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Psychometric Test   | 2 Min Read

The Difference Between Psychometric Tests And Skill Tests

Written By Tonmoy Shingal
Hiring mistakes can prove to be expensive. The cost of a poor recruit has been broadly estimated to be at least one year’s pay.

Keeping this in mind, organizations are going the extra mile to get their hiring right. They are making extensive use of pre-employment tests like psychometric tests and skill tests to determine whether a candidate is a right fit not just for the job, but also for the organization as a whole.

Using these test methods, an employer can dig deeper and assess factors such as personality traits, cognitive abilities, emotional quotient, communication skills, logical reasoning and much more. Amongst pre-employment tests, psychometric assessments and skill tests are very commonly used.

Psychometric tests vs. skill test. Psychometric tests: What do they measure?

We would further explore these in more detail and how they are different from each other.

Psychometric tests: What do they measure?

The word “psychometric” fundamentally deals with the measurement of the mind. From a candidate’s resume and your interaction with him/her, it is easy to know details such as academic background, skill set, past work experience, and outward appearance. However, it is not possible to assess behavioral traits and cognitive abilities. A psychometric test allows you to do just that.

Psychometric assessments objectively measure a candidate’s mental abilities, skill, intelligence, personality traits, motivations, and interests. They provide an overview of a potential employee’s strengths and limitations, and this makes it easier for the recruiter to understand if he/she is the right person for the job.

The two basic types of psychometric tests are aptitude tests and personality test.

Aptitude tests are the ones that determine to what extent a candidate possesses a particular skill or capability. They also give an idea about how easily a candidate will learn a new skill required for the job.

psychometric-guide-pageNumerical Ability

These tests measure an individual’s ability to decipher graphs, charts, data or statistics.

Verbal Ability

They judge how well a person can grasp written information and gauge arguments and statements.

Inductive Reasoning

Also known as the abstract reasoning test, they are used to check how well you can interpret diagrammatic data or spot patterns and even spatial awareness.

Logical Problem-solving

These tests are used when the recruiter wants to estimate how well you can arrive at a conclusion on the basis of the given information and rules to apply.

These tests are deployed depending upon the job role that the candidate is being hired for. For instance, for jobs that require technical prowess such as those in engineering, IT or science, an inductive reasoning test comes into play.

Next comes personality tests which are effective means of gaining an insight into the behavioural tendencies and personality traits of the person. Reliable personality tests estimate relatively stable and permanent personality traits of an individual.

While aptitude tests predict whether a candidate will be able to perform the job, personality tests tell you whether the candidate will want to do the job and will be happy in the role. It assesses if he/she possesses the behavioural traits to successfully perform on the job.

Studies have suggested that particular personality traits are directly correlated with performance on certain kind of roles. For a position like that of sales and customer service, a candidate needs to be an extrovert, motivated, competitive and confident.

What are skill tests?

Skill tests help recruiters to know if a candidate has the necessary job-related competencies. These are skills that one picks up through their education and work experience. Skill tests measure hard skills, which means instead of measuring basic aptitude, they let you know the extent of knowledge that the candidate has acquired till now.

While there are general skill tests that determine overall preparedness to perform at a job, there are others that measure specific abilities. The former is applicable in entry-level jobs and include skills such as numeracy and attention to detail.

The ones that measure specific skill sets may include something like a programming test for a software developer’s profile or proficiency in using some software application.


What’s the difference?

For starters, psychometric tests estimate long term job performance. Skill tests are designed to demonstrate a person’s present level of skills in terms of technical know-how related to the job.

Reliable psychometric tests have been designed on the basis of statistical analyses on data collected from large groups of people. Since these tests are based on solid research and statistics, the tests results of one individual can be safely compared to others.

Skill tests are more discrete in nature. They are not based on any theories, instead, they are more concerned with what skills an individual has or not. If a candidate has to be tested on his/her Microsoft Office skills, for instance, he/she will be judged on their ability to use features such as Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.

The applicability of psychometric tests covers a broad spectrum. This means that performance on an aptitude test estimates if a candidate will be capable of performance on a complex job. On the other hand, a personality test will tell you how suitable a person is for a job.

On the contrary, skill tests have a narrow spectrum of applicability. They are limited to the scope of a candidate having a basic, moderate, or advanced level of skill needed for the job. These skills are just a minor aspect of the job, though necessary.


While pre-employment testing has become popular amongst organizations, HR professionals should remember to have reasonable goals and expectations from them.

They should be able to enhance the quality of hire within realistic timelines while lowering hiring costs. Not just that, they should be able to improvise the overall hiring process while minimizing the risk of bad hires.


Topics: Psychometric Test

Originally published April 12 2019,updated June 29 2019

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