Finding the right candidate for a job can be a difficult task. Not only does it take a lot of effort to sort through applications to find the best candidates, but it also takes effort to figure out if a candidate is really as qualified as they say they are.
To help with this, many hiring managers use psych tests to get to know their job candidates better. In this article, you’ll learn about the types of psych tests, the pros and cons of using them, and when to use them.
Psych tests include both cognitive and personality tests.
Psych testing can help recruiters get a better idea of how well a candidate will perform in the role and how well they’ll fit with the company culture.
Psych tests aren’t fully reliable and can have privacy concerns.
Types of Psych Tests
There are two main types of psych tests: cognitive tests and personality tests.
Typical cognitive tests focus on six types of reasoning ability:
Abstract – The ability to learn complex information in order to solve problems.
Verbal – The ability to communicate concepts verbally and draw accurate conclusions from written information.
Numerical – The ability to perform basic numerical calculations and interpret numerical data such as graphs.
Mechanical – the understanding of mechanical and physical concepts.
Spatial – The ability to perceive and mentally manipulate objects in different contexts.
Emotional Intelligence – The ability to identify emotions in yourself and others and to use that knowledge wisely in decision-making (also known as E.Q).
Personality tests can be used to measure a candidate’s behavioral tendencies in a work context. There are numerous personality tests in use today the majority of which are based on the five recognized personality traits:
Openness to experience
Pros of Psych Testing
Psych testing has always been a popular tool with recruiters. It can be used to match a candidate’s cognitive abilities and personality traits with those required to perform the role and to fit with the company culture … things that may not necessarily be revealed through the interview process alone.
Cognitive abilities are important in most occupations and cognitive testing can reveal how well a candidate communicates and makes decisions.
Cons of Psych Testing
Psych tests are far from infallible. For instance, they may be used on the wrong target group or wrong cultural group, they may not be validated (i.e. tested on a large population over a long period of time) and they may not be administered consistently (under the same conditions for all candidates).
There are also privacy issues associated with psych testing. The tests need to be professionally and confidentially administered and the questions justified in the context of the position, otherwise, a candidate could have grounds for legal recourse.
When to Implement Psych Tests
Of course, there is also the question of when during the recruitment process such testing should be carried out. I know some employers who administer the tests as part of the initial screening process, while others will wait and only test the final candidates making up the shortlist.
Some companies will ask their recruitment partner to run the tests on their behalf, while others will insist on getting their own internal psychologists to evaluate the results.
Regardless of when in the process it is incorporated, psych testing should always be considered as just one aspect of the recruitment process.
It should never be the main decision-making tool, and it should never take the place of the tried and tested methods of performing background checks, verifying references, and conducting thorough behavioral-based or competency-based interviews.
Rather, it should be used as a means of confirming what you already suspect: that you have in fact found the right candidate for the job.
Psych Testing FAQ
What is a weakness of psychometric tests?
A weakness of psychometric tests is that they can disadvantage people who have difficulty taking tests.
This difficulty may be because of a language barrier, physiological reasons, or simply getting anxious about taking tests.
Because of this, relying too heavily on psychometric testing can cause hiring managers to miss out on highly qualified candidates.
Why are personality tests good for hiring?
Personality tests are good for hiring because they can help predict contextual performance.
This means they can give hiring managers an idea of how a candidate will respond to certain situations and what they will contribute to a team.
While no personality test can give a comprehensive explanation of how someone thinks, it can point out thought processes and behaviors an individual tends to have. This gives hiring managers deeper insight into which candidate will be the best fit for the position.
Should we use psychometric tests in recruitment?
Yes, you should use psychometric tests in recruitment.
These tests can be helpful for measuring a candidate’s future job performance and fit with the position.
However, it’s important to not put too much emphasis on the results of these tests and to make sure that you administer these tests ethically.