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A guide to using psychometric assessments for efficient hiring decisions

Talent Assessment | 8 min Read

A guide to using psychometric assessments for efficient hiring decisions


Psychometric assessments measure employees’ or potential candidates’ aptitude, personality traits, behavior, and motivators. They help in evaluating suitable and culturally fit candidates for different job positions.

This guide serves as a detailed handbook for understanding psychometric tests. Test-takers, as well as recruiters, will find rich insights into the benefits, types and applications of psychometric tests, irrespective of their specialty and functional industry.




Fundamentals of psychometric assessment


What are psychometric assessments?


A psychometric test evaluates individuals’ cognitive skills and personality traits. It helps assess whether candidates can thrive in a specific professional role. This type of assessment helps understand aspects of mental ability and behavior that organizations may face difficulty gauging during conversations and interviews.

A psychometric personality test is a standard and scientific method equally significant in educational and recruitment settings. It offers an unbiased evaluation of a broad range of parameters, such as logical reasoning, industry-specific aptitude, role-specific qualities, type of personality, and more.


The benefits of psychometric testing


Organizations prefer using psychometric tests in recruitment because of a strong correlation between psychometric test scores and job performance. The predictive qualities of a psychometric assessment further serve as an essential foundation for streamlining the hiring process.


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 fair, bias-free talent assessment.


Psychometric evaluation enables hiring managers to measure an individual’s abilities to process information, solve problems, and make decisions while assessing their behavioral attributes.


Humanly sifting through all job applications can be a time-taking process. Psychometric assessments enable companies to focus on suitable candidates by narrowing the search.Moreover, using psychometric tests in hiring ensures recruiting professionals who are more likely to fit into the company’s environment. This is because various aspects of psychometric tests help gauge culture fitment and consistency among individuals.


Psychometric tests use proven methodologies to measure personality traits and aptitude. Hence, they promise greater validity than conventional interviews.


A psychometric test produces reliable and similar results under variable conditions. The score received for various candidates is precise, unbiased, and consistent.


Types of psychometric assessments

Psychometric assessments are usually of the following two types:


1. Personality tests


Personality tests are a form of psychometric assessment that helps identify specific personality traits required to perform a job role efficiently. These tests offer significant insights into candidates’ key qualities, motivations, behavioral styles, etc.

The science behind testing personality

Personality tests usually follow two major schools of thought- trait-based and type approaches. While the type theory categorizes personalities into introverted/extroverted, the trait theory measures the degree to which key personality traits exist in an individual. The type theory defines individuals as either 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 is helpful in predicting 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 candidates' reactions, influence, and speed under challenging situations.
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): MBTI groups personalities into 16 major types that are varying combinations of introversion/extraversion. The 16 types contain abbreviations of four letters each, denoting key dynamics. For example:ESTJ: Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, JudgmentINFP: Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception

Trait-focused personality assessments are all based on the Big 5 Factor model, also known as the OCEAN model. Developed in the 1970s, this model enlists five major personality traits among humans in varying degrees.




i) Openness

Candidates possessing this trait have a natural penchant for adventure and art. They are curious, creative, and open to change.

ii) Conscientiousness

Candidates who possess conscientiousness are organized and have a sense of responsibility. They have the drive to achieve their goals and are highly reliable.

iii) Extraversion

Candidates who possess extraversion indicate various characteristics, including sociability. They draw their energy from day-to-day social interactions or gatherings. Such individuals are mostly cheerful and assertive in their approach.

iv) Agreeableness

Agreeableness is indicative of a candidate’s kindness. Such individuals are trusting and helpful.

v) Neuroticism

People low on neuroticism are emotionally stable and exhibit calmness and composure when facing problems.


2. Cognitive ability tests


Cognitive ability tests evaluate the mental abilities of individuals. They help measure critical thinking, logical reasoning, verbal ability, and problem-solving skills. These assessments also evaluate 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.

When must cognitive ability tests be used

The cognitive ability test is beneficial in situations when:

  • Companies need a filtration method to assess a large candidate pool.
  • 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, or problem-solving cater to more niche job roles, thus, providing measurable and credible outcomes.


How psychometric testing improves hiring

Psychometric testing helps:

  • Identify skills and competencies important for a specific job position to design dedicated tests for it. Customized assessments allow for meeting specific business requirements.
  • Identify skills other than psychometric intelligence that may be necessary for a job role. Psychometric tests can be paired with these skills tests to receive optimum results.
  • Ensure that candidates have a reasonable amount of time to finish the test and mark the right answers without pressure.
  • Review reports accompanied by psychometric tests to understand challenges and positive pointers better.
  • Decide what cut-off percentage would be feasible for a job role with thorough research and data-based information. Market and secondary research are optimum in this case.


What can employers expect from a psychometric test?



Psychometric profiling assessments are psychological tools that employers wish to use to ascertain candidates’ suitability for various roles. These tests vary in subject matter and content to evaluate some of the most sought-after skill sets. Some prominent psychometric testing tools used in recruitment are numerical, verbal, and logical reasoning tests.

In addition to the advantages enlisted in the earlier sections, there are two main reasons why employers use psychometric assessment tests:

  • Psychometric assessment is considered useful in improving and minimizing HR and hiring costs.
  • A psychometric exam ensures a streamlined candidate selection process, thereby reducing the attrition rate.


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl’s online platform enables recruiters to make great people decisions with a comprehensive suite of talent assessment and hiring tools. With its extensive library of tests and simulators, Mercer | Mettl’s assessments evaluate candidates’ knowledge, underlying abilities, behavioral attributes, and skills with utmost accuracy. There is a wide range of psychometric, cognitive, role-centric, and technical assessments available for making well-informed recruiting decisions.


How to overcome disadvantages of psychometric tests with Mercer | Mettl?

Accurate information to hire better

Mercer | Mettl's psychometric tests are designed to offer detailed information related to candidates' behavior, personality, and motivators. As a result, recruiters can employ a holistic approach, including technical assessments, to hire a fit candidate.

Customized assessments for organizational needs

Mercer | Mettl's library of pre-built assessments helps gauge candidates efficiently. Customizations further allow hiring managers to design specific tests for different job positions to improve assessment objectivity. This allows for matching job roles and business requirements with favorable assessment outcomes.

An engaged experience for candidates

With a seamless process flow, Mercer | Mettl's tests offer a positive experience to candidates. Additionally, the intuitive structure and user-friendly interface ensure that candidates don't face challenges navigating the test, improving candidate engagement and experience.



Psychometric assessments help shortlist relevant candidates from a large talent pool. This evaluation in the initial stages allows the hiring team to recruit suitable candidates for different job positions. Therefore, hiring managers need to identify business needs, match requirements with specific job positions, and pair different tests with psychometric assessments for optimum results.



Are psychometric tests reliable for recruitment?

What are the two types of psychometric assessments?

Can psychometric tests measure IQ?

How accurate is psychometric testing?

What qualities and abilities are assessed by psychometric tests?

Originally published December 3 2019, Updated July 21 2023

Vaishali Parnami

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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