What are psychometric assessments?

Psychometric assessments are used in two ways by employers: firstly, as part of their recruitment and selection processes, and secondly, they are used internally by organisations to help understand the development requirements and potential of their employees.

There are three categories of psychometric testing which are explained below. Sova uses one or more, or sometimes a blend of these assessments, based on the characteristics required for a role:

  • Tests of ability or aptitude are designed to assess a candidate’s ability or potential to perform a specific task or certain kind of job. They measure whether you have a specific skill and provide an indication of your potential to develop or learn those skills.
  • Tests of preference are used to explore a candidate’s personality, values, interests and motivations within the context of a specific role, team and organisation. These assessments will usually ask you to make a choice or rank order a series of statements.
  • Tests of judgement assess how candidates would manage a typical situation that might arise in the role for which you are applying. These assessments use a mix of text, video and imagery and you will be asked to select a response from several options.

History of psychometric assessment

Psychometric assessments are not new. Psychologists started to design them as far back as the 1800s. This method of assessment developed significantly during the First World War when psychometric testing was identified by the British Army as a more sophisticated process for selecting new recruits. Since then, the development and use of psychometric assessments in public and private sector organisations has continued to increase.

Early assessments were completed using pen and paper under the supervision of the employer. Thanks to the technological advancements of the 21st century, candidates can now complete assessments online, using a computer, laptop or mobile phone at a time and place to suit them.


Why do employers use psychometric assessment?

Psychometric assessment is a fair and objective way for organisations and recruiters to efficiently measure potential, and the likelihood that someone will become a high performer in a role. Psychometric testing is proven to be accurate in predicting on-the-job performance so it’s a fast, accurate and reliable way to measure for attributes that are important to a specific role.

When used well, psychometric testing is a much fairer and more effective way to identify fit for a role compared to reviewing a CV. Psychometric assessment can also help candidates to find their way into the ‘right’ role - a role in which you are most likely to be successful and enjoy the work.