Psychometric testing and assessment centres

Find out about psychometric testing, which can be used for shortlisted applicants to assess such things as their mental ability and personality.

Psychometric tests

Psychometric tests are standardised tests that may measure mental ability, potential, performance or personality. Examples of psychometric testing include:

  • numerical reasoning tests- test the person’s ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately
  • verbal reasoning tests- test the person’s ability to think constructively
  • diagrammatic reasoning tests- test the person’s logical reasoning ability and whether or not they can work out and apply a set of rules from a flowchart or diagram
  • situational judgement tests- test how the person deals with situations they might experience in the work place.

Psychometric testing can have different levels of tests to reflect different job requirements, for example, the tests for manager jobs may be different from team member jobs.

There are a number of times when organisations might use psychometric testing or assessment centres, for example:

  • for senior jobs
  • if they are taking a risk with an applicant who doesn’t have previous experience in this type of job
  • if reference checking or interviewing has generated concerns about the preferred applicant
  • for jobs where particular personal characteristics are required which are difficult to assess
  • to choose between two equal applicants
  • for all jobs.

Assessment centres

Assessment centres usually include psychometric testing as well as other types of assessment. These are costly, so would generally only be used for the shortlisted or preferred applicant. These may include, for example:

  • self-evaluation
  • questionnaires eg on work and leadership preferences and experience
  • interviews
  • role play simulations.

They are often conducted by psychologists or experienced people who can provide insight into responses to build up a complete picture of the person and their strengths, development needs, a plan on how to manage them effectively, and any potential risks of hiring.

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