3 min read

Psychometric Testing: the What, Why & When

Guy Thornton November 01, 2018

Psychometric testing is one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot in the HR industry. There is a chance that when you heard it the first time, you may have thought the person was talking rubbish. It just sounds like something designed to make people sound smarter than they are. You may be surprised at how helpful these tests are though. To help you understand what they can do, let’s break down the What, Why and When of it all.


The idea behind psychometric testing is that it produces data useful for hiring the best people. The data, if used the right way, can determine if someone will succeed or fail in the role they’ve applied for. It does this through measuring cognitive abilities and assessing personality traits. Through this, it’s possible to see if someone would be a ‘good fit’ for the company and environment. The level of things it can test and measure is quite amazing too. Through competency tests, it can determine verbal or numerical ability. It can also highlight the candidates’ lateral thinking skills through abstract reasoning. Personality tests can measure things such as leadership qualities, agreeability, and just how they’d fit into a team. Examples of personality tests include Myers Briggs, The Big 5, and DISC Behavior Inventory.


This may be surprising, but the psychometric testing industry is worth over a billion dollars. 80% of Fortune 500 companies use it when hiring new employees. It’s so popular because it works. Consider a research that was recently published. It showed that out of 20,000 new hires across various organizations, 49% of those hires were deemed failures within 18 months. Think about how many resources go into attracting new staff and then training and supporting them in the first 6 months on the job. If 49% of those are leaving, what an epic waste of resources. This is why psychometric testing can help. It can find you identify the right people for the role and reduce your turnover rate.


While the general consensus is that psychometric testing is used in the hiring process, there are different points in the process that it can be used. You’ll be able to filter out applicants with reasonable confidence during the beginning stages of recruitment. It can also be used during the final interview to confirm the quality of a candidate. There’s even the possibility of applying a psychometric test later in the hiring process. It could prove useful in the probation period, and also to support the staff through the length of their employment. Thanks to technology, it can also be completed outside of the workplace as well. It can be done online at home, which can free up time for recruiters in the office.

In Conclusion

Understanding the What, Why and When of psychometric testing shows how useful it can be. This also helps to shatter the idea that this kind of testing falls into the ‘too hard’ category. Psychometric tests really can be quite simple, and with the results they’ve shown – they’re worthwhile to any recruiting department.

Guy Thornton November 01, 2018

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