The most prevalent tests under this category measure verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning, etc.

Psychometric tests are highly customizable and prove to be helpful as exclusive leadership assessments, sales skills assessments and behavioral tests to gauge professionals on role-specific competencies.

Find out more about the different types of psychometric tests and when to use them.


How employers use psychometric tests

Psychometric testing equips employers with a holistic overview of candidates’ desirable and undesirable traits, behaviors, reasoning and abilities. Employers and recruiters then use this overview to take relevant people decisions around hiring, L&D (Learning & Development), succession planning, leadership development and high potential identification.

Using psychometric and aptitude test results further helps:

  • Provide a level playing field for each candidate whilst eliminating all biases
  • Focus on what matters the most for achieving desirable results
  • Supersede gut-based feelings with data-driven hiring decisions
  • Determine a candidate’s culture fitment
  • Improve employee retention

Although psychometric tests hold multi-faceted benefits, many experts opine that these tests are best administered in unison with other selection methods, such as domain assessments, interviews, etc. The results from psychometric testing and intriguing insights from other means of assessments such as role-play exercises, interviews, recruitment presentations, etc., together can provide a holistic overview of the candidate’s suitability for a role.


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What are aptitude tests?

Aptitude tests are a type of psychometric assessment that help recruiters evaluate candidates’ cognitive prowess and mental potential. As described in the earlier sections of this blog, aptitude tests help measure cognitive abilities and a range of skills including language comprehension, logical thinking and numerical ability.

Furthermore, aptitude tests are essential to assess candidates’ employability and gain meaningful insights into their aptitude.

Also read: The absolute handbook for understanding aptitude tests


How to pass an aptitude test: Tips and practice questions

Tips to ace aptitude tests that measure fluid intelligence


  • Train your working memory by incorporating practices that are good for your attention span, organizational abilities, ability to retain information, etc.
  • Learn how to break information into smaller, easy-to-process chunks and develop routines that enable you to stay focused for a longer period.
  • Challenge yourself by continually exploring new concepts and trying to identify problem areas you can improve.
  • Study and practice prevalent psychometric and aptitude test questions: https://www.psychometricinstitute.co.uk/Free-Aptitude-Tests.asp




Tips to ace aptitude tests that measure crystallized intelligence


  • Make a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Structure your time to ensure you do not waste precious minutes on just a handful of problems. It is wiser to move on if you are stuck on a question, solve the others and return to it toward the end of the test.
  • Read extensively to expand your critical thinking abilities, knowledge and overall intelligence.
  • Practice data interpretation to ace numerical reasoning tests.
  • Refresh your theoretical knowledge around grammatical rules, universal laws, mathematical formulae, and science theories to stay at the top of your game.
  • Research psychometric test vs. aptitude test by talking to former test-takers, familiarizing yourself with the assessment formats, etc.

Here are a few more free aptitude tests for you to practice: https://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/.


Difference between psychometric test and aptitude test

Psychometric tests Aptitude tests
Evaluate the candidate’s critical thinking ability, personality traits; and behavioral competency in performing the job. Measure the candidate’s ability to perform, learn and succeed in the roles for which they are aspiring.
They are based on proven theories and statistical analyses and cover a variety of assessments including aptitude tests. They are based on two vital components of human reasoning: Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.
These tests have a broad spectrum of applicability. It comprises various tests that have different roles to examine candidates. For example, Aptitude tests evaluate the candidate’s ability to perform a complex job. Personality tests help recruiters in understanding the person’s suitability for the job role. These tests offer flexibility toward measuring different types of intelligence, predicting practical outcomes for academic performance, vocational training performance and job performance.


How Mercer| Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl offers several psychometric tools to assess a candidate’s potential and fitment for the required job role. You can use these tools to source, acquire and retain the best talent in the organization.

Mettl Personality Inventory

MPI is an innovative personality testing tool designed to evaluate the person’s strengths and growth opportunities. It helps in gauging critical work-relevant personality traits.


  • Recruitment: The psychometric evaluation tool helps in hiring blue-collar workers such as cashiers or cab drivers.
  • Training and development: This type of assessment is used when employees want to learn new and creative things in their respective domains.
  • HiPo identification: MPI also specializes in assessing leaders and managers. The purpose of this application is to identify high potential leaders for future business growth.
  • Succession planning: This evaluation specializes in employee retention assessment where efforts are being put by the organizations to track and retain high potential employees.

Mettl Personality Profiler

MPP is an evidence-based and innovative assessment that measures the relevant personality traits required for critical work. Besides that, it helps in predicting behavioral competencies that lead to organizational success.


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  • Recruitment: The psychometric evaluation tool helps in hiring white-collar employees such as aviation pilots or insurance sales executives.
  • Training and development: This type of assessment is used to understand the current aptitude level of employees and to effectively train and develop them.
  • HiPo identification: MPP also specializes in assessing leaders and managers. The purpose of this application is to identify high potential leaders for future business growth.
  • Succession Planning: This evaluation specializes in employee retention assessment where efforts are being put by the organizations to track and retain employees.

Mettl Dark Personality Inventory

This is a psychometric tool that assesses negative personality traits in potential and existing employees. Workplaces should start using this tool as there has been a growing hike in work pressure and subsiding patience among employees.


  • Screening while hiring: This evaluation filters out the unwanted candidates by helping recruiters filter out candidates who score high on the dark personality traits.
  • Safeguarding your customers: This tool also helps conduct workplace safety assessments to assure a safe place for employees and customers.
  • Safeguarding your culture: To ensure no danger to the work culture, this tool supports workplace culture assessments.

Mettl Motivation Inventory

MMI a comprehensive motivation test that gives an insight into what drives a person to efficiently perform at work.


  • Retention: This test is conducted to see if employees are motivated enough at work and are fully committed to the organization.
  • Engagement: Organizations can conduct engagement tests to uncover the factors that drive a healthy engagement at the workplace.
  • Exit interview: This type of evaluation is done to find out the elements that are required at the workplace to motivate employees.

To explore further psychometric testing tools and aptitude assessments, refer to the links below.

Scientific personality tests for selection and organizational development

Online psychometric test for promotions

Mettl test library

Ready-to-use scientific aptitude tests for hiring and L&D



Hiring the best and most skilled talent has become the top priority for organizations. They are leaving no stone unturned to improvise their recruitment strategies. With the explosion of job opportunities in the market, candidates have better alternatives to switch their job instantly. Hence, talent acquisition firms are making all possible efforts to recruit the deserving candidate by conducting behavioral assessments such as psychometric and aptitude tests. Both these tests enable recruiters to identify the candidate’s mental abilities and the required skills to undertake the job responsibilities successfully.

There is a vast evolution in recruitment and selection methods. Companies are going the extra mile to train the existing resources and prepare them to handle leadership roles. They are investing substantial resources into leadership development and succession planning for overall organizational growth. So, pre-employment tests are a great way to add a just and fair approach to your recruiting process.

Originally published March 30 2018, Updated March 5 2024

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About This Topic

Skills assessment tests are used in the recruitment process to determine if a candidate possesses the necessary skills (analytical, technical, interpersonal, etc.) to thrive in a job role. Skills assessment tests are an essential component of recruitment today.

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