Psychometric tests: A key to tool to study and analyze an individual’s behaviour and stimulus to things and people.
While on one hand, a lot of interest regarding psychometric tests, on the other hand, a lot of mistrust and confusion about its usage. We thought it would be more useful to have a clear resource, in one place, to guide hiring teams along their journey to help in recruiting individuals who are a cultural fit.
This e-book helps the recruiters and hiring managers to understand the science behind these tests and their real-world usage.
Psychometric test is not a new concept. It has been used since the early 20th century and was originally used only for the purposes of educational psychology. It was in 1905 that Alfred Binet introduced the first ‘intelligence test’
Ever since the evolution of psychometric tests, they have become a common feature in the selection process during recruitment. Today, most of the competitive organizations prefer these types of test as they can assess each candidate on their acquired skills and psychometric traits, rather than the educational background.
The right online assessment platform provides a 360° solution to all your hiring needs.
Part-1: The Science Behind Psychometric Assessments
Psychometric assessments are used as part of the recruitment process by employers to assess an applicant’s intelligence, skills and personality. They use the results to determine whether a person would be a suitable match for the company.
The tests are structured to accurately evaluate your capacity to work with others, process information and cope with the stresses of the job. The vast majority of psychometric assessments are now taken online, though very occasionally an employer may use a paper test.
Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style. Psychometric tests are designed to measure candidates’ suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude (or cognitive abilities).
They identify the extent to which candidates’ personality and cognitive abilities match those required to perform the role. Employers use the information collected from the psychometric test to identify the hidden aspects of candidates that are difficult to extract from a face-to-face interview.
With the invent of AI, recruitment has become easier by many-folds.
Different types of psychometric test
Situational judgement tests
Situational judgement tests are being used across the world irrespective for the role a candidate is being hired for. This gives a clear idea and the thought process of a person when exposed to a situation. In this type of test, the candidate is given a realistic, hypothetical scenario and asked to identify the most appropriate response to the situation. A test used to assess a candidate’s approach to solving work-related problems. The test format consists of a series of situations and the subject is instructed to select the most effective and least effective options. The aim of the test is to ascertain the subjects ability to problem solve, make decisions, and whether their personal working style is appropriate for the position they are being considered for.
Personality assessment tests enable employers to evaluate a candidate’s suitability based on the behaviour and the way in which he/she approached the work. This will be used to determine how well one will fit into the organization and the culture of the business. A candidate’s response is cross-referenced with those of a top-performing employee. This serves as an indication to know whether the candidate possesses the same characteristics.
A questionnaire designed to understand what motivates a candidate, in order to improve the working conditions and increase employee satisfaction and retention. The test format includes a series of statements and asks the candidate to rate whether each situation would increase or decrease motivation.
Occupational Personality Assessment
The Occupation Personality Questionnaire (commonly called OPQ) is the most commonly used questionnaire for training and development purposes. This test may be scored either normatively or ipsatively and will always be a multiple choice format. The report for this test will evaluate a candidate’s competencies, personality preferences and workplace behaviours.
Theories of personality
The characteristics or the blend of characteristics that makes a person unique is called “Personality” (Weinberg & Gould, 1999).
The 5 break-through theories of personality
Biological theory, by Hans Eysenck, suggests that genetics are directly responsible in shaping a personality type. Describing in his theory of introversion, he showed that introverts had high cortical arousal. This causes them to avoid stimulation. On the other hand, extroverts seek out outdoor experiences as they have low cortical arousal.
Sigmund Freud through his research on behavioral states that environment is just as responsible in shaping a person’s personality. Behavioral theory only studies the observable and measurable behaviors in the environment. Internal feelings and thoughts hold no meaning in determining the personality of an individual via behavioral theory.
The psycho-dynamic theory is mostly influenced by the works of Sigmund Freud. Sigmund’s works about the effects of unconscious mind and childhood experiences on personality influenced the formation of psycho-dynamic theories.
According to Freud, three components of personality were:
- Id – The instinctive and primitive component of personality that is responsive for all urges and needs is referred to as id. It operates on the pleasure principle, which suggests that every wishful impulse should be satisfied regardless of the consequence.
- Ego – It’s the decision-making component that works according to the reality principle. It mediates the demands of the id, superego and reality.
- Superego – This component of personality is responsible for the morals and values of society.
Abraham Marslow and Carl Riogers are among the top human theorists to have come up with humanist theories. These theories deal with the importance of self-actualization and individual experience, which helps in the development of personality and motivates behaviour. Free will and concept of self-actualization are vital for an individual’s personal growth.
The descriptive terms used to describe a person, such as out-going, short-tempered, generous are all traits. Trait approach is one of the most vital areas of study in psychology that helps identify a person’s personality, as they can be defined as a stable characteristic that causes a person to depict constant responses in all situations.
These trait forms are unique from one another. The theory designated to identify and measure individual personality characteristics can be defined as trait theory.
Concluding thoughts . . .
So, in this article, we have discussed the science behind the psychometric tests and also the various types of job-specific psychometric tests that are incorporated during the recruitment process.
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The second part of this post is ‘How psychometric tests aid organizations to ace the recruitment race’ which will be released in the next article.