It can be difficult to know whether a candidate will perform well in the role they’re applying for. Some roles require very unique skill sets, while others might be more suitable for a certain personality type. If only there were a more scientific way to assess an applicant!
Well, while it’s certainly not an exact science, these hiring challenges open the doors to a solution far beyond the assessment capabilities of a standard CV: psychometrics.
Psychometric tests are often used in the recruitment process to identify the best candidate for a particular job. The tests can include anything from situational questions to numerical tests, and can provide employers with valuable information about a candidate's abilities, as well as their personality and interests (depending on the type of test).
There’s no question that psychometric testing and other types of talent assessment have their benefits, but some companies might find they are less suited to this recruitment strategy. In some cases, implementing psychometrics can be costly and challenging, and knowing how to measure and interpret test scores equally difficult.
With this in mind, it’s important for businesses to understand both the benefits and potential pitfalls of psychometric testing, in order to make informed decisions about whether to use these tests in their recruitment processes.
In this blog from recruitment specialists at Applied, we’ll cover some of the ways employers can make more effective use of psychometrics (and other types of testing) and achieve better outcomes. Plus, we’ll cover the types of tests available and real-world examples of how they can be used.
What is psychometric testing?
First, let’s briefly explain what psychometric testing is.
Essentially, a psychometric test is a method of assessing a candidate's cognitive abilities, personality, and/or interests in order to predict their job performance. These tests are relatively common in modern recruitment processes, and when used in the right way, can provide valuable insights into a candidate's potential.
The process typically involves administering one or more standardised tests to a candidate, and then interpreting the test results to assess their performance against other applicants. Usually, a qualified professional, such as a psychologist or human resources specialist, will assess the results of these tests, but some smart platforms can provide data insights automatically.
Types of psychometric tests
There are various types of psychometric tests, and these assessments can also take several forms, from multiple choice questions and questionnaires to ‘true or false’ statements. In most cases, the tests are timed.
Below, we go into more detail about the kinds of tests you might expect:
- Cognitive ability tests: These assessments measure a candidate's cognitive abilities, such as verbal and numerical reasoning, problem-solving, and even spatial awareness. They offer unique and valuable insights into how candidates use their practical skills that are relevant to the job. The Applied cognitive assessment, Mapped, includes 18 multiple choice questions to be answered in 30 minutes. The test assesses basic mathematical skills, data interpreting, analytical thinking and attention to detail.
- Numerical skills tests: Mathematics assessments, common in more niche roles, provide recruiters with a better understanding of an applicant’s skill level in one core area. The Applied numerical skills test is backed by science, and specifically crafted to test practical maths skills required in the workplace. It includes 20 multiple choice questions to be answered in 30 minutes, and covers numerical computation, estimation, reasoning and data interpretation.
- Aptitude tests: These tests are also relatively common in recruitment, and can measure a candidate's potential to acquire certain skills or knowledge. Covering situational judgement and various types of reasoning skills, aptitude tests can be extremely varied.
- Personality tests: Looking for someone to match your office culture? Personality tests can help employers measure a candidate's unique traits, such as their level of extroversion, conscientiousness, and even emotional intelligence and stability.
- Interest inventories: Similarly, there are some tests that measure a candidate's interests, such as the types of activities they enjoy or the industries they are interested in.
It's important to note that psychometric testing is not an exact science, and with that in mind, the results of the tests should not be the only factor in making a hiring decision. Rather, psychometric tests are tools that employers can use to make more informed decisions about who they hire.
Combined with relevant interview questions, reference checks and work samples, recruiters should find themselves securing an accurate hire in far less time (in fact, you could see a 66% reduction in time spent hiring).
Predictivity at its best: Applied’s work sample questions
With Applied, these kinds of tests make up a fundamental part of how our software works. Built on 100+ years of research and behavioural science, our platform is designed for fair and inclusive hiring, no matter the role.
Collecting candidate scores and displaying them as anonymous, logical data sets helps hiring managers immediately identify the most qualified candidates for the job.
In addition to cognitive and numerical tests, however, we predominantly use work sample questions as a way to explore a candidate’s suitability for a certain position. With these kinds of questions, we can simulate realistic tasks and scenarios that the application would typically face in the role, before they have even interviewed for it. It’s the most effective and predictive way to find ideal candidates.
Key benefits of using psychometric testing in recruitment
Psychometric testing can provide relatively accurate measurement of ability, and can generate useful data when used alongside other recruitment methods. Below, we explore some of the key benefits for recruiters:
- Find the most qualified candidates: As we’ve discussed already, psychometric tests can provide useful insights into a candidate's cognitive abilities, personality, and specific skills for the job, which helps to predict how well they might perform if offered the role. With more accurate hiring, recruiters will have fewer concerns about potentially making bad hires and wasting time. Plus, companies will likely see improved performance overall and better retention rates.
- Reduce bias: A typical selection process can involve a lot of unconscious bias; but with this kind of testing, you can rapidly increase objectivity. By relying on objective test results, employers can make completely fair, unbiased decisions based on a candidate’s skill rather than their background or education history, for example. At Applied, every stage of our recruitment process is built to completely avoid unconscious bias. With artificial intelligence, our software can anonymise the entire process, from applications and testing to communication and interview scheduling.
- Increase efficiency: By using tests to assess a candidate's abilities and potential, employers can save time and resources by focusing on the most promising candidates. Hire faster and more accurately with a platform that can offer psychometric testing as part of the process.
Industry examples of psychometric testing in recruitment
Psychometric tests can be useful across a variety of industries. In fact, 75% of the Times top 100 companies use psychometric testing as part of their recruitment process. Below we explore some of the ways in which these tests are used today:
Professional testers VS leading ATS platforms
For most psychometric testing, professional testers will be involved in interpreting the test results. Testers are typically psychologists or HR specialists, and they play an important role in ensuring that the tests are properly administered and used to make informed decisions about a candidate's potential job performance. Professional testers will usually provide feedback to employers and recommend how to best use the test results in their ongoing respective recruitment processes.
However, accurate candidate scoring does not always need to rely on human experts - some all-in-one ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) can automatically analyse the data and determine which applicants are more suited to the role. Using Applied, recruiters can set up and manage customisable tests for their candidates, keep the results anonymous, and have a clear view of how each candidate is performing.
So, should all companies start using psychometric testing in their recruitment processes?
While psychometrics can certainly provide many benefits in terms of making more informed and objective hiring decisions, it unfortunately might not always be the most cost-effective solution.
Of course, the benefits of varied testing options should not be downplayed, but businesses looking to increase the efficiency of the recruitment process - and also keep diversity and candidate satisfaction in mind - may find more success with a comprehensive applicant management solution.
Applied is the only ATS purpose-built for unbiased recruitment. Our range of helpful features include job board integrations, personalised candidate emails and live data reporting, alongside our predictive testing functionality.
Applied is the all-in-one platform for fairer hiring - purpose-built to reduce bias and reliably predict the best talent.
Start transforming your hiring now: book in a demo.