Psychometric Testing 101

Posted on November 4 , 2021. 
By Ben McDonald

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Many successful companies and recruiters choose to refine their candidate screening process through the use of psychometric testing. Psychometrics are used to identify the best people for a wide range of jobs across several industries, from banking and finance to the armed forces.

We’ve written previously about how psychometric tests can help identify the right candidates for a given position. Psychometric tests provide additional perspective, going beyond the data in a standard resume to create a more rounded view of their personality, behaviour, and abilities.

In this blog, we go into greater detail about this HR solution, including the types of abilities that can be measured with an evaluation, and how using psychometrics can benefit your organisation.

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test is a tool used to quantify a person’s individual characteristics and abilities by using different examination techniques. The history of psychometric tests began roughly in the 19th century, when Francis Galton created a framework of tests to measure intelligence based on a person’s sensory and motor skills. Psychometrics were even used to check World War I recruits for psychoneurosis. 

Naturally, psychometric tests have evolved quite a bit since then. While evaluations are still used routinely for high-stress, high-danger jobs such as law enforcement, they are also becoming increasingly common in the corporate world. Psychometric assessments are often used to review a potential employee for their suitability for certain positions and environments. 

Most recently, several big players like Unilever, Swarovski and ANZ have recently adopted gamified tests like Pymetrics and Arctic Shores as part of their selection process. When compared to traditional, longer questionnaires, gamified psychometric tests can greatly reduce an applicant’s anxiety by turning the test into a fun experience – which helps them let down their guard, producing greater accuracy in results.

Types of psychometric tests

A variety of evaluations are available to measure a broad range of personal qualities. However, psychometric tests can generally be split into two main categories: 

1. Personality tests

Personality tests act as an indicator of a person’s characteristics and behaviours, including whether they’re more likely to be a stickler for rules or a risk-taker. To encourage honest responses, there are usually no right or wrong answers and no ‘failing’ score. 

Results can reveal a person’s emotional intelligence, and serve as a predictor of a person’s awareness of their own emotions and those of others. For executive-level positions, a psychometric assessment will often highlight a person’s approach to conflict resolution, and will focus on communication skills.

2. Aptitude tests

Aptitude tests quantify a person’s cognitive abilities to help determine whether they have sufficient skills to perform in the role they are applying for. Unlike personality tests, aptitude assessments generally require a minimum level of intelligence and problem-solving abilities that the candidate must meet in order to be selected. 

Test-takers answer questions that challenge their diagrammatic reasoning, error-checking, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

A multifunctional HR solution

Psychometric tests often come at the tail-end of the hiring pipeline, once recruiting managers have performed an initial round of eliminating unqualified applicants. Determining a person’s work habits and personality can act as a final vetting process to weed out candidates who could hinder your organisation’s growth. In such ways, psychometric tests can help companies avoid losses in productivity.

However, psychometrics can also be useful at the earlier stages of candidate selection. Knowing a person’s weaknesses and strengths can help shape interview questions, allowing for a stronger understanding of each applicant. 

Assessing an individual’s attitude towards the makeup of your current team can show whether they would be likely to work well with your existing staff. It is essential for new employees to not only be good team players, but also have a positive attitude towards the types of people you currently have on your team. If you are looking to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, each new employee needs to have a positive attitude towards people of different backgrounds and beliefs. A psychometric test can help determine a candidate’s bias relating to the current personnel mix within your company – even if the candidate isn’t aware of it themselves. 

Psychometric tests can also provide insight into how to help new employees excel in their roles from the very beginning, and then guide effective professional development moving forward. Such personalised attention in turn lets team members feel that their career progression is valued by their employer, which tends to increase their levels of job satisfaction and engagement. By making the most of all aspects of psychometric testing, organisations can help their teams work harmoniously together, increasing overall company morale and reducing turnover. 

Of course, harmony does not always mean hiring a lot of people with the same personality and attitudes. A group of people who are loud and highly competitive can make for an unproductive workforce, since they may be completely unable to cooperate with one another.

Even a team of lab technicians can’t all be detail-oriented. The team needs someone who is bold and visionary, and is able to inspire their coworkers into working towards the big picture. At the same time, that team will also need a practical, logic-based thinker who can keep everyone in check and on track. 

Ultimately, a well-functioning team needs all kinds of personalities and abilities – and psychometric testing is one of the best tools available to help bring key players together. This is one of the subtle points that people usually miss about this HR innovation, and it can be the crux of what makes your talent acquisition process effective for your company.

Finding the right people

Filling a role is a delicate process for any organisation, as the right employee can add tremendous value, while the cost of failure is high indeed.

A highly technical position, such as an accountant, would suit a person who is methodical and disciplined. A new manager, on the other hand, needs to have good communication skills, work well under pressure, and show the type of leadership that can motivate and support their team.

Moreover, each company has a unique culture, meaning that the same job title may have varying requirements in different organisations. A janitor at an accounting firm can be a relatively introverted person, however a janitor working at a company like Disney or a luxury hotel might need to interact with guests – and even provide customer service in order to ensure a positive experience. The demands of the second role go beyond ordinary janitorial duties, and require an additional set of people skills.

This is why psychometric testing should be tailored to match the specific requirements of not only a role you’re hiring for, but what it means in the context of your company. Knowing the clear parameters of your expectations when analysing psychometric test results can give you that extra edge over other competitors when looking for the best candidates.

At the same time, hiring someone who shares your organisation’s values and culture can also raise morale and improve retention, saving valuable time and energy that would otherwise be wasted on constantly re-hiring and re-training new applicants who turn out to be an imperfect fit. That is why it is essential to utilise innovative solutions like psychometric testing when selecting new employees.

Connexus-Global uses psychometric testing and other innovative HR solutions to identify candidates that will integrate seamlessly into your company and deliver positive results. To find out more, get in touch with us today.

Ben McDonald


Consumer & Industrial Markets


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