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Psychometric Testing in Recruitment


Given that a hiring error can cost up to 21% of the mis-hire’s annual salary, the push towards accurate and dependable recruitment methods has never been more pertinent. The economic impact of bad hires has generated a shift towards psychometric testing marking a move towards more data-driven and analytical recruitment strategies. This approach aims to improve the efficiency and fairness of hiring processes, while also providing a more accurate prediction of a candidate’s future performance. As job roles become increasingly complex, and the need for adaptable and culturally aligned talent is more pronounced, psychometric testing offers valuable insights that go beyond traditional resumes and interviews, helping businesses reveal the true potential of their applicants.

Psychometric testing has become a key tool in modern recruitment, helping organisations match the right candidates with the right job roles more effectively. By assessing a candidate’s cognitive abilities, personality traits, and situational judgement, this approach provides a comprehensive view that goes beyond the traditional resume and interview process. It enables hiring managers to make decisions that are not only informed but also deeply aligned with the organisation’s culture and values.

What is psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing, put simply, is a scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style, offering a scientific approach to assess how well someone might fit a job role.

It evaluates intelligence, personality traits, and work preferences, giving a deeper insight into a candidate’s potential beyond what can be learned from resumes and interviews. The process is standardised, usually online, and includes a professional analysis of results. It’s a tool that adds depth to the hiring process, providing both employers and candidates with valuable insights.

Why are psychometric tests important in the hiring and recruitment process?

Finding the right candidate goes beyond just skill matching; it’s about ensuring a good fit with the company’s culture and values. Psychometric testing plays a key role in this process by providing objective, in-depth data on an individual’s compatibility with a role. This approach extends past the subjective judgments of interviews and the basic information from CVs, offering a more thorough understanding of a candidate’s capabilities and personality.

The strength of psychometric tests lies in its comprehensive and objective assessment. Evaluating crucial job-related skills and the less tangible, yet important, aspects of how a candidate might mesh with the team and the broader company culture. This helps to avoid costly hiring mistakes by offering insights into areas often overlooked by traditional hiring methods. Promoting fairness and equality by evaluating every candidate against the same standards, supporting inclusive hiring practices.

Psychometric testing differentiates itself by not just considering a candidate’s present qualifications but also by forecasting their potential to grow and succeed within the organisation. It’s about enhancing the recruitment process to make it more effective, ensuring new hires contribute positively to the team and company at large.

Enhanced Predictive Accuracy

Psychometric tests are scientifically designed to predict a candidate’s job performance by measuring their cognitive abilities and behavioural traits. This predictive power helps employers make more informed decisions, foreseeing how well a candidate will adapt to the role and contribute to achieving organisational goals.

Cultural Fit Assessment

A successful hire isn’t just about skills; it’s also about finding someone who aligns with the company’s culture. Psychometric testing provides an objective assessment of this fit, ensuring they’re likely to gel with the team and environment, which is key to long-term success.

Objective Evaluation

As many employers work towards eliminating bias and promoting diversity, psychometric tests offer an impartial method to assess candidates. By providing all applicants with the same set of questions and evaluating them based on standardised criteria, these tests help level the playing field and reduce unconscious bias in the selection process.

Streamlined Recruitment Process

Incorporating psychometric assessments can streamline the recruitment process, identifying the most suitable candidates early on. This efficiency reduces the time and resources spent on interviewing unsuitable candidates and can significantly lower the costs associated with turnover and rehiring.

Development and Retention

Psychometric tests not only aid in the hiring process but also in the development and retention of employees. Understanding an individual’s strengths and areas for improvement can guide personalised development plans, enhancing job satisfaction and employee retention rates.

Psychometric testing enriches the recruitment and selection process by providing a comprehensive, unbiased view of a candidate’s potential. These assessments bridge the gap between a candidate’s present qualifications and their future performance and fit within the company, making them an invaluable tool in the modern hiring landscape.

What are the benefits of psychometric testing?

The benefits of psychometric testing extend well beyond the initial selection and hiring phases, offering long-term advantages for both employers and candidates. By utilising these assessments, organisations can not only refine their recruitment strategies but also enhance their overall workplace environment.

For Employers

Improved Hiring Quality

Psychometric testing contributes to a higher quality of hire by ensuring that candidates’ abilities and personality traits align with the job requirements and company culture. A study published in the Journal of Intelligence found that cognitive ability tests are strong predictors of job performance across the vast majority of occupations, significantly improving hiring outcomes.

Cost Efficiency

The cost of a bad hire can be substantial, including wasted salary, training expenses, and decreased team productivity. Psychometric testing helps mitigate these risks by providing an additional layer of screening. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average hard costs for hiring is $4,700, but with employers estimating the true figure to actually be up to three to four times the position’s annual salary for replacing a bad hire. By reducing turnover through more informed hiring decisions, companies can save significant resources in the long run.

Enhanced Team Dynamics

By assessing personality traits and work preferences, psychometric tests can aid in assembling high-performance teams that are more cohesive and effective. This alignment can improve team dynamics, foster a positive work environment, and increase overall productivity.

Data-Driven Decisions

These tests transform hiring from a subjective art into a more objective science, allowing employers to make decisions based on quantifiable data. This shift not only bolsters the fairness of the recruitment process but also supports diversity and inclusion by minimising unconscious biases.

For Candidates

Fair Assessment

Candidates benefit from a level playing field where they are assessed based on their actual abilities and potential, rather than on resume credentials or the ability to perform in an interview alone. This fairness can increase the attractiveness of an employer to prospective job seekers.

Personal Insight

Even if not selected for a role, candidates can gain valuable insights into their strengths and areas for improvement through psychometric testing feedback. This feedback can be instrumental in personal development and future job searches.

Better Job Fit

For candidates, being selected through a process that includes psychometric testing often leads to better job satisfaction. This is because the role is more likely to align with their skills, personality, and work preferences, reducing the likelihood of early departure.

Types of psychometric tests

Psychometric assessments and testing can be broadly categorised into three main types: personality tests, ability tests, and behavioural/skill based assessments (including situational judgement tests). Each type plays an important role in evaluating different elements of a candidate’s profile, offering comprehensive insights into their potential suitability for a role.

Personality Tests

Personality tests delve into the nuances of an individual’s character, behaviour, and preferred work style, assessing traits like extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), for instance, categorises people into 16 distinct personality types, reflecting different ways individuals perceive the world and make decisions, and along with other ‘type’ based assessment provides incredible insight for existing teams to be able to maximise their effectiveness as a team. Similarly, the Big Five Personality Traits model evaluates individuals across five major dimensions of personality with a stronger and more scientifically accurate ‘trait’ based approach to assessing personality, proving invaluable for employers looking to gauge a candidate’s potential fit within a team, their adaptability to the company’s culture, and their approach to facing workplace challenges. This makes personality assessments particularly crucial for roles necessitating significant interpersonal interaction or a specific type of personality alignment.

Ability Tests

Also known as aptitude tests, ability assessments measure a candidate’s cognitive capabilities, shedding light on their potential to undertake tasks and navigate problem-solving scenarios effectively. These tests range from general assessments to more specific ones targeting verbal reasoning, numerical ability, logical reasoning, and spatial awareness. For example, Raven’s Progressive Matrices test logical reasoning while the Numerical Reasoning Test gauges numerical ability. Through these assessments, employers can identify candidates with the analytical prowess, quick learning skills, and the ability to manage complex information, making such tests indispensable for positions that require robust analytical and problem-solving skills.

Behavioural/Skill Based Assessments

This type of assessment, which includes the broad category of Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs), can take the approach of placing candidates in hypothetical, job-related scenarios, asking them to choose or rank the most effective responses. Commonly in testing for recruitment and selection this includes Emotional Intelligence tests, Situational Safety Awareness tests, sales skills, interpersonal skills, and more. When tailored to specific job roles, these tests assess judgement, decision-making abilities, and how well a candidate’s skills and knowledge translate into practical, on-the-job situations. Whether it involves managing a challenging customer service issue or resolving conflict within a team, skill based tests and SJTs provide a lens into how candidates apply their judgement and decision-making skills in real-world contexts. This aspect of psychometric testing is especially relevant for roles that prioritise leadership, decision-making, and interpersonal skills, offering a window into how a candidate might perform in critical, everyday work scenarios.

The Debate Around Psychometric Testing in Recruitment

The use of psychometric testing in recruitment often sparks debate, especially concerning its impact on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Research suggests that these tests can inadvertently disadvantage candidates across racial or minority groups and those with disabilities or mental health conditions, potentially undermining efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. The concern lies in the fact that standard tests may not accurately reflect the abilities of individuals with certain disabilities or mental health issues, thereby skewing results and limiting opportunities for these candidates.

Acknowledging these complexities does not diminish the value of psychometric evaluations in creating inclusive hiring frameworks. Rather, it highlights the necessity for a thoughtful approach in their application. With careful planning and consideration, psychometric assessments can be adapted to accommodate a wide range of candidates, ensuring fairness and accessibility. For instance, adjustments can be made to the testing environment or to the tests themselves, such as allowing extra time for individuals with specific needs or providing alternative formats for those with sensory impairments.

By integrating psychometric testing with a broader suite of assessment methods you can further mitigate potential biases. This holistic approach to candidate evaluation ensures that decisions are not solely based on test results but are informed by a comprehensive understanding of each individual’s skills and potential.

Preparing for a Psychometric Test

Facing a psychometric test can seem daunting, but with the right preparation, candidates can approach these assessments with confidence. Here are some general tips and strategies to help navigate the process:

  • Familiarise Yourself: Understand the types of questions and formats you might encounter. Many test publishers provide practice tests or sample questions.
  • Practice Regularly: Engaging with practice materials can improve your speed and accuracy under test conditions.
  • Review Basic Skills: Depending on the test, brushing up on basic maths, reading comprehension, or logical reasoning skills can be beneficial.
  • Rest and Relaxation: Ensure you’re well-rested and mentally prepared on the day of the test. A clear mind performs better.
  • Mindset and Attitude: Approach the test with a positive attitude. Remember, psychometric tests are designed to assess fit, not to trick you.
  • Avoid Distractions and Interruptions: Make sure you are not going to be interrupted when doing the testing – especially when working with timed tests.
  • Time Management: Practise managing your time effectively, especially for timed tests. Learn to move on from questions you find difficult and return to them if time allows.
  • Ask for Accommodations: If you have a disability or require special conditions to perform your best, don’t hesitate to request the necessary accommodations from the employer in advance.

For employers, guiding candidates on how to prepare for psychometric tests is crucial for a fair and effective assessment process. Encourage candidates to:

  • Provide Specifics: Whenever possible, give candidates specifics about the test they will be taking (e.g., the type of test, duration, and format) without compromising the integrity of the assessment. This helps reduce test anxiety and allows candidates to prepare effectively.
  • Communicate Needs: Remind them to inform you of any special accommodations they might need as early as possible. This ensures that all candidates have an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities.
  • Utilise Available Resources: Direct them to any official practice tests or preparation guides that are available.
  • Offer Practice Sessions: If feasible, provide a practice session or orientation to the testing environment. This can help demystify the process and make candidates more comfortable.
  • Reassure About the Process: Ensure candidates understand that the test is just one part of the overall assessment process. Encourage them to give their best but to also not be overly stressed about the outcome.
  • Feedback Opportunity: Let candidates know if and how they will receive feedback on their performance. Understanding their own strengths and areas for development can be valuable, regardless of the outcome.

Implementing Psychometric Tests in Your Hiring Process

Integrating psychometric tests into your organisation’s hiring process can significantly enhance your recruitment strategy by offering deeper insights into candidates’ abilities and fit.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you implement psychometric testing in your recruitment efforts:

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Start by clarifying what you aim to achieve with psychometric testing. Are you looking to assess cognitive abilities, personality traits, or specific skills? Understanding your objectives will guide you in selecting the most appropriate tests.

Step 2: Select Appropriate Tests

Select tests that are scientifically validated and relevant to the job role and your organisational culture. Consider working with reputable test providers who can offer guidance based on your specific needs. Ensure the tests comply with local laws and regulations regarding employment testing.

Step 3: Develop a Testing Policy

Develop a clear policy outlining the role of psychometric testing in your recruitment process. This should include who will be tested, at what stage of the recruitment process, and how the results will be used. Communicate this policy to all stakeholders to ensure transparency and fairness.

Step 4: Equip Your Team

Ensure your hiring team is trained not only in administering the tests but also in interpreting the results accurately. Understanding the nuances of test outcomes is crucial for making informed hiring decisions. Training should also cover ethical considerations and legal compliance.

Step 5: Administer the Tests

Modern tests are generally administered online, except for in special circumstances. Consider the candidate experience, ensuring that instructions are clear and that the testing environment is conducive to optimal performance. When administering tests online, verify the technical requirements and support available for candidates.

Step 6: Interpret Results with Expertise

Interpreting test results requires a nuanced understanding of what they signify in the context of the job and your organisation’s culture. Combine the insights from psychometric testing with other elements of your recruitment process, such as interviews and reference checks, for a holistic view of each candidate, with support from your psychometric provider if possible.

Step 7: Provide Constructive Feedback

Offering feedback to candidates about their test results can be beneficial for their professional development. Decide on the format and extent of feedback you will provide and ensure it is delivered in a constructive and respectful manner.

Step 8: Continuously Evaluate and Adjust

Regularly review the effectiveness of psychometric testing in your hiring process. Seek feedback from candidates and hiring managers, and assess whether the tests are helping you meet your recruitment objectives. Be prepared to adjust your strategy and test selection as needed.

Additional Considerations:

  • Ethical and Legal Compliance: Ensure the tests are fair, unbiased, and comply with employment laws.
  • Candidate Experience: Consider the impact of testing on the candidate experience. Clear communication and respect for candidates’ time and privacy are essential.
  • Integration with Other Assessment Methods: Psychometric testing should complement, not replace, other assessment tools and interviews. A multi-faceted approach ensures a more accurate evaluation of candidates.
  • Data Security: Protect candidates’ test results and personal information in accordance with privacy laws and best practices.

Leveraging the expertise of a consulting firm can not only simplify the selection and implementation of psychometric tests but also ensure adherence to best practices and legal compliance. A consultant can help design a testing process that is respectful of candidates’ time and privacy, enhancing your employer brand.

Integrating psychometric tests into your recruitment process reaches its full potential when it complements a broader, holistic assessment strategy. At Mapien, our expertise lies in aligning these tests effectively with other evaluation methods, providing a comprehensive view of each candidate’s capabilities. With our support, you can ensure psychometric assessments enhance your existing recruitment practices, leading to more informed and balanced hiring decisions. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help.

Over to you

Integrating psychometric testing into your recruitment process is about making smarter hiring decisions, where insights into a candidate’s abilities and fit are clear and actionable. It’s a strategy that moves beyond the resume, tapping into the deeper potential of applicants to ensure they align with your company’s goals and culture. This approach not only streamlines the hiring process but also supports building a diverse and dynamic team poised for success.

Mapien specialises in making this integration seamless, with expertise in selecting, administering, and interpreting psychometric tests that match your specific organisational needs. We’re here to ensure that your recruitment strategy is not just effective but also inclusive and forward-thinking. Learn how Mapien can help transform your approach to hiring with psychometric assessments.


Explore psychometric testing further with our white papers. Enhance your recruitment process with strategic hiring.


How reliable are psychometric tests in predicting job performance?

Psychometric tests are designed to be highly reliable, with many tests undergoing rigorous scientific validation to ensure they accurately measure the traits they claim to. However, the predictive validity of these tests can vary based on the job role, the specific test used, and how results are interpreted in conjunction with other hiring methods.

Can psychometric testing be biased?

Like all assessment methods, psychometric tests can have potential biases. Test developers work to minimise these biases by ensuring the tests are culturally neutral and by regularly reviewing the test content. Employers can further reduce bias by using tests as part of a holistic assessment strategy, rather than as the sole basis for hiring decisions.

Are psychometric tests legally allowed in the recruitment process?

Yes, psychometric tests are legally allowed in the recruitment process, provided they are used ethically and in compliance with local employment laws. Tests must be relevant to the job and used in a way that does not discriminate against candidates based on race, gender, age, or other protected characteristics.

Can psychometric test results be challenged by candidates?

Candidates can request feedback on their test results and how they were interpreted in the context of the hiring decision. While challenging the results might not change the outcome of a particular recruitment process, constructive feedback can provide valuable insights for personal development.

Connect with us

If you would like to learn more, please reach out and one of our Workplace Strategists will be in touch within 24 hours.

Speak to Mapien expert:
Dr Ian Haslam
Ian’s consulting career and experience is backed by his deep interest in the application of science behind human behaviour, and psychology to engage clients and achieve sustainable results.