7 things you need to know about Psychometric Assessments – but were too afraid to ask!

psychometric assessments

It is likely that you will have come across some form of assessment in your career. It could have been as part of a job selection process, or something that a company that you have worked for uses to understand more about you.

At its core, an assessment tool provides a measurement against certain characteristics, the characteristics being dependent on the purpose. Before we dive in, here’s what to expect from this article.

What are Psychometric Assessments?

Psychometric assessments are used to measure a person’s personality, aptitude, and interests. They are often used by employers to determine how well an individual will perform in a certain job role or gaps that may exist in their existing profile compared to an ideal profile.

For example,

If you want to work as a nurse but your psychometric assessment shows that you would be more suited for another role in healthcare such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy then this would be useful information for both you and your employer.

Psychometric assessments may also help identify which training courses would be most beneficial for someone considering changing careers – enabling them to make an informed decision about their future direction.

Why are Psychometric Assessments used?

Psychometric Assessments are a cost-effective tool that can be used to measure against understood desirable performance, management, and leadership capability.

There are two types of psychometric assessment to consider.

  • An assessment that is grounded in academic research, Theory Driven. The generally agreed foundation of personality psychology is called the Five Factor Model also known as the ‘Big 5’. You can remember it through the acronym OCEAN. Social Psychologists can explain the majority of differences between people by looking at these five dimensions: OpennessConscientiousnessExtraversionAgreeableness; and Neuroticism.
  • The second approach is more empirical and observational-based. An assessment may be a simple analysis based on the exploration of what is felt to be relevant and then observed.

As with any method used to develop, or recruit staff – psychometric assessments should not be the only method used to assess suitability or development needs. It should therefore become best practice for a company to introduce an interview or discussion to ‘check’ any assumptions made on the outcome report generated by these tools.

Similarly, it is important to use the right tool for the purpose intended. Some assessments work better in recruitment, some better in leadership assessment, and others in leadership development gap analysis. It is therefore important for a company to work with a fully trained and authorised assessment provider – such as Redbridge Consulting.

To bring this to life, let’s look at The Heptathlon.

The Heptathlon is a track and field combined competition made up of seven different events. If there was an arbitrary benchmark or even a pass/fail for the first event (100m Hurdles) then it would only be the best hurdlers who progress.

Fortunately, the winner is the person with the best-combined score over all seven events. This is one way for us to look at psychometrics, at least in terms of recruitment.

There is always a wider context, and we should be extremely careful making any binary judgments about scores in isolation of context.

What kind of information can be obtained from a Psychometric Assessment?

Psychometric assessments are used to assess a wide range of information, including:

  • Personality traits (e.g., extroversion)
  • Cognitive ability (e.g., intelligence)
  • Aptitudes and skills (e.g., numerical reasoning)
  • Motivation and interests

What should you expect from a Psychometric Assessment Report?

We explore the preparation required in another writing, but we should be aware that sometimes the outcome report can be a surprise and uncover hidden strengths as well as blind spots.

The report could cover:

  • strengths and weaknesses, leadership style, career aspirations, personality traits, and motivation.
  • any gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed before an employee can perform at their best.
  • It could be that the assessment has tested your verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning skills and is comparing you against a population.
  • It may also include information about work habits such as time management or task completion.
  • Psychometric assessments are used to determine if an employee has the potential to succeed in a position.

Psychometric assessments are an accurate way of determining whether a candidate is suitable for a job; however, they do not replace other forms of selection such as interviews or reference checks. A psychometric assessment is just one tool that should be used alongside others, so you get the full picture when making hiring decisions.

Understanding the Psychometric Assessment

A psychometric assessment is not an interview! It’s an objective evaluation based on your responses to questions about yourself, your preferences, and your abilities. A psychometric assessment does not involve face-to-face interaction between the candidate and their potential employer–in fact, some tests can even be completed online without any contact at all!

When can it go wrong?

There is a thought that a ‘clever’ person can sway an outcome. This could be the case for some simple testing, but as complexity increases, accuracy is measured between answers that are given. This also means that if someone has rushed into an assessment, this can be seen.

Trying to ‘game’ the process is more common in recruitment, but less so in development contexts. It can also go wrong if you have learning difficulties or any impediment that may prevent you from giving the best version of yourself at that point in time. Enabling equality and inclusion in the field of testing is a significant opportunity for improvement within the industry, and should you have different needs, you should inform your organisation prior to taking the test.

How long does a Psychometric Assessment take to complete?

The time it takes to complete a psychometric assessment will depend on the type of assessment and the number of questions. Some can take longer than an hour, while others are shorter.

Can I prepare or practice for it?

Yes, and no. If the test is about your aptitude or capability (i.e. cognitive reasoning tests) then you can indeed prepare and practice for them. Most mainstream test publishers have practice pages available on their sites for you to do just that. Be advised though there is often a big jump up in difficulty between practice test questions and the actual ‘live’ questions.

For personality-based assessments, there is no reason for you to practice or prepare. We would advise you to work swiftly and note your natural responses in the moment. This will be the best indicator of your personality and will be more meaningful for you in the long run.

Summary

It’s important to remember that psychometric assessments are only one part of your development or job application process.

They can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how well you fit into different roles and organisations, but they should never be the only factor used when making hiring decisions.

Leadership Assessment: Benefits, Tips and ‘Watch Outs’

Are you ready to unlock the full potential of your executive and leadership team? Take action now and download our guide to discover the benefits and pitfalls of conducting assessments.

With our expert insights, you’ll gain a wealth of valuable data that can be applied for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your team’s performance, enhance your leadership skills, and drive your organization’s success to the next level!

Leadership Assessment- Benefits, Tips and 'Watch Outs'

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