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Psychometric testing: Why is it so important for recruitment?

July 3, 2024
Lukas Vanterpool

YOU think you have found your ideal candidate – their CV looks great, previous experience ticks all the boxes and their educational background is impressive. 

You hire them – but then they start work, and you discover their personality doesn’t fit with your company ethos or culture, their work ethic leaves much to be desired and well, some of their views are…let’s say ‘interesting’. Immediately, you begin to regret your choice. 

This is where psychometric testing can be a game-changer in recruitment – now more than ever when most people are working from home. 

Office banter is a great way of tapping into someone’s personality; how they interact with their peers, how their ideas manifest in conversation and how they conduct themselves in a working environment.  

However, as the landscape of the office continues to change and the jobs market remains highly competitive, this is where hiring the right person for the role is crucial; and where psychometric testing really comes into its own. 

Hiring someone who looks a safe bet and appears great on paper is all well and good, but what if they struggle to settle in, or even worse – disrupt the team and/or upset clients? 

This can be a costly and time-consuming mistake that employers need to avoid. 


What is psychometric testing? 

Psychometric testing measures mental capability and aptitude, differing from traditional testing that measures education, knowledge or skill. 

Recruiters can use psychometric testing to make their selection process to the next level – assessing each candidate further to get a clear picture of how they might perform and behave in the workplace. 

Psychometric testing isn’t a new concept – it has been around for well over 100 years.  

Believe it or not, the first tests of this kind were developed at the University of Cambridge in the 1880s and have since featured during the world wars, being used as a tool to assess recruits for any neuroses.  

The tests administered back then were mainly personality tests, and the role that psychometric tests have taken on since then has drastically changed – and now look more closely at someone’s aptitude through what are called cognitive tests. 

When it comes to the workplace, many companies have relied on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to find out more about the personality of each job applicant. 

As recruiters, we do know that this does have its limitations when used on its own. A more comprehensive range of psychometric tests is now available to create a detailed assessment of each candidate. 


How are these tests used in recruitment? 

By measuring traits such as aptitude, emotional intelligence and communication style in a candidate upfront, recruiters can develop a much clearer picture of them, as well as a stronger gauge of their suitability for a specific role or position. 

After all – matching the right person to the right job is key; not only to ensure a stable employer and candidate relationship but for job satisfaction, lowering staff turnover and overall efficiency and productivity of the business.  

As we have already mentioned, candidates who appear to be perfect for the job on paper are not always as successful when workplace realities come into play.  

Much more than just personality profiling, psychometric tests provide a very useful view of a candidate, revealing their logical processes, aptitude for problem-solving and the ability to interpret and analyse data through a series of verbal and numerical-based tests, situation judgement and logical reasoning. 


What are the benefits of psychometric testing? 

As we’ve already touched upon, there are several additional benefits to using psychometric tools for recruitment purposes. These tests are designed to provide objective and measurable data to help managers make informed decisions for hiring.  

Psychometric assessments provide insight into candidate intelligence levels, values, as well as behaviours and motivations. 

In other words, they can help managers delve into how and why a candidate might act a certain way, for instance, during a high-pressure sales call or when working as part of a team.  

There are many benefits of using psychometric testing;  including: 

  1. Understanding how people will behave at work
  2. Identifying leadership potential in job applicants
  3. Accurately testing general intelligence of candidates
  4. Interpreting candidate emotions and their ability to maintain relationships
  5. Saving time in the recruitment process.


What can employers and recruiters learn from these tests? 

When it comes to what we can learn from these tests – the bottom line is that while matching candidates to a job doesn’t seem such a tall order, there is so much more beneath the surface of the ‘hiring iceberg’.  

For example, some of the metrics that employers or recruiters can use to assess business impact by using psychometric testing as part of their recruitment strategy include: 

  • Successful candidate job performance 
  • Employee turnover 
  • Time to competence 
  • Improved levels of individual performance and engagement
  • Savings on training costs 
  • Increased talent pools 

No test can be 100% accurate, but what psychometric tests do is allow you to compare a candidate against a norm, therefore highlighting those likely to perform above average. Defining the desired skills and behaviours needed to perform a role well are crucial for effective measurement. 


What advantages does it bring to the modern recruitment process? 

With home and remote working here to stay, the way we recruit staff, conduct interviews and monitor performance have also changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic.  Distance from the office, public transport issues and in some cases, childcare or other family commitments, are no longer factors when it comes to finding the perfect candidate for a 9 to 5 role.  

Employers can benefit from a much larger, and until now, untapped talent pool. On the flip side, candidates are able to use their own profile branding (through LinkedIn for example) to secure their dream job.  

When it comes to hiring; an interview process can be fairly subjective and although employers will normally assess skills and experience fairly accurately, much can still be left to gut instinct regarding aligned values.  A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can give you a better all-around view of a candidate’s suitability. It could be argued that psychometric testing offers some ‘scientific’ credibility and objectivity to the process of recruiting.  It perhaps provides a more fair and accurate way of assessing a candidate, as all applicants will be given a standardised test. 

 Traditionally, these tests have taken the form of pen and paper, multiple-choice questionnaires, but increasingly they’re moving into a digital realm – which again fits with the recruitment process in the current climate.  Psychometric testing may have been around for a long time, but it has a firm and valid place in today’s recruitment process.  


Giving a greater insight into a prospective candidate’s personality and ability, they more than scratch the surface. They can be quick and easy to integrate into any stage of the hiring process – and give recruiters and employers the chance to make a decision much more quickly; thus saving time and money. 


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About The Author

Lukas Vanterpool

I started The Sterling Choice with Gareth Whyatt back in August 2013. We’ve always remained true to ourselves and what it is we’re trying to achieve – A great company with great people and great results! This journey never stops, we are always finding ways to support our colleagues and make sure they leave every day feeling fulfilled.

Over the years I’ve always been asked “what’s your USP??, what makes you different from all the other agencies??”. That’s an easy one for me to answer – “Our culture makes our business and our people make our culture”

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