Psychometric Testing & Assessment

There are many different types of psychometric assessments. They are usually designed by psychologists and provide additional information that helps the employer to form an overall profile of you and to predict how you will function in their workplace.

Employers use them as they are believed to offer greater objectivity, reliability and validity than interviews. The tests are standardised which means that all applicants sit the same assessment and are scored according to the same criteria, no matter where or when the test is completed.

Types of Psychometric Assessments

There are two types of psychometric assessments - ability or aptitude tests and work styles questionnaires (personality/motivation/Emotional Intelligence).

Aptitude or Ability Tests

Aptitude or ability tests provide information on a person’s ability to perform certain tasks and their potential to learn and understand new information and tasks.  The tests cover skills such as:

  • Verbal reasoning (critical evaluation of written information)
  • Comprehension/grammar
  • Numerical reasoning (logical interpretation of numerical and statistical information)
  • Abstract, mechanical or spatial reasoning (pattern recognition)
  • Information checking (checking errors / attention to detail tasks)
  • IQ (how quickly you can learn and master a new task)

They can be designed to indicate suitability for specific tasks eg computing, keyboard or foreign
language skills.

Work style questionnaires (personality/motivation/Emotional Intelligence)

Work style questionnaires or inventories are concerned with how you typically behave, such as
the way you relate to others or the way you approach and solve problems. They generally
explore personality characteristics relevant to the world of work. To answer the questions you often need to think about what you would do in a work situation. If you have no formal work experience, think about how you behave in similar situations such as voluntary work, university activities or when you are participating in your hobbies.

Work style questionnaires look at factors such as:

  • Ways of thinking, feeling and acting in different situations
  • Interpersonal style, conflict style, leadership style
  • Patterns of coping with stress
  • Interests - how much do you like carrying out various types of activities at work.
  • Motivations – look at the energy with which you approach your work, and the different conditions which increase or decrease your motivation.
  • Work values– what factors make work worthwhile for you
  • How you interpret your own and others emotions and behaviours

Can I Pass or Fail Psychometric Assessments?

Employers will use a range of assessments to evaluate applicants against the competencies they require e.g. psychometric tests, interview/s, assessment centre activities and the biodata (eg education, employment, skills) presented in your resume. One low psychometric test outcome on an ability test will not make you ineligible for the job.

Aptitude or ability tests can result in a score which allows employers to rank you compared to other applicants or a criteria/standard they have set. Personality assessments are not about passing or failing but about giving a profile of you to the employer, whose task it is to match an applicant to the job or work place.

Tips to Remember Before the Psychometric Assessment
  • Contact your Hamilton James & Bruce consultant and ask what type of assessments/tests will be administered
  • Practice the tests (for ability tests, there are often online practice questions, or your consultant will give you a pack of practice questions)
  • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand
  • If appropriate, advise the test coordinator of any special requirements you might have
Tips to Remember During the Psychometric Assessment
  • Listen carefully to the instructions given. If you are not clear on what is required, ask.
  • Read the instructions, you need to know: -
    • Will marks be deducted for wrong answers?
    • Can you select more than one multiple choice response?
    • Is there a time limit?
  • Sometimes there are far more questions than can be realistically completed in the time allocated. You need to work as quickly as practical and skip questions you get stuck on. However, it is not usually advisable to skim the whole test for easy questions; this approach can tend to waste time.
Tips to Remember After the Psychometric Assessment
  • Call your Hamilton James & Bruce consultant and respectfully ask for feedback
  • Take notes of what you are told, it is quite likely you will sit the same psychometric test more than once when going for jobs. However, different employers will have different personality profiles they are looking for and, as such, you will not be viewed identically by every employer.
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