Common Types of Assessment

In general, psychometric assessments can be broken into 6 broad categories:

  • Personality
  • Ability - these may be general or more specific including Abstract, Verbal and Numerical reasoning tests.
  • Aptitude - tend to be job related and often carry names pertaining to a specific aptitude eg; Management Aptitude,
  • Motivation / Values questionnaires
  • Interest / Beliefs Inventories
  • Integrity Tests

The most commonly used in selection settings are Personality, Ability, Aptitude and Motivation / Values scales, as these are deemed the most useful when trying to predict someone's future level of performance in a particular role or to gauge their likely level of "fit" with the company.

Integrity tests are a relatively recent development that may be used when the situation is deemed to warrant it. Possible examples include: positions with police or intelligence agencies or work requiring a high degree of responsibility. Interest inventories are frequently utilised in Vocational Counselling, Selection and for Employee Development purposes.

When can I expect to be assessed?

Due to the high cost of conducting comprehensive psychometric tests, the time involved in taking them and the expertise needed to conduct, score and interpret these tests, psychometric testing is rarely conducted until well into the selection process although the timing of psychometric testing varies from organisation to organisation.

  • For graduate recruitment - this may not be until the shortlist stage, or at the second or third round interview stage. In rare circumstances, group testing may be utilised at an earlier stage to help identify candidates for interview.
  • For general recruitment – assessment may or may not be implemented depending on the type and level of the position. Aptitude and personality testing are typically conducted on short listed candidates. When offered an interview, many employers will advise you if psychometric testing will be conducted.

How will I be assessed?

Psychometric assessment may be "paper and pencil", via computer at the company offices, or follow the increasing trend and be offered "online" through the web.

The main methods are:

  • Group Testing: to simultaneously screen large numbers of candidates
  • Individual Assessment: more commonly conducted for Management, Executive or "confidential" high status recruitment, although it may be used in graduate selection.
  • Assessment Centres (a methodology not a place): commonly utilised for Graduate Recruitment and employee promotion purposes.

Can psychometric tests be faked?

For some roles the profile of the "perfect applicant" may appear to be transparent. Test makers are aware that self-report inventories are particularly prone to applicants making false or misleading responses. You should note that many psychometric tests contain "faking scales" or "inconsistency scales" to detect such misrepresentations. Applicants obtaining elevated/depressed scores on these scales may not be considered further for the role, therefore it is advisable that you try to answer honestly to maximise your chances of a good fit between you and the position on offer.