What are Psychometric Tests and How to Prepare for them?

Updated July 11, 2024, By Chris Schutte

What are psychometric tests or assessments?

Psychometric tests are assessments designed to scientifically measure aspects of an individual’s cognitive abilities, skills, behaviour styles, and personality.

Psychometric testing is used by employers to measure an individual’s suitability for a specific job role, by comparing their assessment results with the requirements of the job.

They are designed to offer a more reliable and objective means of predicting people’s potential job performance, enabling better hiring and recruitment decisions.

Assessing candidates with psychometrics gives employers a more holistic understanding of the individual than they would gain from the interview process or a CV. It also gives key insights into how they can best be managed to perform in the role. 

Main Types of Psychometric Tests Used

There are two main types of psychometric test categories: Personality tests and Cognitive or Aptitude tests.

psychometric test types

Personality and Behaviour Tests

Personality tests measure the personality traits, behaviours, values, motivators and emotional intelligence of an individual.

These assess how a person is likely to behave in the workplace, how they approach different tasks and how they communicate with others. 

A few examples of these types of tests are:

  • DISC assessments
  • Personal values test
  • Personality profiles 
  • Adaptability tests
  • Emotional intelligence tests
  • Workplace integrity tests
  • OCEAN or The Big Five
  • Character profiles
personality tests

There are no right or wrong answers in personality tests or assessments, and there is generally no timer. They are simply designed to give employers an indication of potential job performance, and if the individual will be a good or poor fit with the specific job or business.

Personality tests are commonly used to help improve workplace culture, and give managers a better idea of how to manage and motivate the individual to bring out the best in them. 

Cognitive, Aptitude and Reasoning Tests

Cognitive aptitude or ability tests measure the mental horsepower of an individual, their logical, verbal, and numerical reasoning skills as well as their ability to problem solve and quickly learn new concepts. 

A few examples of these types of tests are:

  • Cognitive tests
  • Aptitude tests
  • Numerical reasoning tests
  • Verbal reasoning tests
  • Logical reasoning tests
  • Mechanical reasoning tests
  • Work skills assessments
cognitive tests

This category of tests generally has a time limit and consists of right and wrong answers. They assess people’s ability to answer a set of questions correctly within a set amount of time. 

Cognitive and aptitude tests have been scientifically proven to be powerful predictors of individual job performance, and have become a standardised practice when recruiting for many prominent businesses around the world. 

Other Psychometric Test Types

There are numerous psychometric tests and assessments that don’t directly fall under either the Cognitive or Personality test categories as well. These include industry specific tests, which measure the skills and personality traits desired within specific industry types such as hospitality, banking, retail, healthcare, and sales.

Situational judgement tests (SJT) also fall under this category. This type of assessment measures the candidate’s ability to problem-solve and utilise judgment in their day-to-day activities and interactions.

Are Psychometric Assessments Accurate and Reliable?

Psychometric tests and assessments provided by reputable psychometric providers are generally very accurate and reliable. Psychometric testing removes the bias which can occur through more traditional hiring methods, such as a face-to-face interview, CV, resume or job references.

They are an objective and standardised means of assessing candidates, which allow employers to focus more on a person’s potential and future performance than their history.

When multiple psychometric assessments are used, their ability to predict performance also improves.

psychometric tests science, accuracy and reliability

Most psychometric tests undergo robust scientific research and testing and include built-in validity checks which highlight if a candidate is trying to manipulate their results to appear “socially desirable” to the employer. 

Extensive research and decades of experience have proven psychometric tests to be strong predictors for job performance, which provide employers with accurate, data-driven insights into their employees.

How are Psychometric Tests Conducted

Psychometric tests are completed at different stages of the recruitment lifecycle, so their application can vary from one organisation to another.

Most psychometric tests are now completed online rather than on paper. Invite links are sent directly to the candidate via email and they are given instructions on how to complete the assessment.

woman completing psychometric test

Once complete, assessment results and reports are generated and made instantly available on the psychometric provider’s assessments platform online. 

At this stage candidates and/or employers are given feedback by a trained psychometric expert on their results.

In other cases, the organisation’s internal recruiters, hr managers or talent acquisition experts trained in interpreting the assessments provide individual feedback on results or integrate them into their decision-making process. 

How to Prepare for a Psychometric Test

1. Practice

There are a wide variety of practice tests available online that can help you to prepare for psychometric tests – most importantly for cognitive and aptitude tests. Familiarise yourself with the format of the test, and the types of questions asked, and practice working under time pressure. This will help you to be prepared for the real test in advance, and give you the best chance of achieving a good result. 

2. Find the Right Environment

It is important when completing both personality and cognitive tests to find a quiet space without distractions. There is generally no limit on time for personality tests, however, completion time can be a factor in the final result for some assessments. Given that most psychometric tests are now completed online, it is important to also ensure you have a stable internet connection. 

3. Understand Instructions Before Starting

Carefully read through the instructions at the start of the test. These will provide you with important details for the test, including any time limits, or the number of questions included. 

4. Work on Time Management 

Practice allocating your time carefully for timed assessments so you can complete as many questions as possible. In some cases, it might be better to move on to the next question rather than lose time on a particularly difficult one. 

5. Answer Honestly

For personality type assessments be sure to always answer questions honestly and avoid distorting your answers. Most tests have built-in validity checks that will highlight where questions have been answered dishonestly or modified to impress recruiters or employers.

Why do employers use psychometric tests for recruitment?

Getting the right employee/job fit is essential in the recruitment process, and psychometric tests have proven to be one of the most effective means for achieving alignment.

People who are a good personality or behaviour fit with the job or business and have the right cognitive abilities, are more likely to succeed in the job, be engaged, and stay with the organisation long-term. 

recuitment candidate smiling, using psychometric tests for hiring

It is very common for businesses to struggle with staff retention and engagement today. This leads to wasted time, money and resources hiring new employees who will likely quit the job within a few months.

Psychometrics ensure employers, recruiters, HR managers and talent acquisition experts aren’t left “guessing” if a candidate will be a good match for the job.

They help to save time and money while giving a better result than would be achieved through traditional methods like interviews and resumes alone. 

Expand Your DISC Knowledge and Skills

Want to start using psychometric tests with your candidates? Contact our team to get a quote personalised to your needs.

Related Posts

Psychometric Tests Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How do I purchase or order psychometric tests?

InterACT provides a large range of 40+ psychometric assessments for personality, behaviour, cognitive abilities and more. You can order psychometric tests for yourself or your business by visiting our psychometric assessments page

What is the benefit of psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests minimise bias when hiring. They give employers important insights into people’s workplace behaviours and abilities so they can make more informed hiring decisions. This leads to higher staff retention, better employee motivation and engagement.

How to pass psychometric tests?

For personality and behavioural assessments there are no right or wrong answers or pass/fail scores. However, for many cognitive, aptitude, and skills tests, there are specific requirements for being accepted for the job. This can vary from one business to the next, however, a score above the 50th percentile is generally most desirable. To pass these tests you will have to correctly answer a set of questions within a given amount of time. 

How to practice psychometric tests?

There are a large number of practice tests available online to help you prepare for taking a psychometric test. For most cognitive and aptitude tests it is a good idea to practice exercises in logical, verbal, and numerical reasoning. 

When should psychometric tests used?

Psychometric tests can be used at any point in the HR lifecycle. Although they are most commonly used in the recruitment and employee selection phases, psychometric tests are also used post-recruitment to help employers better understand their employees, know how to motivate and manage them, and pick out high-potential candidates for promotion within their existing talent pool. 

What are the best psychometric tests?

The best psychometric test varies depending on the needs of the business. Most reputable psychometric assessments and tools can greatly benefit an organisation and enhance the performance of its people. However, it’s important to pick the right psychometric tools for the job. For some jobs understanding a candidate’s personality might be more important, while for others it might be necessary to measure cognitive abilities and aptitudes to ensure they have the mental horsepower to perform highly demanding tasks. 

chris schutte, article author and managing director at interact global

Author of this Article

Chris Schutte

Chris is the founder of InterACT-Global, and has 30 years experience as senior manager and entrepreneur in the Human Capital consulting and management industry, using the DISC assessment in his practices.

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