Psychometric Tests for Hiring

psychometric testing for employment

Have you heard of psychometrics tests for hiring? Have you ever taken one?

Chances are you may have even taken a psychometric test as part of the hiring process, but weren’t sure you were taking one or what it was even for.  

We wanted to tell you what a psychometric test is and how companies use psychometric tests for hiring. We’ll also describe the various types of psychometric tests plus give you some tips on how you can prepare for a psychometric test.

What is Psychometric Testing?

Psychometric testing is a scientific and objective way for companies to assess a candidate’s skills, aptitudes, and personality traits.

They are quite common. In fact, 70% of companies report using psychometric testing when recruiting and interviewing.

Psychometric testing can be an extra factor in helping recruiters and hiring managers determine if a candidate is a good fit for a job. In some cases, it can help tip the scales in one candidate’s favor over another.

Six Common Psychometric Tests

Not all psychometric tests are the same. An employer may choose to use one type of test over another depending on what traits they are looking for in their ideal candidate.

1. Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator

This test was developed by Isabell Briggs Meyers and her mother Katharine Briggs. Their goal was to make the personality theories of Carl Jung accessible and useful to everyday people.

The test determines your preferences for:

  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N),
  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I),
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F), and
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

After taking the test, individuals discover their “type” which is indicated by four letters such as ISTJ or ESFP. There are 16 personality types in all and you can read about them here.

This test can be given to candidates as part of the interview process, but it’s used in many different settings.

For example, guidance counselors at high schools and colleges may give the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to students to help them find a career that fits their personality and temperament. You may have even taken an online version of the test just for fun.

2. Work Personality Index

psychometric testing for employment

Developed by Dr. Donald Macnab and Shawn Bakker, this test is designed to see the connection between a candidate’s personality traits and how that candidate performs their work.

Specifically, the results of the test will reveal to employers how a specific candidate will tend to:

  • Interact with management and co-workers
  • Approach and complete work
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Manage stressful situations
  • Deal with changes

Unlike the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, which can be taken by anyone, the Work Performance Index should be given to candidates who are about 21 years or older. This is because the test asks the test taker to envision themselves in real-world work scenarios.

If a candidate doesn’t have enough real-world job experience under their belt, then the test may not produce accurate results. Not only do employers give this test to candidates, but they also may give the test to existing employees to realign teams or departments to maximize their productivity and efficiency.  

3. The Caliper Profile

There are a few versions of this test that employers may use. The most common version measures how someone’s personality traits correlate to a specific role such as account specialist or customer service associate.

Individuals who take the test will see a series of statements. They then indicate how well that statement aligns with their viewpoint using a “strongly agree” to a “strongly disagree” scale.

The Caliper Profile gives employers a more complete picture of a candidate than many other psychometric tests. An employer can gain valuable insight into how well a candidate would be at negotiating, training others, building teams, making decisions, and more. It will also score the candidate on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being a “perfect fit” for the position. 

4. The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

psychometric testing for employment

The HPI has been around for close to 40 years and it’s used as a reliable indicator of job performance by corporations around the world.

Candidates will have about 20 minutes to answer 206 true or false questions. But these aren’t science or U.S. history questions you saw on high school tests. Instead you’ll see statements like:

  • “I don’t like opera.”
  • “I am not a competitive person.”
  • “I enjoy meeting new people.”

It’s your job to simply click true or false for each statement.

It may seem like an odd test, but the results are reliable. Employers look at the results of the HPI to reveal to employers what the so-called “bright side” of your personality is. That’s the part of your personality that is most prominently on display while at work.

It will give employers an accurate measure of your self-confidence, self-discipline, creativity, and leadership ability, among other traits.

What’s even more critical to employers is the fact that the test will indicate which types of occupations employers may be suited for such as: service roles, managerial roles, sales positions, clerical positions, and others.  

5. The DiSC Behavior Inventory

Psychometric tests may seem like a modern corporate invention but consider the DiSC Behavior Inventory. The DiSC is based on a style of personality test that’s been around since about 400 BCE.

There are many versions of DiSC personality profile, but they’re all generally based around identifying the strength of these 4 factors in candidates:

  • Dominant
  • Influential
  • Steady
  • Compliant

The DiSC is a reliable tool to help employers understand how a potential candidate may work as part of a team as well as their general professional style.

Here’s good news for candidates who are asked to take this particular psychometric test for hiring. The DiSC may be one of the least intimidating test out there. It comprises just 12 to 30 questions. Test-takers just have to identify the words and phrases which they think either apply or do not apply to them.

Employers use the test results to see the strengths of a particular candidate, but they do not predict how successful a candidate will be on the job.

6. The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32)

psychometric testing for employment

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire test is made up of 104 questions, with each question offering 4 statements. It’s your job to choose which statement in the grouping describes you the most and which statement describes you the least.

The test measures 3 personality domains including:

  • Relationship with People
  • Thinking Style and Feelings
  • Emotions

Many employers use this test because it was specifically designed to be relevant to the modern workplace. Employers will be able to easily compare your results to those of other candidates.

Another reason employers love this test is because it gives them a lot of information. First of all, it identifies who among a pool of candidates is the best fit for a role.

It can also point out future leaders, the best technical specialists, and which groups of people will work well as a team.

How to Prepare for a Psychometric Test

The idea of having to take a psychometric test can be daunting. You usually won’t know that you’ll be required to take one until you’ve at least had an initial interview, which leaves you little time to prepare.

But having little time to prepare is kind of the point. These aren’t skills-based tests. Employers want your “gut response” to really evaluate if you are a good fit for the position.

Even though you can’t study in a traditional way for these tests, try these 5 tips to put yourself in a position to make sure your best qualities shine through.

  1. Research: Find out what the company’s culture is and what types of employees they attract. Do they value introverts over extroverts? Creative thinking over logical thinking? Keep that in mind as you answer.
  2. Practice: Search for samples of psychometric tests online to familiarize yourself with potential questions. As you search, beware of test prep companies who will want to sell you test guides, classes, online tutoring, and more. That level of prep is usually not necessary.
  3. Stay alert: Make sure that you are well rested and your head is clear before taking the test.
  4. Be alone: Take the test in a quiet, well-lit area where you know that you will not be disturbed.
  5. Trust your gut. These tests don’t have right or wrong answers. Try not to overthink any one question. Your initial response is usually the right one.

Don’t try to answer the questions the way you think the company wants you to answer. Many of these tests are designed to reveal when candidates aren’t giving truthful answers. If they think you’ve tried to “game” the test, then it’s almost certain you won’t get the job.

Above all else, remember that psychometric tests are just one part of your overall interview process. If a company has decided to give you a psychometric test, then you can feel pretty confident that you’re among a short list of candidates.

If you’re considering getting a new job, you’ll need a winning resume that clearly showcases your skills, experience, and value that you bring. Contact us today help.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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