What is a Psychometric Test?

What is a Psychometric Test?

Although there are references on aptitude tests from earlier times, the history of psychometric testing starts relatively recently, in 19th century France. There was a need to evaluate the mental capacity of young children, so as to proceed with their schooling, accordingly.

Psychometric testing as we know it today, is based on the early work of psychologists Binet and Simon. Today’s psychometric tests include cognitive/IQ tests, tests that assess learned knowledge and skills, and personality tests. Personality tests are especially popular for recruitment purposes. 

Since there are many uses for psychometric testing, answering in detail what is such a test, creates some new questions. Is it the correlation of data, supporting evidence that people possess a certain character trait?  Is it an evaluation method for potential future employees? Or is it a scientific methodology that aids in career development? The correct answer would be all of the above and more. The form of the psychometric test can even vary, based on what we need to assess. For example, IQ tests have a more strict questionnaire format, while personality tests can incorporate images, which are free for interpretation from candidates. 

Psychometric testing has, as stated above, many different uses beyond career and personal development. It is also an important tool in individual clinical assessment. Such tests are administered during army enlistment for example; or for further diagnosis with regards to mental capacity evaluation. 

As extra trivia, there needs to be a mention to the term psychometry. The only thing it has in common to psychometric testing is their linguistic origin, in ancient Greek. Psychometry falls into the field of paranormal beliefs, the occult even, further defined as token-object reading. Psychometric testing, on the other hand, is a scientific method with its roots in modern day psychology and provides measurable results

Is it safe to utilize this method? 

To answer that, we have to elaborate on the various uses of the psychometric test. A widely popular one is for providing career incentives, especially among teens that wish to plan their professional future. These are the type of tests that check for abilities and inclinations, so as to provide adequate professional advice or encouragement. In combination, of course, with the consultation skills of the people administering the test.

Experts have decided that besides being useful to their career development, such a test doesn’t create stress to the participants. These types of psychometric tests are available through the school system, or in private career counseling offices and they‘re not exclusively addressed to teens or young adults. 

Although IQ tests or aptitude tests might cause an increase in stress levels to participants, this is why occasionally IQ tests results, for example, vary. They’re not psychologically damaging to the individuals undertaking them. And we use the findings to further advance their career or aid in personal development.

Are the Psychometric Test results reliable? 

There are ways to ensure both reliability and validity of the tests. One way is to administer parallel test forms, through different procedures or equipment, but otherwise similar, in terms of content. Each candidate should get the same results on both tests.  Another way to check reliability, is through Test and Retest. Essentially, this method consists of having a candidate take and then retake the test, over a period of time, In the end, there should be evidence of consistency in the test scores.  Alternatively, to assure inter-scorer consistency, there can be two different raters for the psychometric test. Should they rate the test the same, the Inter-Rater Reliability increases. 

Finally, tests have certain items within them, which we use to examine if the test actually measures what it proclaims.   

Will it off put my candidates?

Psychometric tests are so common, nowadays, that prospective candidates have learned to anticipate them. For a lot of organizations, they have been a longstanding standard recruitment practice. Candidates often prepare for such tests, in light of an upcoming interview. Sometimes, to aid future employees feel more comfortable, we can administer such a test via email. That way, they can complete it in the comfort of their home. 

To address whether or not this practice could facilitate cheating, the answer is no. That is, because the participant doesn’t know what the company is trying to measure through this test. Whether, for example, they’re looking for an introverted or an extroverted personality. So, they have a better chance at matching with the company if they complete the test themselves.

What can I measure?

Here’s the beauty of it; you can measure whatever the position you need to fill, requires. It could be acquired skills or IQ units, character traits or a combination of all. You don’t need to make compromises, and check only if someone is knowledgeable, for example. You can also check if they have a fun personality, with the same test. 

We design Psychometric tests to aid HR practitioners scan through a high number of Resumes. They help identify candidates that could potentially relate to the company culture and stay longer with the company. 

Can it be my sole source of assessment?

Not really; for a plethora a reasons. Starting with the fact, that despite an easily adjustable personality and a high IQ, someone should possess typical credentials, as well. That said, one cannot replace a well written C.V.; or overlook the process of an interview, for that matter. The non-verbal cues people collect from a personal contact are invaluable to the hiring process.

Psychometric Testing :A bit more in-depth

In order to determine whether an employee hire would be successful, let’s re-visit the Model of Effective Job Performance. The Model states that there are three variables to take into account, while interviewing. What are the specific job demands, what are each individual’s traits and what is the company’s culture.If any of the above don’t respectively match, then difficulties arise, like ineffective behavior or inaction on the employee’s part.
In the light of all stated above, testing becomes a necessity. Psychometric tests offer an understanding on all three variables. They detect whether a particular choice in personnel can bridge all the different requirements. 

Psychometric tests aim to help corporations save both time and money. Hiring the right employee means putting effort in training people that will, likely, stay with the company. Hiring the right people means less HR hassle; handling colleague disputes, for example. Hiring the right person, also means work-related tasks have a greater chance at being performed timely and efficiently. 

A better Psychometric Test, with TraitForward

We designed our product, TraitForward, to cater to the needs of HR professionals. With public domain questions you can tailor to fit each position, TraitForward can become a trusted adviser, aiding with the rocky task of employing the fittest candidate. If you would like to know more about how psychometric tests can benefit your business, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.