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What is a psychometric test: Types, applications, advantages and more

Talent Assessment | 8 min Read

What is a psychometric test: Types, applications, advantages and more


Psychometric assessments are valuable for candidate evaluation, as they save time and identify long-term potential by evaluating and measuring personality type, behaviors, and cognitive abilities. Psychometric testing is a standardized approach to measure individuals’ cognitive skills and personality traits, encompassing assessments of intelligence, aptitude, personality traits, and job-specific skills. These tests provide valuable insights in educational, clinical, and organizational settings.




What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test evaluates an individual’s cognitive skills and personality traits. It assesses whether the individual can thrive in a specific professional role, evaluating the mental ability and behavioral style aspects that organizations cannot gauge during conversations and interviews.

A psychometric test is a standard and scientific method that plays a significant role in various settings. It offers an unbiased evaluation of multiple parameters, such as logical reasoning, industry-specific aptitude, role-specific qualities, personality type, and more.


Why are psychometric tests for hiring and talent management important?

Organizations use psychometric tests in recruitment because of a strong correlation between psychometric test scores and job performance. High scores are an excellent indicator of high performance on the job.

Psychometric tests are further an objective way of assessing the potential ability of candidates for various job roles, including numerous skills, ranging from knowledge, aptitude, and cognitive skills to behavioral qualities and people skills. The predictive qualities of a psychometric assessment serve as an essential foundation for streamlining the hiring process.

Psychometric tests in talent management help measure learning outcomes by providing objective data on employee learning, like knowledge, skills, and attitudes. By comparing pre- and post-training test results, one can gauge learning effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. Understanding employee strengths and areas of improvement through psychometric tests helps personalize training programs for maximum impact.


Psychometric test models and methods

Some of the psychometric test models and methods are-


Reliability and validity

It is essential to check the two main criteria of a psychometric test to ensure accurate evaluation. One is reliability; it is the measure of consistency, accuracy, and precision of the test scores. The second is validity, which refers to the extent to which the psychometric assessments for hiring are genuinely objective. There are various methods for estimating and improving the credibility of a test, such as test-retest, parallel forms, internal consistency, content validity, criterion validity, and construct validity.


Factor analysis

This technique identifies the underlying dimensions that explain the correlations among a set of variables or items. Factor analysis minimizes a large data set’s complexity and redundancy and reveals a test’s structure and meaning. It can be exploratory or confirmatory. It depends on whether the number and nature of most test factors are known or unknown beforehand.


Item response theory

The internal structure of the psychometric defines the relationship between the latent traits of individuals and their responses to items. It also explains the application of data for test development and automated scoring. It assumes that the probability of a correct or keyed response to an item is a function of the person’s ability and characteristics, such as difficulty, discrimination, and guessing. It helps developers to bank items, prepare adaptive testing, and equate test scores across different forms and populations.


Computer adaptive testing

This is a method for administering tests that adapt to the ability level of each examinee, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this method. An algorithm selects each examinee’s most appropriate and informative items based on previous responses. It makes the test shorter, more accurate and more secure.


AI enriched

Online psychometric assessments are continuously updated and improved by incorporating new data and feedback. Artificial intelligence techniques and machine learning solutions elevate test quality and accuracy. It can adapt to changing contexts and needs and provide relevant insights. Assessment providers employ new data sources, such as demographic information, previous job performance traces, and cultural fitment, to generate a holistic report of the test takers.


Current evolutions

Some emerging issues and trends in psychometrics include cross-cultural validity, data-driven approaches, and artificial intelligence. Cross-cultural validity is the extent to which an assessment is suitable and meaningful for various cultural groups and the methods for ensuring and enhancing it, such as translation, adaptation, and alignment.



Types of psychometric assessments

Some of the psychometric assessment examples are-


Personality tests

Personality tests are psychometric assessments that identify specific personality traits required to perform a job role. These tests offer significant insights into a candidate’s essential qualities, motivations, behavioral styles, etc.

The science behind testing personality

Personality tests usually follow two significant schools of thought: trait-based and type approaches. While the type theory categorizes personalities into introverted and extroverted, the trait theory measures the degree to which key personality traits exist in an individual. The type theory defines individuals as introverts or extroverts in varying intensities.

Examples of models that follow the type theory are:

  • Enneagram of personality: An enneagram recognizes nine ‘enneatypes’ or interconnected personality types. A geometric shape known as an ‘enneagram’ represents these interconnections based on various aspects of intelligence. It predicts behavior patterns, emotional intelligence, and the ability to build professional and personal relationships.
  • DISC profile: This method analyses personalities based on dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. Instead of testing for aptitude, intelligence, or values, the DISC profile focuses on an individual’s reactions, impact, and speed in challenging situations. The most significant drawback of the DISC profile is its failure to assess specific personality traits that may be essential to succeed in a job.
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): MBTI groups personalities into 16 significant types with varying combinations of introversion or extraversion. The 16 types contain abbreviations of four letters each, denoting fundamental dynamics. For example, ESTJ consists of extraversion, sensing, thinking, and judgment, and INFP consists of introversion, intuition, feeling, and perception.

Trait-focused personality assessments are all based on the Big Five Factor or the OCEAN model. Developed in the 1970s, this model enlists five major personality traits among humans in varying degrees. A psychometric assessment measures the level of these traits through a series of questions and problem-solving exercises.

  • Openness: Individuals possessing this trait have a natural penchant for adventure and art. They are curious, creative, and open to change.
  • Conscientiousness: Highly conscientious people are organized and have a sense of responsibility. They have the drive to achieve their goals and are highly reliable. This trait has shown marked achievement on the job.
  • Extraversion: Individuals who possess extraversion indicate various characteristics, including sociability and talkativeness. They draw their energy from day-to-day social interactions or gatherings. Such individuals are primarily cheerful and assertive in their approach.
  • Agreeableness: Agreeableness is indicative of a person’s kindness. Such individuals are trusting and helpful.
  • Neuroticism: Individuals possessing this trait worry a lot and often find themselves feeling depressed and anxious. On the contrary, people low on neuroticism are emotionally stable and exhibit calmness and composure when facing problems.

Personality tests gather information about an individual to make inferences about personal characteristics. These include feelings, behaviors, or thoughts. They help measure aspects of personality that determine, or are predictive of, successful performance at work, thinking style, workplace relationships, task management, feelings, and motivation.


Cognitive ability tests

Cognitive ability tests, also known as aptitude tests, evaluate the mental abilities of individuals. They measure an individual’s critical thinking, logical reasoning, verbal ability and problem-solving skills. They also assess how individuals use past experiences in novel situations.

The science behind testing cognitive ability

Cognitive ability tests measure two essential components of human intelligence: fluid and crystallized. While fluid intelligence includes reasoning, crystallized intelligence revolves around facts and information acquired via experiences. Considering these aspects of intelligence, recruiters may find it challenging to assess and select candidates objectively.

When to use cognitive ability tests?

The test is used when companies need a filtration method to assess a large candidate pool or when recruiters need to add an extra layer of assessment to identify the top talent from a group of equally efficient professionals.

Cognitive tests like verbal comprehension, numerical ability, critical thinking, and problem-solving cater to more niche job roles. Thus, they provide measurable and credible outcomes. Cognitive tests are essential in job profiles where candidates must undergo rigorous and multiple assessments.

The role of psychometric test in recruitment

Psychometric tests should be used ethically and transparently, aligned with job requirements and legal standards. They are validated for predicting job performance and cultural fit. They ensure unbiased evaluation and minimize adverse impacts. Predictive validity measures the correlation between test scores and outcomes, while reliability ensures consistency and accuracy.

Psychometric tests provide valuable insights for future progression, job satisfaction, and employee engagement. They help identify strengths, areas of improvement, preferences, and potential. These insights support goal setting, feedback, development plans, and rewards.

Psychometric tests additionally guide employee development and training programs by identifying skill gaps and providing tailored suggestions. They evaluate program impact and effectiveness, offering feedback and recommendations for improvement. Online tests provide standardized and objective data based on relevant criteria, reducing the influence of human biases and promoting a culture of continuous learning and growth.


The role of psychometric assessment in talent management

Enhancing the talent management process with employee insights is one of the most renowned characteristics of psychometric tools. It is beneficial for both employers and employees in various ways.

Psychometric tests identify high-potential employees based on their personality, cognitive ability, motivation, and behavior. They help create unbiased succession plans and clarify role attributes. These tests provide personalized feedback, coaching, mentoring, employee development and retention training. They identify strengths, areas of improvement, learning styles, and development needs. They also evaluate program effectiveness.

The importance of psychometric tests lies in employee values, interests, aspirations, and the organization’s vision and culture, increasing engagement and satisfaction. Regarding team performance and collaboration, psychometric tests provide insights into team composition and dynamics. They match roles and contributions, bridge communication gaps, and suggest team orientation. They foster trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.


Benefits of psychometric test in hiring

  • Objectivity: The traditional approach to hiring is instinctive and heavily dependent on interviews and elaborate CV descriptions. Psychometric tests eliminate this element of subjectivity in the decision-making approach and provide an unbiased talent assessment.
  • Accuracy: Psychometric evaluation enables hiring managers to measure individuals’ abilities to process information, solve problems, and make decisions while assessing their behavioral attributes. Such an evaluation reveals essential data recruiters use to make informed candidate decisions.
  • Speed: Humanly sifting through all job applications can be a time-consuming process. Psychometric assessment enables companies to focus on suitable candidates by narrowing the search.

Using psychometric tests in hiring ensures recruiting professionals are more likely to fit into the company’s environment and less likely to leave. The various aspects of psychometric tests help gauge individual culture fitment and consistency.


Use of psychometric assessment for the recruitment process

Psychometric tests are used at different stages of the recruitment process. At the early stages, psychometric tests efficiently screen out candidates who are unsuitable for the job. They are also used to facilitate exciting discussions around a candidate’s profile before an interview.

At a later stage, they can be used as a second interview or as part of a test center to reassess candidates and confirm the results of earlier tests.

To make the most out of psychometric tests, one must consider the following aspects-


Selecting the appropriate psychometric testing

When choosing psychometric assessment tests, it’s essential to consider factors such as validity, reliability, accuracy, customizability, and flexibility. Validity and reliability ensure the test’s objectivity, while accuracy reflects the test’s ability to provide error-free and unbiased results. Customizability and flexibility allow the test to be tailored to specific needs and contexts. It’s also crucial to ensure that the test questions are relevant, appropriate, and compliant with legal and ethical standards.


Integration with recruitment and talent management strategies

Psychometric tests are a part of a comprehensive recruitment and talent management approach. Integrating psychometric tests with the existing recruitment and talent management strategies can be done through various methods for optimal usage.

One option is to use a dedicated assessment platform like Mercer | Mettl, which offers comprehensive hiring and talent management solutions.

Another approach is integrating the assessment platform with a human resource management system (HRMS) through third-party or embedded integration. This allows for seamless administration of tests and access to results and feedback directly from the HRMS dashboard.


Interpreting test results

Psychometric tests provide a wealth of data and insights into test takers. It helps understand and evaluate competency and fitment with precision. It supports informed and objective HR decisions and actions.

Key discussion points should include benchmark analysis, infographic-rich results for visual appeal, comprehensive and compact reports for a holistic view, detailed competency summaries, strength and improvement areas charts, trainable areas of skill set, and team member orientation. These features assist in informed HR decisions, improve job fitment, engage applicants and employees, and foster a collaborative and high-performing team.



Best practices for psychometric testing

Psychometric testing is a valuable tool for organizations. Some of the best practices include-

  • Refining the existing recruitment and talent management strategies by integrating psychometric tests into the HRMS.
  • Utilizing the data and insights tests provide to improve hiring decisions and management actions. Communicating results ethically and effectively to candidates and employees is essential, as well as using techniques and features to develop top talents.
  • Employing a combination of psychometric tests to assess multiple traits and abilities of candidates and employees collectively ensures a holistic assessment.


Enhance psychometric testing for recruitment with Mercer | Mettl

Mercer | Mettl’s online platform enables recruiters and companies to make suitable people decisions with a comprehensive suite of talent assessment and hiring tools.

Mercer | Mettl offers thorough, well-researched assessments with an extensive library of tests and simulators to evaluate candidates’ knowledge, underlying abilities, behavioral attributes, and skills with utmost accuracy. A wide range of psychometric, cognitive, role-centric, and technical assessments are available for making well-informed decisions.

Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric assessments suit every client’s unique needs and reduce the scope for human errors. Organizations can leverage these scientific and data-backed tools to address their key evaluation issues at the time of hiring.



Psychometric tests are true HR companions as they assist in uncovering personality traits, mental abilities, talents, and skills of candidates and employees while revealing potential and performance across various domains and tasks. Psychometric assessments help select the most suitable candidates from a vast talent pool. This assessment allows the recruitment team to hire the most appropriate candidates for different job positions.

Therefore, HR managers must identify business needs, match requirements with specific job positions, and pair different tests with psychometric assessments for optimum results. Implementing psychometric testing in recruitment facilitates a seamless workforce transformation. It is a promising and practical tool for achieving organizational success.




1. What are the three types of psychometric assessments?

2. What are the basic psychometric tests?

3. What are the three psychometric properties?

4. What are the methods of psychometric tests?

5. Are psychometric tests reliable for recruitment?

6. Can psychometric tests measure IQ?

7. How accurate is psychometric testing?

8. What qualities and abilities are assessed by psychometric tests?

Originally published December 3 2019, Updated July 1 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.

Psychometric Test/Assessment

The Best Psychometric Tests To Enable You To Find Your Ideal Candidate

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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