Psychometric Testing and the Interview Process

Psychometric Testing and the Interview Process

So, after two intense and lengthy interviews, you think it’s all over – if only every recruitment process was that simple.  You may have met the Line Manager, some key colleagues you will be working alongside and someone from HR, but now you find out there are some tests to do as well.

Along with case studies, formal presentations and assessment centres, interview tests are another tool in the box which many employers use to find the best candidate for the job.  There are many different tests available, and my post would read like a book if I was to talk about each one in detail, so I want to concentrate on one of the most common ones used in today’s job market – the Psychometric Test.


What is Psychometric’s ?


There is a lot of information about Psychometrics on the internet, and one of the best places is Wikipedia, which gives a short yet concise description here.  Psychometric tests were originally developed for use in educational psychology in the last century, and they help to measure the knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality of an individual.

From an employment perspective, this is highly valuable information as it enables employers to find out about someone’s current ability levels, future potential for a position, and give them an insight into their personality traits and attitudes.  I am not convinced the word ‘test’ is the best phrase for employers to use, as the word does panic and frighten many people in my experience – they feel as if they are going back to their University or College years.

The format is very simple though.  Everyone is given the same questions and there are no right or wrong answers.  You are usually given multiple choice options, and are required to state if you are ‘more’ or ‘less’ like the statement being discussed.  If you are honest and spontaneous so you think of the first response that comes to mind, they can give a company a great insight into you as a person.


Who uses Psychometric Tests ?


They are becoming more and more prevalent as part of an overall recruitment process, and if the statistics are correct, psychometric tests are used by 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in America  and over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies here in the UK.  At McGinnis Loy, we work with both UK and US businesses that use them in addition to the traditional face-to-face interview.  We find companies will use these assessments for everyone that is potentially interested in working for the company, no matter if they are being recruited as a Senior Director or as an Administrator.


What types of Psychometric Tests are there ?


Psychometric tests can be divided into two main categories – aptitude & ability testing and personality testing

  • Aptitude & Ability Test

An aptitude test refers to someone’s ability to do something, ie how they undertake a specific task with the knowledge they already have.  Ability tests measure someone’s potential, so the potential to learn new skills, or to do new things.

  • Personality Test

Like your DNA, your personality is individual to you, and these tests look at all aspects of your persona and behavioural traits.  From a recruitment angle, there may be statements about your preferred learning or work style, how you react to pressure and deadlines, what management style suits your personality best.  The personality test is basically an evaluation of how you would typically deal with  things and situations.


How long are the tests and what do they cover ?


Fortunately, psychometric tests are not that long, some only taking 10 minutes and some up to 30 minutes.  They cover a whole range of subjects including verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, vocabulary, creative thinking and abstract reasoning.


Where can I find practice tests ?


There are a whole host of companies offering practice Psychometric tests.  Some offer free practice tests, some charge and give you a personalised report at the end, and they may require you to register with them in order to get access to the tests you are interested in.  In my opinion, the more time you can set aside to practice tests like those described above, the less worried you will become about them, if they are part of an interview process.  I have known candidates to cancel interviews purely on the grounds of the word ‘test’ being mentioned, so the more practice you give yourself, the better.  Below is a list of some of the companies and websites who offer psychometric tests, so you can try them at your leisure.



Do let me know how you get on, and I hope you have found the post of value.



Leslie Fearn


  • Interesting Blog. We discuss a number of the issues at In particular the issues surrounding simple ipsative tests developed from smallish or inappropriate evaluations.

    We are finding that in the assessment of salespeople and leaders our clients say it is important to distinguish between some of the simplistic psychometric, “smoke and mirrors” employment validators and the more complex normative evaluations. Particularly when evaluating salespeople where the list of tendencies particularly fail to produce a high accuracy (90+%)hire / don’t hire recommendation which is available only from competency based evaluation which are refined based on real world data and feedback.

    Our website features a number of pre hire assessment options

    Best Regards
    John Hill

  • Anyone seeking to further their career should look into career training online.

  • Splendid !