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Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Psychometric Tests for Recruitment: The What, Why and How

What Is Psychometric Testing for Employment?

Psychometric test for recruitment provides HR with in-depth insights regarding an individual’s skills and abilities to perform various tasks in an organization. The findings that most research highlights attest to the fact that psychometric tools have helped employers make well-informed hiring decisions. Traditional interviews and CVs offer subjective evaluation of a person’s skills, which is why psychometric tests have become commonplace in recruitment.

Organizations of all sizes across sectors have employed psychometric testing as part of the meticulous hiring process required to build a strong and efficient team of employees. Psychometric testing enables employers to assess competencies and personality traits that determine a person’s suitability for any given role. The tests are scientifically developed and designed to be unbiased and objective.

Recruiters and talent managers try to find new ways or opt for reliable methods to identify suitable candidates. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was initially used by several organizations to gauge role fitment. However, recruiters began questioning their reliability and, thus, the need for a more scientific way for employment psychometric testing was envisaged. 

Administering psychometric tests for recruitment allows decision-makers to assess candidates objectively. Psychometric assessments predict a potential employee’s behavior and performance. In this context, the psychometric assessment test carries significant weightage as it’s an empirical validation of the right candidates. This is why 75% of the Fortune 500 companies use psychometric tests for recruitment.

Recruiters scan for indicators to understand how a future employee would perform in the organization. Such predictions based on statistical data help recruiters make better decisions for the final selection. 

It is cumbersome for any organization to create a thriving employee base. Using psychometric assessments for recruitment is widely practiced today because they are a time and cost-effective means to hire the best talent. A wrong hire can have grave repercussions for an organization in addition to being an economic liability. Implementing a psychometric test for recruitment ensures an objective and result-oriented process – why psychometric tests for hiring have become an unavoidable element in the HR strategy.

What Is Included In a Psychometric Test?

A psychometric test is a method to measure psychological factors such as positive and dark personality traits, motivation, values, preferences and cognitive abilities. A psychometric test includes well-crafted questions that cumulatively measure an individual’s personality traits, aptitude and general intelligence. 

A psychometric test for recruitment is used to evaluate the candidates applying for new positions apart from those undertaking a cross-departmental or role-based transition. Recruiters conduct these tests in the initial stages of the recruitment process. It is a trusted method for screening applicants. 

The best psychometric tests for recruitment offer questions that have no right or wrong answers. But their thorough analysis provides results in the form of predictive insights about an individual’s personality. Insights on behavioral traits and cognitive skills are the two important dimensions that help recruiters decide on the candidate. Employment psychometric testing becomes more critical because these personality traits don’t surface on the CVs or during the interviews.

How Are Psychometric Tests Addressing The Challenges in the Hiring Process?

One of the foremost concerns for every recruiter is to know the candidate well before making the final selection. The underlying idea of every test and interview is to have an improved understanding of a candidate. Knowing them better is a must to deploy them in job roles befitting their abilities. 

But the challenge for recruiters has always been to find valid reasons to hire a particular candidate. Traditionally, a candidate who fares well in the initial levels of the tests and interviews is suitable for the job. But there are certain human traits that these traditional ways of evaluation fail to assess. Suppose you are hiring for a team lead. Specific skills would be expected of the individual, such as communicating with team members being a basic requirement. 

Further, the ability to handle pressure and quick decision-making may be the other essential qualities. Going through someone’s resume or even a thorough interview would not be enough to quantify these personal qualities and assure the recruiter of the final selection.

This is where using psychometric tests for hiring benefits the talent acquisition process immensely:

  • Psychometric tests for hiring are reliable methodologies for measuring candidates on various parameters that theoretical tests or interviews fail to assess.
  • Employment psychometric testing also provides recruiters with proven metrics that compartmentalize individuals based on their inherent personality traits and skills.
  • They can be administered on many candidates simultaneously.
  • Using psychometric assessments for recruitment provides meaningful insights.
  • Psychometric tests make the hiring scenario predictable to a certain extent and provide valid reasons to select a candidate for a particular job role.

What Are The Different Types of Psychometric Tests for Recruitment to Screen Candidates?

There are three main determiners for the candidates from a recruiter’s perspective – performance, potential and personality. When screening candidates, it is essential to simultaneously evaluate various personality facets in a single assessment. A recruiter is interested in two aspects of an individual: behavioral traits and cognitive skills.

Cognitive Assessments

Cognitive or aptitude tests holistically assess a candidate’s ability to think logically. It includes questions that assess the core brain functions such as problem-solving, reasoning and decision-making. It is a widely used method in making hiring decisions by recruiters globally. Various tests come under the aptitude test:

  • Numerical Reasoning- It evaluates the candidate on the ability to work with numbers and calculations.
  • Verbal Reasoning- It is used to evaluate a candidate’s ability to understand written information and decision-making.
  • Logical Reasoning- It primarily focuses on a candidate’s ability to conclude from given information.

Personality Tests

Every person has certain personality traits. Personality tests provide informed insights into an individual’s personality. Understanding the personality helps a recruiter choose the right job profile if the candidate is selected for the job. A personality test also indicates whether the selected individual would be the right fit in the organizational culture. It encompasses an individual’s patterns of thoughts, feelings, and is also linked to behavioral competencies. The test can also measure their motivation toward work and what drives them. 

Some companies follow the OCEAN model, which is also known as the five-factor model (FFM). It categorizes the human personality into five groups, depending on various traits, such as:

  • Openness- People who are open to new experiences and are curious about art and aesthetics.
  • Conscientiousness- It is related to self-discipline and acting responsibly. It also signifies how an individual controls their impulses.
  • Extraversion- It suggests about people skills and how individuals perform in social settings.
  • Agreeableness- It shows how individuals get along with others.
  • Neuroticism- It suggests emotional instability and negative emotions such as depression and anxiety.

The objective analysis of the candidates can be done in different ways. It depends on the recruiter’s priority and needs to conduct a personality test to solve a purpose.

Did You Know?British army uses The British Army Recruit Battery Test (Known as BARB). It’s a computer-based psychometric test that evaluates candidates for their suitability in the military.

Why You Should Choose Psychometric Tests for Hiring Employees

There was a time when psychometric tests were used only for clinical psychology. However, its role gradually became more significant because it provided vivid results about an individual’s mental abilities. These traits are further categorized into different sections, such as behavioral tendencies and cognitive skills. These insights offer more information about an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. 

A recruiter needs to understand the employees’ strengths and weaknesses to deploy them in job roles corresponding to their skills. Using psychometric tests for recruitment is a way to measure these skills objectively. Employment psychometric testing also helps a recruiter look beyond the candidate’s information on paper, i.e., education and work experience. 

Implementing psychometric assessments for recruitment provides important clues about individuals’ working behavior for recruiters to ask questions to assess their fitment for the prescribed job roles. 

Given below is a chart to help us understand some specific skills that psychometric tests reveal:

specific skills that psychometric tests reveal

How Do I Choose a Psychometric Test?

There are different types of tests available to analyze candidates on these facets above-mentioned. Psychometric tests give the recruiter a reliable and valid measure to make an informed decision. However, a recruiter needs to determine which test is the most suitable for them.

Certain characteristics make a test reliable and result-oriented, and can help you choose the right psychometric test for recruitment:

  • The test should have a standardized format and follow uniform protocols every time.
  • The test should follow consistency to avoid discrepancies and misleading results.
  • The psychometric test for hiring should be free of designing or informational errors to ensure reliability.
  • A psychometric assessment for recruitment should strictly measure particular metrics of an individual. It should not deviate from these metrics in any question.
  • The employment psychometric testing should be able to provide precise insights with predictive capabilities
  • It should be unbiased in language, ethnicity, gender or culture.

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help

The suite of psychometric tests from Mercer | Mettl is well-crafted to evaluate the candidates on their behavioral and cognitive skills. We also provide tailor-made solutions to help companies with their specific needs during recruitment. Our approach is to make the assessment process easy, reliable and empirical.

Psychometric Tests

Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric tests for recruitment are capable of assessing various traits with predictive insights. These traits include:

  • Positive Personality Traits These are key performing traits that influence the candidates’ trainability and flexibility to learn and apply new things.
  • Dark Personality Traits These are negative traits avoided by any organization to maintain a healthy working environment.
  • Motivation, Value, Preference It suggests how intensely the employees are driven to achieve the company’s goals.
  • Cognitive Ability The attention span and how effectively an individual can process the data to make an informed decision.

Mettl Personality Profiler (MPP)

Mettl Personality Profiler is a tool to map a job role in the periphery of the organization’s competency framework. It helps decide the essential traits to complete critical tasks. Mettl Personality Profiler also caters to the clients’ specific needs and helps them to execute a frictionless recruitment process. It helps in the learning and development process for training employees. It is equally useful in high-potential identification and succession planning.

Mettl Sales Profiler (MSP)

Mettl Sales Profiler is a well-designed tool to consolidate a competency framework for the sales profile. It helps identify people with the knack for sales. Matching the behavioral and cognitive competencies for the sales profile is one of the important features of the Mettl Sales Profiler. The evaluation is based on psychometric tests that provide reliable insights to choose people who would make a winning team.  

Every organization tries to find candidates who can become key performers in their respective job roles. These candidates should also be able to align themselves with the company’s values. Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric tests for hiring covers every essential idea to make a recruiter’s life easier by providing reliable information and insights about the candidates.

Mettl Dark Personality Inventory

The dark traits tell about an individual’s negative qualities that create an unhealthy environment at the workplace. Mettl Dark Personality Inventory can give information about a person’s six dark traits: self-obsession, opportunism, insensitivity, temperamental, impulsiveness and thrill-seeking behavior. These traits are undesirable, and it is equally important for an employer to be aware of such negative qualities in existing and future employees.

Mettl Personality Map (MPM)

Mettl Personality Map is a comprehensive and new-age personality mapping tool. It works beyond the well-known ‘Big Five’ model. It includes some unique personality traits such as risk propensity, take charge and growth mindset that provides various predictive insights about employee behavior. It can be used throughout the employee life cycle, such as during hiring and training and development. It is extremely relevant for higher-level competencies and assessing senior-level employees.

Psychometric Assessments: Gauge Human Behaviour and Traits for Better People Decisions


Originally published May 1 2018, Updated July 28 2021

Vipul Srivastav

Written by

Vipul Srivastav is a seasoned marketing professional with expertise in branding and communication. He writes on numerous web platforms to share his views and experiences on various topics. In his free time, he does photography, reads fiction, listens to U2, and stays curious about the outer space.

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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