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Talent Assessment | 3 Min Read

Types of Psychometric Tests for Recruitment

Introduction

The use of psychometric assessments has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Organizations spend staggering sums on psychometric tools that assess personality types, learning objectives, and personal inclinations of their employees. Psychometric tests have found their purpose in the public sector and corporations. In the United States, the sale of these assessments and inventories for hiring, team, and personality development has been phenomenal. Past trends suggest that psychometric tests ( mainly both personality and aptitude tests) are used in some manner by companies that utilize them for recruitment and selection, training and development, and career guidance, etc.

Employers measure personality, intelligence, and skills by including psychometric tests as a vital part of a recruitment process. Recruiters use the psychometric test scores to address the hiring challenges. These tests allow the employer to check that the candidate demonstrates such traits as agreeableness, cognitive abilities, and stress management skills. Such tests are taken either online or on paper. Psychometric tests have been in use since at least the early 20th century. Initially, they were utilized in the field of educational philosophy. 

Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, invented the first practical test to measure intelligence in 1905. Since then, it has evolved to emerge as an integral part of most selection processes. Particularly within agile organizations, various types of psychometric tests are used most often to provide an unbiased, validated assessment of candidates’ professional skills. 

Listed below are reasons that make psychometric tests indispensable for recruiters:

  • Unbiased evaluation of candidates with objective and impersonal assessments
  • Substantial reduction in HR costs enhances the efficacy of the recruitment process
  • Reliable Predictors of job performance

Even though there is no definitive placement of psychometric tests in the recruitment process, recruiters can administer the tests at any of these three levels:

  • Immediately when the candidate submits the application form
  • As an add-on tool to supplement the interview process
  • Right before or after the interview 

Psychometric tests can be utilized to measure the following areas:

  • Candidates’ ability
  • Aptitude for the job
  • Cultural fit assessment
  • Evaluate candidates based on their aptitude, intelligence, personality, and working style
  • Ways to deal with stressful situations

Types of Psychometric Tests:

Here’s a list of most popular psychometric tests that organizations around the world utilize in their recruitment process:

Personality Profiling 

Hiring managers use personality tests to match the scores of potential candidates against given job specifications to ascertain their suitability for the job. And while there are no perfect answers for personality tests, the individual’s responses can imply whether the personality attributes are well aligned with the organizational requirements. Most companies initiate the recruitment process with personality profiling, but it may also be implemented after the assessment of specified abilities.

Leading companies such as HP and Microsoft often conduct personality tests that are administered verbally during telephonic interviews. Interestingly,  KPMG and Procter & Gamble use “competency tests,”a critical part of the hiring process, which are nothing but personality tests. While some firms imbibe the element of personality testing in their online evaluation form, others may require the aspirants to either complete the form there and then or take home to be submitted on completion. Here are some of the commonly used personality tests in the industry:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI )

Nowadays, many types of psychometric tests are used prevalently, MBTI being one of them. The test intends to assess individuals on four different parameters: introversion or extroversion, sensing or intuition, judging or perceiving, and thinking or feeling. This categorization is further subdivided into a combined assortment of sixteen different personality types. It stands to reason that a vast majority of Fortune 500 companies have made their new hires undergo the MBTI in the past decade, and many continue to employ it for streamlining the hiring process.

This evaluation tool is useful in identifying candidates’ intrinsic preferences. Although it’s a helpful tool for self-awareness,  it has not been established if it’s useful for job selection. Past researches suggest that HR professionals considering the selection of candidates based on the MBTI  results could end up making bad hiring decisions. Since the tool is readily available, small firms are keen on using it instead of seeking professional assistance to screen out employees. 

16 PF Questionnaire

Also known as the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, it was the brainchild of a psychologist, Raymond Cattell, who majorly focused on sixteen traits that humans possess in varying degrees, such as tension and warmth. The test comprises one hundred and seventy questions that are different from questions on several other assessment tools. The reason is that the test is aimed at identifying how a candidate might tackle a particular situation at work, rather than using a personality-centric approach.

16PF provides some insights into whether a candidate can get through a complex task quickly or handle stress effectively. The tool is well suited to address the challenges of hiring and employee development because it emphasizes on solving practical problems rather than general personality-based questions.

DISC

DISC is a powerful assessment tool that is gaining ground among HR professionals. Walter Vernon Clarke, an industrial psychologist, developed the tool by taking inspiration from the theoretical works of William Moulton Marston.

The assessment tool enables the identification of four behavioral traits: Dominance(D), Inducement(I), Submission(S), and Compliance(C). These behavior traits help in categorizing individuals as either people-centric or task-centric.

Most companies utilize the DISC assessment to filter out good employees, hoping that a particular personality trait would be better suited or ill-suited for particular jobs. Despite that, the DISC tool was not developed with this intention. The tool is best suited for addressing situations where the dynamics of interpersonal relationships are involved.  Some other versions of this tool give insights into how a person would act in a particular team, position, or management based on his/her DISC profile. The assessment has also proved beneficial in bringing to the fore skills like leadership and approach to problem-solving.

Verbal Reasoning Assessment

Verbal Reasoning Test is a surefire way to assess the candidate’s potential and eligibility to ascertain both job and organizational fit. Companies use the test to gauge the depth and breadth of candidates’ knowledge and comprehension skills.  Several types of verbal reasoning assessments are much in demand. For example, the verbal reasoning test for evaluating the candidate’s language skills at the workplace comprises questions of analogies, sentence completion, etc. The outcome of testing will enable employers to determine the extent to which potential applicants can demonstrate business acumen skills and address real-world business challenges. The test gives critical insights when it comes to assessing these abilities: creating enriching business reports and documents and checking eloquence in writing while addressing business challenges to the stakeholders. Companies utilizing this type of psychometric assessment are Hewlett Packard, 3M, UBS, and Chevron, among others.

Numerical Reasoning Assessment

Candidates who are good at interpreting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from numerical data are desired by many. The numerical reasoning test evaluates test takers on these skills. It helps employers identify the right person that can find solutions to critical business challenges and work wonders with the financial results, analysis reports, and performance figures of the company. The assessment tool comprises questions on ratios, percentages,  statistics, and graph interpretation. Numerical data that is generated by organizations is an abundant source of critical information, which can be further used to achieve business goals and track progresses. The numerical reasoning test is aimed at finding such highly analytical people who can work their way through the set of business-related problems and offer realistic solutions. Prominent companies like JP Morgan and Ford Motor include this type of psychometric test during their recruitment process.

Situational Judgement Test

Though there are different types of psychometric tests available in the market, the selection of tools depends on the exact business requirement. Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is one such tool that evaluates candidates based on how they fare in situation based assessments. Candidate responses are registered and used for ascertaining if the candidate uses the right judgment skills in such assessments. Some of the reputed companies that use SJTs are Bank of America, KPMG, and Cancer Research UK.

The development of SJTs covers three stages:

  • Job Analysis: 

Critical incidents of work situations are collected from industry and subject matter experts or archival sources. Developers often aim to acquire information that deals with specific content domains or constructs related to the job. After all, behavior on exposure to situations usually varies from one position to the other.

  • Inexperienced Employees:

This is something performed in tandem with the subject matter experts, where people are asked to generate one or more responses to each situation. The experts can identify the best answers, and the less optimal replies also. 

  • Scoring Key: 

When questions are rationally scored, the experts are asked to make judgments with respect to the effectiveness of the responses – both the best and worst options. Those identified as the best are scored as correct, while those determined the worst are deemed incorrect.

Situational Judgment Tests are a variant of assessment centers, where people are put into real-time situations based on roleplay. This is an observational understanding of the subject but is limited in terms of attendance. SJTs offer a platform for a large number of candidates to test simultaneously, even more so on a digital solution. The quality of these tests is often determined via reliability, validity, and adverse impact. Another crucial factor about Situational Judgment Tests is – fidelity and generalization. 

You may review this in the table below:

chapter_7_utilizing_the_components_of_psychometric_tests_important_factor_situational_judgement

The table communicates a comparison between SJTs and Assessment Centers, both of which measure discernible traits or behavior triggered during particular situations. These are methodologies derivative of behavioral consistencies and psychological fidelity principles.

The fidelity of the task stimulus is the extent to which the test realistically identifies with a situation that would be encountered in the workplace. But this isn’t the only measure to the test’s effectiveness. Fidelity is often required to find balance with generalizability – the extent to which scores from a test can be generalized to varying contexts.

chapter_7_utilizing_the_components_of_psychometric_tests_note_why_is_generalizability_important

Employee motivation is a critical part of the workplace, in terms of performance development in a given department and the company even. Industry leaders and experts argue that employee motivation is something of a regular mandate. Despite the knowhow, however, merely studies average a mere 13% as employees engaged at work.

Logical Reasoning Assessment

Logical Reasoning test is presented in a non-verbal format. It is used to measure the inductive and deductive reasoning skills of candidates. The test allows examinees to utilize critical thinking abilities to decipher and manipulate pictorial or numerical pattern based questions. Logical reasoning tests, more often than not, are also referred to as ‘Abstract Reasoning’ or ‘Inductive Reasoning’ for portraying a specific skill set. Citigroup, Ernst and Young, Unilever, Morgan Stanley are some of the companies that make use of these tests in their hiring process.

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Mettl is an online platform that enables both recruiters and companies to measure candidates’ abilities in various domains, helping them make well-informed decisions of recruitment, training, and development of candidates/employees. Access our extensive library of tests and simulators for defining the qualities of top talent by evaluating their underlying abilities, knowledge, skills, and behavioral attributes. Browse through a wide range of psychometric, cognitive, role-centric, and technical assessments to get your people decisions right. After all, it’s the humans, not machines that build successful businesses. 

Getting the right people in the right roles is an imperative necessity for every organization. Mettl’s Psychometric assessments and tools cater to every organization’s unique needs. Organizations can very well leverage these scientific and data-backed tools to measure the human personality and predict the exhibited behavior. What do you want us to assess? If your organization wants to assess candidates’ intelligence, personality, and reasoning skills, it might be best to go for tools that address these needs. Similarly, if you are looking for tests that measure skills for specific roles, you may want to employ specialized tools, such as code evaluation platforms and SpeechX. Get Better Talent Assessment with Mettl!

Conclusion

Even though there are different types of psychometric tests available for recruitment and selection purposes, there are lots of discourses over the perceived value of psychometric tests in the organizational context. Those who use it speak volumes about the indispensability of tools. Those who don’t, still resort to their usual ways such as preferring person-to-person meetings over digital assessments. Psychometric tests have been a mission-critical factor for ensuring the success of the hiring process. When subject matter experts analyze outcomes from psychometric instruments, they use those findings as a crucial asset that supplements the interview process and produces results in favor of any company which implements them.

Originally published April 12 2018, Updated July 30 2020

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