What is a psychometric test?

What is a psychometric test?

Psychometric tests (or assessments) are often used in recruitment, selection and development. Clevry’s psychometric tests provide a fair and objective way of measuring a range of attributes such as personality traits, cognitive ability, soft skills, verbal, critical & abstract reasoning and behavioural style.

The mental properties measured by occupational psychometric tests are generally attributes that are important to success in the job for which the candidate is being assessed. Because the results of psychometric tests are reliable we are able to use them to make predictions about potential performance on the job.

What is a psychometric test

For a test to be considered psychometric it must be standardised, reliable and valid. It must be consistent in its content, administration and scoring. This ensures the test is accurate and measures what it is supposed to, whilst omitting the influence of subjective biases.

Psychometric tests typically consist of a number of test items (questions or statements), which are administered to candidates under standardised conditions. Tests usually contain a large number of items as this helps to make the test more accurate and reliable.

While psychometric tests are generally reliable they are not infallible! One of the largest sources of error in testing comes during the administration phase. This is why it’s essential that tests are administered in a standardised way.

Psychometric testing for recruitment

Psychometric testing for recruitment is used in hiring and development processes, often with the aim of helping recruiters identify the most suitable candidates for job applications or promotions, based on the extent to which their personality and cognitive abilities match those required to excel in the role.

Today, most psychometric tests are completed through online assessment platforms (like our own). Although occasionally paper formats are still used as part of assessment and development centres. Most assessments are timed, with the exception of some psychometric personality questionnaires which can be completed across multiple sittings.

Psychometric tests in recruitment may be used at different stages of the hiring process:

  1. At the early stages of selection to screen-out candidates who are likely to be unsuitable for the job
  2. Prior to an interview as a tool for facilitating interesting discussions around a candidate’s profile
  3. At a later stage, possibly with a second interview or as part of an assessment centre. You may wish to re-assess candidates at this point to confirm the results of earlier tests.

View the output from our psychometric assessments by downloading sample reports below.

Psychometric test benefits

More companies are using psychometric tests to aid their recruitment, internal development and promotion decisions. This stems from their capacity to predict future job performance of candidates and person-organisation fit.

Outside of recruitment, assessments can be used for development by offering insight into training and staff needs, as well as career guidance.

Our psychometric assessments can deliver a range of benefits:


Psychometric tests can lower recruiting costs and help maximise recruiter efficiency by reducing the risk of a bad hire.

Better staff retention

Improves your employee retention rate through better hiring decisions.

Reduces hiring bias

Psychometric tests offer a robust process, free from subjective influence and interviewer bias.

Make better hiring decisions

Provides an overall evaluation of a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses and behavioural style at work with the aim of identifying the best fit for a particular job.

Predictive of future performance

Psychometric tests are the single most effective predictor of job performance available, outperforming all other commonly used selection methods such as interviews, references and bio-data.

Enhances reputation among candidates

Branded psychometric tests help to create a more professional corporate image among your candidates and job applicants.

Increases equality & fairness

Psychometric tests are standardised to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly and objectively regardless of who they are.

Improved candidate experience

Candidates respond more positively to a recruitment process that is both valid and objective in its approach.

What different types of psychometric test are there?

Psychometric tests are widely used in work environments to assess various aspects of individuals, including their personality traits, abilities, and reactions to specific situations. Here’s an expanded explanation of the different types of psychometric tests commonly used:

Personality questionnaires

Personality Questionnaires (or PQs) aim to measure an individual’s personality traits, characteristics, and behavioural patterns. They provide insights into how individuals typically think, feel, and behave in different situations. Personality questionnaires are often used during the recruitment process to assess the fit between candidates’ personalities and the organisation’s culture or job requirements. 

They can help employers determine if a candidate possesses the desired qualities for a specific role, such as being detail-oriented, adaptable, or assertive.

Ability Tests

Ability tests (or cognitive ability tests) assess an individual’s cognitive abilities and skills in specific areas. The various types of ability tests include:

Verbal reasoning ability test

Verbal reasoning tests evaluate an individual’s verbal reasoning and comprehension skills, often involving reading passages and answering questions based on the information provided. They assess a person’s ability to understand and analyse written information.

Numerical reasoning ability test

Numerical reasoning tests measure a person’s numerical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Candidates are typically presented with data sets, graphs, or mathematical problems that they need to interpret and solve accurately within a given time frame.

Mechanical reasoning ability test

These assess a person’s understanding of mechanical concepts and their ability to apply mechanical principles to solve problems. Mechanical ability tests are often used when hiring for technical or engineering roles where mechanical knowledge is crucial.

Critical reasoning ability test

Critical reasoning evaluates an individual’s logical reasoning, analytical thinking, and ability to evaluate arguments. Candidates are presented with passages, statements, or scenarios and must analyse and draw conclusions based on the provided information.

Checking ability test

Checking tests help to measure an individual’s attention to detail and accuracy. They typically involve identifying errors or inconsistencies within a set of data, proofreading documents, or comparing information for accuracy.

Situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests (or SJTs) present candidates with hypothetical scenarios or real-life work situations to assess their responses, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving skills. 

Situational tests are designed to gauge how individuals would handle specific workplace challenges, their judgement, and their ability to work effectively within a given context. These tests provide insights into a candidate’s interpersonal skills, conflict resolution capabilities, and adaptability in dynamic environments.

How accurate is psychometric testing?

The accuracy of psychometric testing can vary depending on several factors, including the quality and design of the tests themselves, the appropriateness of their application, and the interpretation of the results. When properly developed and administered, psychometric tests can provide valuable insights and predictions about certain aspects of an individual’s abilities, personality traits, or behaviour. However, it’s essential to understand the limitations and considerations associated with their accuracy:


Psychometric tests undergo rigorous development processes that include establishing standardised administration procedures, norm groups, and scoring methods. This standardisation helps ensure consistency and comparability across test-takers. The more rigorous the development process, the higher the likelihood of accurate results.


Reliability refers to the consistency and stability of a test’s results over time and across different administrations. A reliable test produces consistent outcomes when repeated under similar conditions. High reliability is a crucial factor for accuracy, as it minimises measurement errors.


Validity refers to the extent to which a test measures what it intends to measure and the accuracy of the inferences or predictions based on the test results. A test should have evidence of validity supporting its intended use. Different types of validity, such as content validity, criterion validity, and construct validity, are considered to evaluate the accuracy of psychometric tests.

Contextual Considerations: 

The accuracy of psychometric tests can also be influenced by contextual factors such as cultural bias, test-taker motivation, and the relevance of the test content to the job or situation being assessed. It’s crucial to consider the specific context in which the tests are administered and interpret the results accordingly.

While psychometric tests can provide valuable insights, they are not infallible and should be used in conjunction with other assessment methods and considerations. The interpretation of test results requires expertise in understanding the limitations, potential biases, and specific nuances associated with psychometric testing. It’s also important to recognise that psychometric tests provide a snapshot of an individual’s characteristics or abilities at a particular point in time and should be used as one component in a comprehensive assessment process.

Minimising bias

Minimising bias and ensuring scientific validity are essential aspects of psychometric testing and ensure  fairness, accuracy, and reliability throughout the process. To minimise bias, rigorous measures are implemented throughout the test development and administration process. This includes ensuring that test items are carefully crafted to be free from cultural, gender, or other forms of bias that could disadvantage certain groups of candidates.

Additionally, efforts are made to create standardised test conditions that are consistent for all test-takers, regardless of individual differences. By adhering to strict guidelines and protocols, psychometric tests provide a more objective and impartial evaluation of candidates’ abilities and attributes.

Scientific validity 

Scientific validity is another cornerstone of psychometric testing, emphasising the accuracy and relevance of the assessments in measuring what they intend to measure. Tests undergo extensive validation processes to establish their validity, which involves gathering empirical evidence to support the interpretation and use of test scores.

Various types of validity, including content validity, criterion validity, and construct validity, are assessed to ensure that the tests accurately capture the intended constructs or traits. Ongoing research and validation studies are then conducted to continuously refine and improve the psychometric properties of the assessments, maintaining their scientific integrity and relevance in evolving work environments. By upholding high standards of validity, psychometric tests provide decision-makers with reliable and actionable insights into candidates’ potential performance and fit for specific roles.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can implement assessment software, cognitive ability tests or soft skills throughout your recruitment process please visit our contact us page and get in touch.


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