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.
Chapter 01: The Science behind Psychometric Tests
Chapter 02: How large Organizations Incorporate Psychometric Tests in their Recruitment Process
Chapter 03: How Reliable are Psychometric Tests
Chapter 04: Business Outcomes of Psychometric Tests
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.
Chapter 01: The Science Behind Psychometric Tests
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 Tests
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
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 Persoanlity 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.
Chapter 02: How Large Organizations Use Psychometric Tests
A study shows that more than 75 per cent of Fortune 500 companies rely on psychometric tests during the process of recruitment. Here is how various companies incorporate psychometric tests in their recruitment process.
Here is how large organizations are harnessing the psychometric tests in their recruitment process.
Microsoft uses personality assessment in their recruitment process. This is after a technical competency and SHL tests. The applicant will require a very good knowledge of Microsoft for the competency test and also answer some behavioural questions. The SHL test is a 24 questions test for 25 minutes, which follow the line of inductive reasoning.
The recruitment process and testing of Barclays revolves across all the four job functions (field engineering, supply chain, commercial and technology) are the same. The online application is accompanied by personality and behavioural based questions and this is followed by a telephone or video interview in which more personality and aptitude tests, based on SHL reasoning, will be administered.
Successful applicants are invited for the Barclays Experience during which, they are assessed on written and group exercises along with some case studies. Success in the Barclays experiences leaders to you securing your offer letter.
When Eon, the world’s largest supplier of electricity utility, recruits, they employ the services of both SHL and Saville with their tests. Candidates who are shortlisted from applications will be immediately invited to an online Situational Judgement Test (SJT). The applicant is exposed to various realistic, hypothetical business situations.
If an applicant is successful in the SJT, he/she will be invited for the online aptitude test supplied. The online aptitude test is basically numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning. Following the tests is the telephone interview, after which is the face-to-face interview. Competency questions are often asked during the telephone interview, while the face-to-face interview is about technical stuff. So, only the engineering applicant get to participate in it. Other applicants proceed to the assessment centre which is the final stage of the recruitment.
The procedure of recruitment in Deloitte is really strict as it uses TalentLens to scan the expertise, abilities and experience of applicants on the basis of their tests and interviews. They have a certain plan to evaluate efficiency so applicants should have to be really careful as they will be going to have a tough screening of what they claim.
5. Proctor and gamble
P&G assessment tests are entirely different from whichever you might have been familiar with. It is in two parts:
- Competency test, called P&G Success Drivers Assessment, examines if the thought patterns of candidates to judge whether they are P&G People with P&G Minds and P&G Ability. Indeed, this is a personality test.
- The P&G Reasoning Tests comprises numerical, verbal logical and abstract reasoning.
An interesting article on how psychometric tests helped a bus firm build its reputation.
Pro-tip: Make sure you adhere to this checklist before you venture for the next campus hiring drive.
Chapter 03: How Reliable Are Psychometric Tests
Psychometric assessments are tools to measure the intellectual capabilities and the behavioral traits of an individual.
In the previous article, we have discussed how large organizations adopt psychometric assessments in their recruitment process. Now, we shall see how reliable are psychometric assessments to make challenging hiring decisions.
Reliability of a test is the measure of consistency of the result or outcome of a test over a period of time and between different test takers. Hence a test measuring personality traits should yield the same answers for a test taker after several times completing the test, and within a short period of time.
It is not possible to calculate the exact reliability. Or to be bluntly put, they may not be able to provide 100% insights about a test taker, but they aim to measure the ability of a candidate to the highest degree of accuracy.
Here is how our psychometric assessments satisfy the 4 conditions of ‘reliability’.
Internal Consistency Reliability
This form of reliability is used to judge the consistency of results across items on the same test.
Essentially, we are comparing test items that measure the same construct to determine the tests internal consistency. When you see a question that seems very similar to another test question, it may indicate that the two questions are being used to gauge reliability. Because the two questions are similar and designed to measure the same thing, the test taker should answer both questions the same, which would indicate that the test has internal consistency. For example, a personality test may seem to have two or more questions that are asking the same thing.
If the test taker answers these similarly, then internal consistency reliability is assumed to be correct.
Consider the following questions:
In the above questions, if the test taker gives similar response to these behaviroal questions, then internal consistency reliability is confirmed.
Parallel Forms Reliability
This uses one set of questions divided into two equivalent sets (“forms”), where both sets contain questions that measure the same construct, knowledge or skill.
Simply put, our aim is to find out if test A measures the same thing as test B.
How is this done?
We create a set of 100 questions that measure that construct and randomly split the questions into two sets of 50 (set A and set B), and administer those questions to the same group of candidates a week apart.
If the same results are obtained, parallel form reliability is confirmed.
This uses two test takers to mark or rate the scores of a psychometric test. This ensures homogeneity of the test across a diverse group of test takers.
If their scores or ratings are comparable then inter-rater reliability is confirmed. For example, each rater might score items on a scale from 1 to 10. Next, we would calculate the correlation between the two ratings to determine the level of inter-rater reliability. So, if the raters agree 8 out of 10 times, the test has an 80% inter-rater reliability rate.
This is the final sub-type to evaluate reliability.
Test-retest reliability is measured by administering a test (complete test unlike the previous type) twice at two different points in time. This type of reliability assumes that there will be no change in the quality or construct being measured. Test-retest reliability is best used for things that are stable over time, such as intelligence.
Why is Reliability important?
- To depend on the true score of the test
- To validate an applicant’s psychometry
- To make hiring decisions based on the results of the psychometric tests
Top Reasons Organizations Rely On Psychometric Assessments
1. Serve as a credible evidence to evaluate the psychology
Organisational Psychologists spend decades researching, creating and rigorously testing psychometric assessments that are robust enough to predict when and why a given person will be successful or not in a given job.
Psychometric assessments can strongly predict a number of different work-related factors:
- Future job performance: How well they will learn new tasks, solve complex problems and perform on the job
Organizational fit: Whether they’re likely to share the organization’s values and feel more committed and engaged in their job
- Safety behaviours: How likely they are to accept personal responsibility for safety at work and avoid risky behaviour
- Behaviour and personality: How someone naturally prefers to behave at work, the kinds of behaviours they have adopted, and how difficult it is to sustain behavioural changes
- Emotional intelligence: How well they can identify, understand, manage and use their own and other people’s emotions
2. Psychometric Assessments undergo a stringent development process
Creating a valid and reliable psychometric assessment is not an easy joke. Psychometric assessments have stringent criteria to meet and need to prove that they can provide genuine information about a candidate’s suitability or ‘fit’ for a particular role. On an average, it takes 10 years to develop a psychometric test.
The primary goal of any psychometric test is to be able to precisely measure the psychometry of a candidate. This involves conducting psychometric assessments for a large pool of candidates, gathering data and performing an intricate statistical analysis on the results obtained.
3. Psychometric Assessments have check gates to detect fake responses
When candidates are applying for a job, they’re motivated to show their very best side. They likely provide a fake or a distorted response. This possibility can be ruled out as organizational psychologists have come up with various methods to reduce the opportunity for candidates to fake their responses.
- Verification testing: The candidates complete the same assessment (with different questions) a second time under supervised conditions to verify their original results
- Validity scales: At times, checks are built into the assessments (by certain questions or algorithms) to detect whether candidates are trying to present an overly positive image of themselves or their behaviour
Chapter 04: Business Outcomes Of Psychometric Tests
Psychometric tests have been shown to improve recruitment outcomes by 24%, which hugely saves the business money in both the short and long term.
While on one hand, aptitude tests can measure anything from verbal ability, numeric ability, logical reasoning, data checking and even spatial ability, on the other hand, psychometric tests can measure various aspects of personality, including enthusiasm, motivation and the ability to work with others.
Having discussed the reliability of the results of psychometric tests in our previous article, in this article we shall see how the psychometric tests prove to yield various successful business outcomes.
Enhanced Selection Process
Psychometric tests are not about right or wrong answers.
They are aimed at finding the right fit for an organization. They help us to find whether if a person has a genuine interest in engaging for the role being offered.
A study showed that psychometric tests incorporated in the recruitment processes cut the recruitment costs by 30-40%.
Yes, you can directly weed out the candidates who show even traces of disinterest or curiosity in the job. Psychometric tests help organizations to understand the job-fit, cultural-fit, and even team-fit of a candidate.
For example, if an advertising agency is looking for an out-going and gregarious business development representative, a simple personality psychometric test will reveal if an applicant is a right fit or not.
When you have information about a candidate’s personality, their traits and innate reflexes, you can be confident you are choosing the right person, for the right job, and for the right company.
Psychometric tests help in evaluating and analyzing the performance gaps that are needed to be addressed and taken into consideration to provide individual training.
Creating Synergic Teams
Psychometric tests can be scaled up to look at the spread of personalities and skills in the workforce.
Studies have consistently proven that highly diverse teams out-perform teams of similar people. The information provided by psychometric testing can then be used to create the best organization structure that focuses on diversity in both skills and personalities.
Aha! An important aspect to be noted, psychometric tests can also be used to identify any existing personality clashes and move individuals to groups more suited to their personalities.
Organizations can now have a happy and productive workforce.
Pro Tip: Organizations can adopt 16 personalities test to understand the diversity of psychology of their employees.
Employee Turnover reduction
We have been constantly stressing the impact of employee turnover in a couple of our articles.
We are doing it again here!
The total costs associated with the turnover range from 90% to 200% of a person’s annual salary. Yes, that us how dearly attrition would affect an organization.
Incorporating psychometric tests in your recruitment process brings the right candidates onboard thereby reducing the employee turnover.
Employees who feel valued and understood often perform better and are less likely to leave a business. Psychometric testing allows employers to better understand their employees, their motives, and values, which in turn creates more motivated employees.
How To Conduct Psychometric Assessments Using Xobin
At Xobin Interact we have a library of psychometric assessments to suit your business needs.
- Our behavioural psychometric analysis tests help to evaluate Decision-Making Style, Values, Leadership and Entrepreneurial Ability, Motivation and Communication Style of candidates.
- Emotional Intelligence test helps to evaluate the ability to work under pressure, Understanding Emotions and Empathy, Balance Emotions with Reason
- Situational Judgement tests help to evaluate how applicants respond to realistic business situations revealing the integrity and conscience of the candidates.
Are you hiring?
Make sure that you assess the behavioural traits of your candidates. Don’t burn your fingers by making vague assumptions!
At Xobin Interact, we will help you to pick the right psychometric assessments for your business needs. Chat with us to know more . . .