Are your psychometric tests up to scratch?

by Miriam Bell25 Oct 2012

Recruiting employees who are the right fit for your company is easier said than done – so it is not surprising that the use of psychometric testing to screen job applications is on the increase, even for non-client facing roles.

Understanding how to optimise psychometric tests can help you find employees with specific traits that are best suited to the position you're trying to fill, Paul Forti, from US-based PCM Management Consultants, said in a recent interview. He listed the following points as essential for HR to keep in mind to ensure the effective use of psychometric tests:

Make sure they're legal: Not all tests are equal in the eyes of the law. If a test is not properly created or administered, it could be considered discriminatory. Hiring an experienced personality testing firm or consultant can also mitigate your risk, but that can end up costing a lot of money – depending on the scope of the testing, number of employees, and type of test administered.

Create a detailed job description: It's critical to understand the job for which you're hiring before you apply the test. If you need a salesperson who is outgoing and good with people, you're going to be looking for a different personality type than someone who works with numbers in the office all day.

Choose the test that measures what you need: There are many different personality tests available to employers, measuring everything from “morality” and “integrity” to whether a person is an introvert or extrovert. Be sure that you're measuring the criteria you need for the position you wish to fill – or you're wasting your time.

Be aware of the test's limits: While reputable tests can tell you what personality traits a person has, the tests can't tell you whether the person will succeed in the job. Work environment, management style, corporate culture, practical experience and training all have significant impact on the performance of an employee. A test can tell you some things about an individual, but it should not be used in place of extensive interviewing and reference-checking.


  • by Naomi Lock 26/10/2012 9:40:02 AM

    I think we also need to remember that psychometric tests don't just measure personality.

    There are a number of valid, reliable and hugely valuable psychometric assessments that help to cover off other important characteristics:

    - cognitive ability tests are a very powerful predictor of future work performance

    - emotional intelligence tests help to understand an individuals' leadership behaviour and emotional reactions in the workplace

    Credible assessment providers can help organisations to align the requirements of a job description, with the recruitment process to ensure psychometric assessments are adding value, insight and strong outcomes for all.

  • by Alan Harrison 16/01/2013 6:52:08 PM

    I agree psychometric testing is very popular these days. However the way some are used leaves much to be desired - making testing a fad rather than better science in HR. I had an experience with Onetest - where test norms were based upon unsupervised tests completed at home on line, (we dont even know who completed the test). These were used to rank people on various dimensions. The test items in some were in my view rather odd, so I asked the HR girl who administered the testing to provide me with a copy of the test manual indicating what cohorts had been used to develop items, set norms, what reliability and validity data they had, any interpretation notes so that reports could be properly interpretted. She had nothing. Checking on university web sites revealed many graduates had had their career launch compromised by poor test results and were banned from re sitting tests for some arbitrary period and others who had achieved good results were offering to help do the tests (for a fee maybe?). It was all very unprofessional and reflected very badly upon contemporary HR practice. I understand Onetest is quite commonly used and is certainly well marketed.

  • by Onetest Psychology Team 7/02/2013 12:43:53 PM

    Hello Alan,

    Most of our assessments are developed in Australia and all have valid Australian normative data. Onetest assessments undergo a rigorous development and testing phase that adheres to Australian Psychological Society standards. The brevity of the comment box limits the discussion that we can have on our technical manuals, the details of our normative groups, the validity and reliability of Onetest assessments, as well as the strategies we have in place to ensure that candidates do not cheat on the assessments. However, please feel free to contact the Onetest Psychology Team for more information or a more in-depth discussion regarding our assessments.

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