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Psychometric Testing: 1000 Ways to Assess Your Personality, Creativity, Intelligence and Lateral Thinking

There are many ways of looking at human intelligence and some are more contraversial than others. One of the most rigourous and validated methodologies is psychometrics.

Here is a great book of psychometrically valid tests covering ability, aptitude and personality.

There are 40 brand new psychometric tests and 2 intelligence tests.


The psychometric tests cover such subjects as risk-taking, leadership, positivity, aggression, tact, ambition, tolerance and imagination. The intelligence tests use word and number puzzles, maths and diagrams to test your spatial, verbal and numerical and logical ability to the limit. There are nearly 1,000 individual questions. Scores and answers to all the tests are included.

Order this book from Amazon.co.uk

Psychometric tests and the whole issue of psychometric testing is an interesting one.

ASE offer a glossary of psychometric terms which is a helpful start.

The bad psychometric experience

After weeks spent rehearsing his answers to every possible question in front of the bathroom mirror the interview day has finally arrived. With clean hands and a lovely new tie Charlie arrives at the company offices in plenty of time. Charlie is a smart, well prepared and confident sort of guy. He walks in and introduces himself .

Then it all starts to go wrong. Mrs. Calluback, the personnel officer ushers him into a small room on his own and, without even a cup of coffee, she tells him that he will have to take some standard psychometric tests which the company gives to all candidates.

This throws Charlie off balance. He hadn’t been told about a test. What sort of test will it be? Bad memories of school exams in draughty sports halls come flooding back. Suddenly, the confidence is draining away. Charlie is not a happy man.

Obviously, Charlie doesn’t complain and completes the tests as best he can. Once he has finished, Mrs. Calluback mentions that she will be in touch in week or two and before Charlie knows it, he finds himself back on the street without really understanding what has just happened.

Four weeks later a standard letter comes through telling him that the firm are not going to take his application further. Charlie is a bit upset.

It is easy to understand why Charlie feels frustrated, upset and angry. He assumes he didn’t get the job because of his answers to the tests. He didn’t know what the tests were looking for and never understood what it was that he was really supposed to do. He didn’t get a chance to talk about himself, his skills and opinions; he received no results from the psychometric tests and so he doesn’t know how he scored. In fact, Charlie has every right to feel unfairly misrepresented by the tests and has cause to be suspicious of them in the future.

His mistrust and fear come from not knowing anything about the process he had just been put through. The misuse of psychometric assessment, such as described above, and misunderstandings about what it involves are major causes of confusion and unhappiness. However, the good news is that once the misunderstandings are cleared-up, many of the myths about psychometric assessment, and much of the concern surrounding its use, can be dispelled.

One fundamental principle, which when understood can allay Charlie’s fears, is that the test results must be used only as part of the selection process. Test results must not be taken in isolation. They should always be considered an additional source of information rather than as the sole criterion upon which a decision is made.

Mrs. Calluback should have explained that Charlie’s results would be looked at, together with his CV, references and the work samples he supplied. It was the combination of these that she used to come to a decision.

Before she even placed the advert, she spent a lot of time pulling together a detailed definition of what the tests were assessing and how that related to the skills needed for the job in question. An analysis of the job prior to the recruitment process should have revealed what skills are needed and what personality characteristics would be beneficial. Tests should not be given just for the sake of “giving a test”.

Recruitment is not the only use for psychometric assessments, although it is the most common and almost certainly where a majority of people first come into contact with assessment. Other frequent uses are for:

Although some use has been made of psychometric assessment for redundancy purposes, this is not usually appropriate. Most responsible test publishers would be very reluctant to sanction test use for redundancy decisions.

To be objective, the results of a psychometric assessment should be not influenced by the person administering the test, nor by the sex or race of the person taking it, but only by the candidates abilities and attributes. In order to facilitate this, assessments are given under controlled conditions - there is a standard way to administer and score a test. Interpretation of the score also follows clearly set out guidelines. Failure to follow these procedures may have an impact on the test scores, which may invalidate the results.

Reliability is the precision with which the assessment measures something. No measuring tool can ever be 100% accurate so it is important to know the extent of any error being made. Psychometric tests must specify the likely amount of error and this must be within acceptable statistical limits - this information should be provided by the test publisher in the assessment manual.

Those who are not suitably trained should not conduct testing sessions, score and interpret tests or provide feed-back to the candidates. If you are asked to take psychometric assessments, and feel that they are not being properly conducted, then ask about the person conducting the test sessions. Are they are suitably qualified? Who trained them? Prior to taking any assessment you should receive notice that you will be required to take assessments, told which ones they are and have a brief explanation concerning what they are measuring. Sample questions are usually provided in order to make sure that candidates know what is expected of them.

Feedback on the assessments should always be given to make sure that any questions about the tests or concerns about what the information will be used for, can be cleared up. If you are not offered feedback, and would like it, then ask whoever gave you the tests to provide it. Candidates, whether successful or unsuccessful should be told what will be done with their results.

Who benefits from using psychometrics?

Psychometric assessment benefits both those giving them and those taking them. By allowing meaningful comparison between candidates on relevant competencies employers can make sure that different backgrounds or experience do not overly effect the selection process. This is also a reassurance for candidates who may be concerned about the possibilities of unfair discrimination. The information that assessments provide is quantifiable and you can be sure that when comparing candidates you are comparing like with like. Due to the nature of assessments it is possible to scrutinise them for bias - it is much easier to expose a bad test than it is to expose a bad interviewer.

Some aspects of people are hard to measure or judge from interviews or from CVs, such as abstract reasoning or personality - psychometrics allows these to be measured. Personality is the most important element within a person and one of the hardest to judge - at an interview people will generally put forward the image that they want you to see. By using well-established personality measures, such as the 16PF5 employers gain an extra insight into an individual. These can also provide pertinent issues for conversation in subsequent interviews that are relevant to the specific candidate, rather than being general standard questions.

Psychometric assessments have practical benefits for any selection process. The structures they impose, and the need to be clear about the abilities required for a position, make sure that the roles for each appointment and the need for the appointment within the organisation are always clear.

Employing, or even promoting, the wrong person into a position that they are incapable of performing can be expensive for a company and demoralising and dispiriting for the individual concerned. It is often forgotten that recruitment is a two-way operation, the job and the person have to match. If they don’t, then no one gains anything from what should be a mutually beneficial process. In order to make the right choice you need as much information about people as possible - psychometric assessment provides extra, important information in a quantifiable and meaningful form that supplements other information.



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