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A handbook on psychological testing for the recruiting team

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

A handbook on psychological testing for the recruiting team


Psychological tests have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Wilhelm Wundt, also known as the “father of psychology,” distinguished between the human body and human personality in the 19th century.

However, psychological testing made its way post-World War I as psychologists discovered the need to treat psychological trauma in soldiers. At that time, there were two types of psychological tests, Woodworth Personal Data Sheet and Herman Rorschach’s Inkblot Test. Since the post-World War I era, many psychologists and psychoanalysts have introduced different psychological tests.

It is difficult not to encounter psychological testing at any stage of life. Psychological tests are impactful and useful in different stages of life. Recruiters these days are adopting psychological tests as a way to determine a candidate’s potential for correct hire.

Organizations are also conducting these tests to make better decisions regarding promotions while selecting leaders among their existing employees, identifying reasons behind failures, and estimating the possibility of mishaps.


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What is a psychological test?

A  psychological test or assessment is a written or verbal assessment to determine a person’s personality, behavioral, neuropsychological, intelligence-related, and other traits. These assessments are in the form of questionnaires, and answers reveal different traits of a person.

These tests reveal the candidate’s logical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis and interpretation capabilities. Hence, recruiters from various sectors such as banking, technology, civil services, medical, legal, and armed forces have started conducting psychological tests during the interview process.

Even Fortune 500 companies conduct psychological assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

According to the statistics by MBTI, nearly 80% of Fortune 500 companies and 89% of Fortune 100 companies utilize MBTI.

Mercer | Mettl’s personality assessment tests help recruiters select the best-fit candidates and organizational development. These tests are scientific personality tests designed to measure the key personality traits of potential candidates and the existing workforce.

Mettl Personality Profiler (MPP) utilizes the Big Five Model of personality traits to assess candidates’ and employees’ behavioral and personality competencies. Psychological assessments give insight into traits, motivations, behavioral competencies, values, and opinions.


Characteristics of psychological tests

The following are the characteristics of psychological tests:


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The test must be free of subjective judgments and personal bias against the traits, abilities, skills, and knowledge of those being evaluated. The tests must be impartial.



The validity indicates whether test’s goal is achieved or not. Hence, the test must measure only those parameters it is supposed to measure. For instance, a behavioral test must measure and evaluate the behavioral aspects. It should not test the intelligence and achievements of test takers.



The test must show consistent results. If the test produces the same results over and over, then the test is considered reliable.



The test must be standardized in terms of time, place, gender, race, material, and social and cultural aspects.



The test must be practical in terms of the time required to finish the given length of the test, the scores obtained, and the type of questions. If the test is too difficult to solve or questions are too difficult to answer, it will not yield the expected results.



Norm refers to the average performance of the given test. The standard or average scores can be considered the norm, and future candidates can compare their results with the norm.



The test must be simple to conduct and easy to solve, and scores must be easy to interpret. In addition, the time taken to solve the test and the costs incurred in the overall process must be minimized.



The test must be used by assuming that two individuals are not similar in skills, knowledge, potential, and capacities. These tests reveal different attributes, abilities, and responses of every individual.


Types of psychological tests

Psychological tests are beneficial in testing different facets related to personality, behavior, attitude, aptitude, etc. Recruiting teams can opt for these tests to make unbiased and informed decisions and avoid financial losses in the future. Moreover, these tests can be utilized to determine the right candidates to promote, retain, offer leadership roles, and achieve other objectives among the existing employees.

leading companies, including Paytm, SRL Diagnostics, Credit Suisse, Accenture, and others, utilize different types of psychological tests to hire candidates.

Mercer | Mettl brings a suite of different psychological tests to help organizations find suitable people for different roles.


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Personality test

Personality tests determine behavioral traits, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs. Different types of tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32), and others, are utilized during the hiring process by the recruiting teams. Recruiters choose the tests per the requirements and roles that need to be fulfilled.

Mercer | Mettl offers scientific personality tests to help organizations select the best-fit candidates and development. The assessments are based on the Big Five Model of personality traits for determining the traits relevant to the workplace environment. They can be used for hiring managers, mid-level management personnel, leaders, and entry-level personnel.

Aptitude test

As the saying goes, you cannot judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree; it is important to understand that every individual is unique. Their aspirations, drives, abilities, and specialties are different. A person with good mathematical and statistical abilities differs from a person with an artistic and creative mind. Aptitude tests are utilized to determine a person’s future scope based on their thinking, interests, and abilities. These tests predict a person’s abilities and inclination toward specific roles and jobs.

Mercer | Mettl provides aptitude tests for more than 2,000 job roles across more than 45 industries. These tests are backed by scientific research and aim to fulfill hiring, leadership, and other company requirements.

Emotional intelligence test

Emotional intelligence tests are utilized to determine whether professionals can regulate their emotions and carry out their job responsibilities without letting emotions affect their work. They also determine how a professional behaves, reacts, or responds in different real-time work situations.

For instance, a medical surgeon needs to perform surgery in critical situations with accuracy and precision, even if there is a fight with the hospital management before the surgery. Similarly, a trader needs to take huge risks in purchasing stocks with the firm’s money. A professional needs to recognize and regulate emotions.

The emotional intelligence tests will assess a person’s emotional and behavioral aspects. The Emotional and Social Competence Inventory, Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Ei Test (MSCEIT), and others are some examples of emotional intelligence psychological tests. These tests require honesty to assess emotional intelligence and determine suitability for a role accurately.

Speed and power tests

This type of psychological test helps determine the speed at which a person works. One of the ways in which the speed test is conducted includes providing as much time as a candidate wants to solve a questionnaire. This test measures a candidate’s performance based on the time they take to complete a task.

A power test is a test in which a company measures the correct answers given by a candidate irrespective of the time.

Both of these tests are helpful in the psychological assessment of a candidate.

Essay and objective tests

Essay tests are conducted to determine whether a person can organize, regulate, and communicate thoughts logically and clearly. These tests analyze a person’s mental ability and communication skills and are used to determine the conceptual clarity of a person.

Neuropsychological test

Neuropsychological tests are utilized to determine a person’s cognitive abilities because the neurological structure of everyone’s brain is different. This is why people create different perceptions and acquire different abilities while remembering things, learning languages, and performing various functions.

Intelligence test

Intelligence tests are conducted individually or in a group. The individual test is conducted for one person at a time for individual counseling, clinical or diagnostic purposes, and treatment of an individual’s mental health.

On the other hand, the group test is conducted for a group of people. These tests determine the response of a group of individuals. It contains simplified procedures, and examiners need minimal training to conduct the test.

Personality test Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32)
Aptitude test Abstract Reasoning Test, Visual Reasoning Test
Emotional intelligence test Emotional and Social Competence Inventory, Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Ei Test (MSCEIT)
Speed and power tests Tweezers Dexterity Test
Neuropsychological test Ammons Quick Test, Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory
Intelligence test Purdue Vocational Achievement Tests, Wonderlic Personnel Test, Adaptability Test 


Uses of psychological testing

Psychological testing is helpful in assessing mental abilities and personality traits. It gives insights into a person’s psyche and helps predict a professional’s behavior and related responses.


The following are the uses of psychological testing during the adolescent and academic stages:

  • Diagnosis of psychological disorders
  • Identification of learning disabilities
  • Testing of aptitude
  • Identification of career
  • Screening of academic students
  • Diagnosis of socialization problems
  • Testing of cognitive abilities
  • Diagnosis of conditions such as attention deficit disorder, emotional disturbances, and others


The following are the uses of psychological testing during the adult and professional stages:

  • Screening of job candidates
  • Development of organizations
  • Research of human behavior
  • Screening of memory loss and dementia
  • Analysis of individual differences
  • Screening of mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and others
  • Assessment of leadership roles in organizations


The following are the uses of psychological testing during the parenting stages:

  • Assessment of parents during pre-adoption stages
  • Assessment of parents to determine their eligibility to raise and nurture children

Mercer | Mettl has a test library that contains a large number of different psychological testing tools to help organizations choose the right-fit candidates and leaders for various roles.


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How can Mercer | Mettl help?

Mercer | Mettl brings an extensive suite of psychological assessments for helping recruiting teams get the best-fit candidates. Its test library contains a comprehensive set of tests for more than 2,000 job profiles across more than 45 industries.

Following are some of the widely used psychological tests:


Psychometric tests –

To look beyond the obvious and find the best-fit candidates.


Personality assessment –

To measure personality traits of the workforce and potential candidates.


Behavioral assessments

To measure behavioral competencies in the work environment.

Aptitude tests – To assess aptitude and hire the right-fit candidates for different roles.

Mercer | Mettl has helped many Fortune 100 companies in different sectors to find suitable candidates through psychological testing.



The perception toward psychological tests is changing. The reserved and restrained attitude is falling behind, and people are becoming more open and accepting toward these tests than before. Many believe that these tests should not be enforced but should be given as a choice to candidates and employees, and others believe in mandating assessments in the hiring process for better efficiency. There’s a visible and consistent shift towards psychological tests, encouraging optimum hiring patterns in businesses.



What are the types of psychological tests?

What is the need to conduct psychological tests while recruiting?

What are some examples of psychological tests?

Originally published November 11 2022, Updated November 11 2022

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About This Topic

Personality assessments are a method of identifying candidates whose characteristics match the role and organization’s requirements. Personality assessments help HRs make effective people decisions by placing people in positions suited to their disposition.

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