SmartRecruiters Blog

Psychometric Testing For Hiring – FAQs and Answers

There are many methods and approaches companies can take when screening new hires. Major consultancy firms like Deloitte refine the process through psychometric testing, which provides valuable insight into a candidate’s personality.

A company is only as strong as the team that drives it forward. One underperforming member can negatively affect even the most efficient of departments; causing disruptions in communication, group harmony, workflow, and more.

An underperformer may not necessarily be an unmotivated employee, rather, it can be someone who simply does not fit with the company culture, or who doesn’t have the skills or aptitudes necessary for their position. Shrewd hiring, then, is a fundamental part of corporate growth.

Organizations of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, have adopted psychometric testing as part of the rigorous assessment process needed to build strong teams of employees with all the right traits and skills.

What Is Psychometric Testing?

Psychometric testing measures capabilities and personality traits that determine candidate-fit for any given position. The tests are developed according to a scientific method, and are designed to be objective and unbiased.

Oftentimes, they’re conducted once recruiters or HR have decided that a candidate has fulfilled all the initial requirements for a position after screening, interviewing, and background checks. The psychometric evaluations provide HR with detailed insights about a candidate’s personality, aptitudes, and skills – critical information to make the final hiring decision.

What Traits and Skills are Measured by Psychometric Tests?

Psychometric tests are often selected with custom-selected questions according to the position that needs to be filled. Not all candidates are tested for the same traits, however tests often include personality questionnaires, situational judgement, critical thinking, numerical reasoning, a variety of abilities, verbal reasoning, and more. They can usually shed light on a candidate’s level of extraversion, social skills, and logical reasoning.

Some of the most commonly conducted tests include:

These assessments (and others) help a company get a better understanding of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

What Kinds of Companies Use Psychometric Testing?

Companies that take hiring seriously often use psychometrics as one part of their highly involved selection process. For example, Deloitte conducts an initial screening, interviews, psychometric testing, and a final interview (among other HR best practices).

No matter the industry, psychometric evaluations benefit nearly everyone – companies that care about selecting and retaining top talent can use it as part of their recruitment process for better results.

How Is Testing Conducted?

Psychometric tests are usually multiple choice format. Often, they’re administered either online, or taken in person in an office setting. Some of the questions involve written scenarios, and evaluate how a candidate would respond in various work situations.

The assessments don’t require any preparation on the part of the testee, however the individual should still be briefed about the process and be given an explanation about why they’re being tested.

Can Anyone Conduct a Psychometric Test?

The short answer is no. A certified psychometric practitioner has undergone considerable training and certification to be able to select the tests that are appropriate for the role, and how results should be assessed.

Some hiring professionals try to find free aptitude tests online, however these are not designed with the same proven method as an official psychometric evaluation, and the quality of the results and analysis will not likely be reliable. A company can benefit by seeking a certified psychometrician or a recruitment firm that offers this service if they want science-backed data.

What Happens After the Test?

Once results have been assessed, it’s recommended that all testees receive some feedback. The tests can reveal strengths and weaknesses that candidates might not have previously been aware of. Even if a candidate is hired based on optimal test results and interviews, tactfully pointing out areas where they can improve can be valuable to them in the long run. 

Psychometric testing is not only beneficial for the hiring process, but for building stronger teams, solving conflicts, and retaining employees. Many organizations continually use testing to evaluate their current employees for executive positions or other advancement opportunities.

How Do Psychometric Tests Add Value to Companies?

Successful companies of all kinds have something in common: they place emphasis on hiring employees with the right aptitudes and personality for the role, and work hard to retain them in the long run. They know that it is extremely costly to replace a good employee, and that high turnover is something to be avoided.

When done correctly, psychometric testing can significantly raise the probability of choosing the right candidate for a job, and retaining them. While these assessments come with a cost, it is less than the cost of having to constantly re-hire employees.

Companies rely on their employees and the expertise they bring to the team, as well as their ability to work well with others. Employees who struggle often do so because they were selected solely based on the quality of their resumé and a face-to-face interview.

While interviews, background checks, and CVs are critical parts of assessing candidates, soft skills and personality aren’t so easily discerned. Psychometric assessment tools are able to give the hiring manager clear and objective information; enabling them to make decisions with more confidence. 

A final takeaway: don’t leave hiring employees to intuition and basic interviews alone! For hiring and retaining top talent, involve an expert who can conduct the right psychometric tests for your needs.

Miriam Groom

Miriam Groom is VP of Sales and Marketing at Groom and Associates, a Canadian recruitment agency specialized in headhunting and executive search.