The Psychometric Assessment And Its Application To Recruitment

A psychometric assessment is something which may send shudders down a job candidate’s spine when he is told he has to undergo one.  It is usually seen as a challenging test to take, and most candidates do worry if it will conclude that they possess some character flaws or flag up some fundamental inadequacies in ability.

However, the psychometric assessment remains very much a key tool in the recruiter’s arsenal, because it serves two main purposes – as an objective and quick way of verifying the ability of the candidate matches his stated experience and record, and to benchmark a candidate against a database of similar individuals so that the hiring company can better ascertain the candidate’s level of ability.

A psychometric assessment largely consists of classification of a candidate on two personal facets – ability and personality.  Ability tests can be further sub-divided into different types – numerical, verbal or diagrammatic reasoning; personality tests usually are a profiler which classifies the person into different personality types according to certain criteria e.g. how he deals with different situations.

Ability Tests

The numerical test checks for competence with numbers and mathematical principles.  A calculator is not usually required and logical reasoning is sometimes tested (usually based on interpretation of data).  A verbal psychometric assessment primarily tests a person’s knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and logical reasoning in the context of language.  Usually a few questions are based on one short paragraph of text.  Diagrammatic tests are more abstract and deal more with spatial reasoning and shapes similar to some geometry-based IQ questions.

Personality tests

A personality psychometric assessment seeks to ask questions relevant to a few scenarios and from the chosen responses classifies the person into a certain typology.  The person’s profile is then compared against a desired candidate profile based on the job description.  While it is helpful to bring out a few insights about a person’s displayed personality it does not test for underlying beliefs or character traits.  In addition, the psychometric assessment is multiple-choice so it may be subject to some answering inconsistencies, and sometimes a candidate may have difficulty choosing any one of the presented answers.

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There are also accusations that a psychometric assessment is not effective because the ability tests put candidates under pressure thus degrading their performance, but I believe that stress exists in every job and it is fair that a candidate is put to the test under challenging (but somewhat simulated) conditions to see if he still upholds a certain level of performance.

psychometric assessment

The psychometric assessment primarily deals with discovery and classification rather than training and development.  It is a good tool for recruiting but does not go anywhere far enough for employee development.  There are also techniques in which one can practice in order to get better at taking a psychometric assessment and this might give candidates who are more prepared a bit of an advantage over others, although this point is still debatable (especially on the personality psychometric assessment).  HR managers do need something more comprehensive for people development in their company, but for the purposes of recruitment a psychometric assessment will do just fine.

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