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Overview Of Psychometric Testing And Personality Tests – Part I

Author : Alison Price

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are structured evaluations that aim to objectively scope aspects of an individual’s mental ability, or aspects of their personality. Indeed, the word ‘psychometric’ comes from the Greek words for mental (psyche) and measurement (metron).

There are many different types of psychometric test available to employers. Psychometric assessments essentially can be categorised into two groups. There are those that measure a person’s capacity to comprehend the written word, or their capability to reason with figures, or to follow directions precisely. And then there are personality tests, assessing everything from motivation to values, from personality inclinations to working inclinations.

Within psychology, personality is defined as those aspects of an individual that are considered relatively fixed and prevailing and therefore can be evaluated using a test. These aspects, which almagamate to make us exclusive, also enable us to distinguish ourselves from others and enable a comparison between individuals. Personality is not seen as something we possess but instead how we connect to the environment and the world around us.

Largely all accredited psychometrics that seek to scale aspects of personality, and many assessments of ability, are devised by Occupational Psychologists. This is because assessments need to be designed carefully to make sure that they are fair to all applicants undertaking them.

Why do people take psychometric tests?

There are typically two principle uses for psychometric testing in the work environment: selection and development.

Psychometric testing is employed during the recruitment stage to support the organisation to identify the best choice in choosing the most suitable applicants, or to assist decision-making when selecting candidates for advancement. During selection for recruitment, psychometric tests should not be used on their own. They represent just one method that employers can use in the selection process.

Psychometric testing can be very valuable during the recruitment of an individual as they can help to identify personalities/values/abilities, which are known to contribute to success in the role. For example, measures of cognitive ability are correlated with success in a managerial position. Such measures can be considerably more predictive than other selection approaches such as the unstructured interview.

One of the most frequent problems with using psychometric tests during the recruitment stage is that tests are often employed, but hiring managers often do not comprehend what the results mean in terms of whether the results should contribute to a yes/no outcome or not. For this reason, when designing a recruitment process which uses psychometric tests, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an Occupational Psychologist who can explain how the results should be used. An occupational psychologist can also advise on ethical test use, including how to explain the use of psychometric tests and good practice surrounding how to provide feedback to candidates.

Psychometrics can be very powerful when used for personal development. Common uses include psychometric testing when you are making a major career choice. Understanding more about your personality and values can be very informative when trying to identify what occupation and type of organization will bring out the best in you. Psychometrics are also extremely useful in the context of team development. It can be useful to have a framework and language to explore commonalities and differences between team members and how this can impact positively and negatively on day-to-day working relationships.

Author's Resource Box

Alison Price C.Psychol is a freelance Occupational Psychologist who uses psychology to drive measurable organisational improvement through its employees and delivers a range of psychometric tests.

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Tags:   Psychometric tests, Psychometric testing, Psychometrics, Psychometric assessments

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Submitted : 2010-10-21    Word Count : 586    Times Viewed: 627