Frequently Asked Questions About Psychometrics

15th May 2023

Psychometrics focuses on measuring and assessing specific qualities, traits, behaviours, and skills demonstrated by an individual or group. Using standardised conditions, psychometrics can provide you with valuable information about yourself or candidates applying for a role.

Here at eras ltd, we are specialists in the field of psychometric products and consultancy. Our experience can help you, so we have compiled the frequently asked questions to answer any questions you may have.

A masculine figure holds their hand out with question marks hovering over their palm.

What psychometric assessments are and their origin

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test assesses one or more aspects of human behaviour using standard conditions. This could include ability or personality. Often, a psychometric assessment comes in a multiple-choice format, and while they can be completed through a hard copy ‘pencil and paper’ style, they are often completed online.

The term ‘test’ is often used to refer to psychometric assessments. However, this doesn’t fit personality profiling comfortably. It implies that there are right and wrong answers. There are no absolute rights or wrongs about personality. They can identify desirable traits in candidates and create a clearer alignment between the job seeker and the role.

When did psychometric tests begin?

The history of psychometric testing dates back to the late 1880s. It combined psychophysics and mathematical approaches to measuring characteristics, skills, and aptitude. First originating in Cambridge, it took a great deal of time for people to buy into the idea of psychometrics. Now, it is firmly established as a popular practice.

Psychometrics as a science has changed since its first inception, with an extensive range of products available to give you insight into candidates and your team. Psychometric tools can deliver comprehensive insights into behavioural preferences, team styles, and leadership styles.

How psychometric tests work

What are the most important factors to look for in a psychometric profile?

Psychometric instruments can vary, depending on the assessment format and science behind it. A good psychometric instrument will feature two important properties: reliability and validity.

Reliability is essential, as you want to ensure that the test is consistent and accurate in its measurements. This means that the accuracy should be high to minimise errors. The order of the questions, the time taking the test, and repeating the test should not have a marked impact on the results.

Validity is even more important. Psychometric profiling can be applied in a number of ways, so it is important to ensure that the test or questionnaire is used in a relevant and appropriate way. For example, when using psychometric assessments in the recruitment process, the role you are filling needs to have been carefully analysed to create alignment between the traits and skills a candidate is displaying and the job.

What does a psychometric assessment measure?

One of the great advantages of psychometrics is that they can measure almost every aspect of behaviour. The standard conditions mean that you can assign a score to it, often in the form of a numerical value or a category.

Psychometrics measure different qualities, but often we’ll see a focus on personality or behaviour preferences. This information can then be used to identify candidates who may thrive in high-pressure environments such as sales, or those who can provide support and encouragement in leadership roles. It can also provide insight into their areas of strength and any untapped potential you could encourage.

Of the different types of assessments, one that could be used is an aptitude test. Also referred to as an ability test, they typically take place in more rigid conditions with strict timings. They can highlight a person’s skills or natural abilities.

There are a number of skills psychometrics can highlight, which include:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Numerical reasoning abilities
  • Verbal reasoning competence
  • Logical reasoning skills
  • Abstract reasoning aptitude
  • Diagrammatic reasoning abilities
  • Mechanical reasoning skilfulness
  • Spatial reasoning expertise
  • Error checking efficiency

What types of psychometric tests are there?

The extensive range of psychometric tools means that there are a variety of assessments available. Here at eras ltd, we offer several different types of assessments: aptitude tests, personality questionnaires, culture and engagement surveys and 360-degree assessments.

Aptitude Tests

These tests can increase the understanding of the cognitive abilities of candidates. They can be used to focus on specific skills, such as those required by managers, clerical and administrative workers, or operatives. Aptitude tests can increase the likelihood of selecting the ideal candidate for a role.

Personality questionnaires

The Quest Profiler® is one of the fastest-growing personality questionnaires in the UK. This comprehensive personality assessment helps to standardise the process and deliver both individual and team reports. Using this assessment can provide you with extremely valuable information on a candidate’s personality and the types of roles or environments they may thrive in.

Culture and engagement surveys

These allow you to survey your employees and find out how they perceive your entire organisation. Specific questions can be asked, as well as the chance to benchmark against other organisations in key values areas. Culture and engagement surveys help you understand not individuals but a whole organisation.

360 assessment tools

If you want an in-depth assessment to guide training and development, and gain insight into an individual and their skills, a 360-degree assessment tool can help. threesixty° is fully customisable, with a sophisticated development narrative to not only identify potential barriers to success but also solutions.

Using psychometric tests in businesses

Why do employers use psychometric assessments?

Employers may use psychometric assessments to remove unconscious bias throughout the recruitment process. By standardising the process, you can gain insight into a candidate with data as the result. This means that you are more likely to make decisions based on a person’s skills, talents, or aptitudes, rather than the image you perceive of them.

Another huge advantage of psychometrics is that you can then predict the success of a candidate. The hiring process is costly, both in time and money, and hiring the wrong candidate can lead to a loss of trust from your customers. Psychometric assessments can help you predict whether your work environment is right for the chosen candidate. Read more about how psychometric tests for recruiters help you find the ideal candidate.

It can be especially useful in training and development, as it can highlight any strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus your training efforts in the right direction.

Why do employers use psychometric assessments?

Psychometric tools can be used in an extensive range of industries. In fact, it could help every industry with recruitment or training and development. These tools are used by some of the biggest global brands, as Yale University tells us:

These are just a few of the companies that use psychometric testing as part of their selection process: Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Citigroup, ExxonMobil, JP Morgan, KraftHeinz, Microsoft, P&G, and Tesla.

Taking a psychometric assessment

How do people prepare for a psychometric test?

The name ‘psychometric test’ adds a level of pressure, even though there are sometimes no right and wrong answers (such as with personality questionnaires).

While you can’t necessarily plan how you will answer, as you don’t know the contents of the test, you can prepare for a test in the following ways:

  1. Check the type of test you will be taking. With personality questionnaires, aptitude tests, and 360 assessments available, the types of questions you get will differ. If you know the type, you know what questions to expect.
  2. Practice questions and tests can help. Some assessments, such as those conducted by eras ltd, contain practice questions at the beginning. This gives you the chance to get used to the format before the actual test begins. This will help you to relax and feel more comfortable with it.
  3. If you can’t answer a question, move on to the next. (Aptitude tests only) Everyone gets stuck sometimes. If you find yourself facing a question you’re struggling to answer, or spending longer on it than you wanted, move on to the next. You can always come back to it at the end when you have more time to dedicate to that question.
  4. Remember that the recruitment process is more than just this test. Psychometric assessments and aptitude tests are excellent tools, but they are just one part of the recruitment process. A good hiring process will incorporate your career collateral, interviews, and more.

Should you use practise psychometric assessments?

A good psychometric assessment usually gives you the opportunity to practise beforehand. This could be in the form of practice questions at the beginning to help you settle into the routine, or offering a complete practice test ahead of time.

Practising will help you get used to the format and know what to expect ahead of time. This can settle any nerves that you may have and familiarise you with the questions and tasks you’ll be asked to complete.

Can you cheat on a psychometric test?

Given the fact that most psychometric assessments either focus on or incorporate some aspect of personality questionnaires, there isn’t a set correct response in mind. Instead, they highlight your priorities, showing your instinctive and honest replies to questions.

There are no obvious ‘hacks’ or ‘cheats’ when it comes to psychometrics. They are designed to show how you would act or feel in a situation, and so even if you managed to hack the system, you’d only be making things worse for yourself further down the line. It is in everyone’s interest to be honest, as this ensures a good match between you and the desired role you are applying for.

Get your psychometric questions answered

Psychometrics covers a broad range of tests, questionnaires, and assessments. It can be extremely complex, which is why it is best to consult specialists with any questions that you may have.

Here at eras ltd, our experience as psychometric specialists and consultants can help you get the answers you are looking for. If your questions haven’t been answered above, you can call +44 (0)1379 652171 or email to speak to one of our team.

Whether you are trying to decide which tool is right for your business or you want to know what to expect when undertaking a psychometric assessment, we can help.