Psychometric Pre-Employment Assessment Tests – 2024 Guide For Recruiters

Having the right talent matched to the right position is one of the top 3 priorities of the CEO role. It is just as important as ensuring the growing and satisfied customer base and having a sound financial position to continue developing the business. 

Simply put, no CEO can afford hiring employees who will not be a good fit for the company – making and hence recruitment is such an important function of any business, large or small.

As a talent acquisition expert, hiring manager or HR professional, you play a pivotal role in recruiting the right talent who possess the skills of the future or potential to develop them. This is where pre-employment psychometric tests come in to help select and recruit the best fit talent for your organisation. The psychometric recruitment tests help make more informed hiring decisions, resulting in improved job performance, better employee retention rates, time and cost savings, and ultimately satisfying your line managers. 

This article on pre-employment, recruitment psychometric tests, highlights their benefits, optimal use, and how to successfully integrate pre-employment assessments into your recruitment process.


  1. What is a pre-employment psychometric test? 
  2. Why should organisations use psychometric tests for recruitment?
  3. What are the most common types of psychometric tests used in recruitment?
  4. How are psychometric tests used in hiring? 
  5. I am a recruiter – what are the steps to plan a successful recruitment campaign?
  6. What are the pros and cons of using psychometric tests in recruitment
  7. Why use Assess Candidates psychometric tests to hire?
  8. Our Experience – Case Studies
  9. Industries and Roles That Use Psychometric Tests 
  10. How Psychometric Tests Help to Level the Playing Field for Candidates of All Backgrounds
  11. Understanding Passing Percentiles and Thresholds in Psychometric Testing

1. What is a pre-employment psychometric test?

A recruitment pre-employment psychometric test, is a standardised assessment tool that allows employers to assess and appraise the potential, talent, and ability levels of candidates during the recruitment process, as well as their capacity for success in the workplace. 

Psychometric tests measure a candidate’s:

  • cognitive ability
  • competencies
  • personality
  • work behaviours

among other factors. 

Psychometric tests have been used for over 100 years in the candidate selection process and they have solid, proven scientific support. 

As a recruiter or hiring manager, psychometric tests provide a valuable means of evaluating a candidate’s suitability for the role in question. By using a personality test and testing candidates’ problem-solving skills, ability to handle challenges they will face in the role, you can make more informed decisions about which candidates are best fit for the job.

What is a Pre-Employment Psychometric Test

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2. Why should your organisation use psychometric tests for recruitment?

In today’s highly competitive job market, it’s more important than ever for organisations to attract and retain top talent. 

Psychometric tests provide comprehensive evaluation of a candidate’s mental capabilities and behavioural traits. These assessments are a valuable resource for employers looking to make data-driven, legally defensible, and effective hiring decisions. By measuring factors such as personality, cognitive abilities, and work style, psychometric tests provide objective data that can help determine a candidate’s suitability for a specific job role and the organisation’s culture. 

These tests are relevant for all job levels, from entry-level to senior positions. Ultimately, psychometric tests provide a reliable and scientifically validated method of assessing candidates, leading to more successful hires and a stronger workforce.

Aptitude tests are a type of psychometric test that assess a candidate’s skills and abilities in specific areas such as numerical, verbal, or logical reasoning. They are often used to determine a candidate’s suitability for a certain role, particularly for roles that require technical or analytical skills, such as IT, finance, or engineering. By using psychometric tests, the risk of hiring someone who lacks the technical skills required for the job is reduced, leading to better overall job performance and productivity. 

In fact, research has shown that nearly all large businesses and 70% of SMEs in Europe, India, and Australia use aptitude tests, indicating a significant rise in the use of these tests over the past 8 years.

Top reasons to consider when using psychometric tests during your recruitment process:

  1. Objective insights: Psychometric assessments provide objective insights into candidates’ skills, personality traits, cognitive abilities, and other characteristics that may be relevant to job performance. 
  1. Improved quality of hire: By using psychometric assessments, you can identify candidates who are more likely to succeed in the job, reducing the risk of poor hires.
  1. Increased diversity: Psychometric assessments can help reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment process and identify candidates with diverse skills, backgrounds, and perspectives, increasing diversity and inclusion in your workforce.
  1. Cost-effective: Psychometric assessments are an affordable way to evaluate candidates, compared to other recruitment methods, such as face-to-face interviews or assessments centres.
  1. Legal compliance: Psychometric assessments are designed to be fair, reliable, and valid, ensuring that you comply with legal and ethical standards in the recruitment process.
  1. Positive candidate experience: Psychometric assessments are often interactive, engaging, and provide a fair and transparent evaluation of their abilities. This can help to build your employer brand and enhance your reputation in the job market.

It is also important to consider how psychometric tests can be applied in different types of recruitment efforts. Understanding which form of recruitment your organisation is undertaking can help you determine how psychometric tests can best be utilised in the hiring process.

Broadly speaking, we may divide recruitment efforts into the following 4 forms:

High Volume Recruitment A large number of applications need to be reviewed
Medium Volume RecruitmentA moderate number of applications need to be reviewed
Low Volume Recruitment A small number of applications will be reviewed, such as for senior hires
Rolling RecruitmentA continuous hiring process where an organisation accepts job applications whilst leaving the role/job advert open.
  • High volume recruitment –  where a large number of applications need to be reviewed, using psychometrically robust tests can significantly reduce the candidate pool while ensuring a legally defensible and efficient measure.
  • Medium volume recruitment – where there is a moderate number of applications, the focus shifts to identifying skills, particularly for highly skilled or managerial positions. Psychometric testing can be personalised to sift through applicants in a way that suits the recruiter’s needs.
  • Low volume recruitment – such as for senior hires, psychometric tests allow employers to gain insights into fundamental ability in a cost-effective way before advancing candidates to more expensive measures such as interviews.
  • Rolling recruitment – employers can use psychometric tests to review candidates as they arrive on a rolling basis. 

Regardless of the type of recruitment, pre-employment psychometric tests can help to reduce time-to-hire and accurately assess candidates.

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3. What are the most common types of psychometric tests used in recruitment?

When it comes to assessing candidates, recruiters have a range of psychometric tests at their disposal to determine if a candidate has the right skill sets for the role. Here are the most common types of psychometric tests used in recruitment:

  • Behavioural Tests: These tests assess a candidate’s competencies, values, and motivations. They can be used to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for a particular role or company culture. Situational Judgement tests are a common example of behavioural tests.
  • Personality Test : Personality tests are used to evaluate how a candidate’s personality traits will align with the team, culture and work environment of the company. These tests aid employers in determining how their individual traits and behaviours may impact their role and relationships with co-workers.
  • Video interviews: Allow employers to see the candidate’s demeanour, body language, and communication skills, which may not be apparent in a phone interview. They also give the employer a chance to evaluate the candidate’s familiarity and ease with technology, which is becoming an increasingly important aspect of modern-day work.
  • Coding Tests: Coding tests evaluate a candidate’s programming skills and abilities in using various coding languages and technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or Python. Coding tests determine the candidate’s proficiency and knowledge of coding principles and their ability to apply them to real-world scenarios. These tests also help companies filter out candidates who lack the necessary coding abilities and knowledge for the position.
  • Language proficiency tests: Designed to evaluate an individual’s ability to communicate in a particular language, such as English, French, or Spanish. These tests assess a candidate’s reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and determine their proficiency level in the language.Employers use language proficiency tests to determine if the candidate has the necessary language skills to perform the duties of the job.
  • Skills Assessment Tests: Employers use skills assessment tests to determine if the candidate has the necessary skills to perform the job duties effectively. These tests also help employers evaluate the candidate’s potential for development and growth within the organisation.
  • Assessment Centres: Assessment centres evaluate a candidate’s abilities and potential through various exercises such as group activities, role-plays, and presentations. They are particularly useful for identifying candidates with potential for leadership roles.
  • Game-Based Assessments: These assessments use interactive tasks and game-like elements to evaluate a candidate’s cognitive abilities and personality traits. They offer a more engaging and immersive experience compared to traditional question-based assessments.

To Assess Candidates effectively, it’s important to tailor the selection of tests to your organisation’s needs. Our team of organisational psychologists and consultants can work with you to develop a bespoke candidate assessment process that aligns with your recruitment goals and objectives.

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4. How are psychometric tests used in hiring?

Psychometric tests are often used alongside other selection methods, such as video or face-to-face interviews, assessment centres and references, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s abilities and suitability for a role. This helps recruiters make more informed hiring decisions and reduces the risk of costly hiring mistakes. The tests can also provide valuable insights into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, which can be used during the interview process and for ongoing development and training once a candidate is hired.

Did you know : 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK use psychometric testing and over 75% of Fortune 500 companies in the United States.

Aptitude tests are commonly used to filter out unsuitable candidates early in the process, and further psychometric testing can be used to evaluate a candidate’s personality traits, values, and motivations. Different types of jobs may require different types of psychometric tests, such as numerical reasoning tests for roles that require analytical skills and behavioural tests for roles that require interpersonal skills and teamwork.

Here is an example of a typical recruitment process:

  • Part 1 : Resume, Cover Letter and/or Application form
  • Part 2: Online Psychometric Tests and Assessments. For example : ability tests, behavioural tests, game-based assessments and/or situational judgement tests.
  • Part 3: Telephone or Video Interviews
  • Part 4: Assessment Centres, Face-to-face-interview, and possible re-testing of online tests taken at stage 2. 
Candidate Screening Process

The goal of psychometric testing is to efficiently screen out unsuitable candidates, without the need for time-consuming one-to-one interviews and focus recruiters’ attention on candidates who are more likely to be a good fit for the role.

The table below presents a summary of an assessment centre and the different types of psychometric recruitment tests, and their potential applications:

Test TypeDescriptionPotential Roles
Aptitude Assess cognitive abilities such as numeracy, literacy and spatial awarenessRoles that require strong analytical and problem-solving skills
Behavioural Assess personality traits, values, and motivationsRoles that require strong interpersonal skills and teamwork
Assessment CentresEvaluate a candidate’s abilities and potential through various exercises such as group activities, role-plays, and presentationsRoles with potential for leadership positions
Game-Based AssessmentsUse interactive tasks and game-like elements to evaluate a candidate’s cognitive abilities and personality traitsRoles that require creativity and adaptability

Note that this table is just an example, and recruiters should consider the specific needs of their company and roles when deciding which types of tests to use.

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5. I am a recruiter – what are the steps to plan a successful recruitment campaign?

This question is a great starting place for any recruiter or HR professional who is looking to plan or design a recruitment campaign for their team or department. In the following steps we explain each key decision point you will need to carefully consider to prepare a sound recruitment strategy plan.

1. Define the size of your recruitment campaign.  

Determining the size of your recruitment campaign can be difficult, however there are some easy tricks you can follow. Here are two important factors to consider: 

  1. Recruitment Campaigns
    • Look at historic recruitment campaign statistics to gauge the potential interest you may face.
    • If your company or wider industry has experienced any structural changes – benchmark the size of recruitment campaigns of your closest competitors with similar job specifications. (you can look these up on Linkedin or other job boards).
  1. Job Post Openings
    • Determine how many roles you have budgeted for
    • Consider whether you are recruiting for one specific position or multiple role with different job descriptions, for example a financial analyst, or are you filling various positions ranging from technical, finance and management positions

Things to keep in mind:

  • If you recruit for repeated positions with the same job requirements you will apply the same recruitment process steps for this position
  • If you are recruiting for two different roles it is possible candidates in each group will follow slightly different steps of the recruitment process

2. Decide who in your organisation will be involved in the decision making process. 

Each organisation, and sometimes even individual departments within an organisation will have their own approach to involving recruiting teams in the selection process of their future co-workers. 

  • To what extent will the evaluation process sit in the hands of the teams to which the candidates are being recruited for?
  • Who specifically (what type of senior positions) will need to be invited into the process? 
  • What type of output will decision makers receive to make their decision? 
  • Will you invite your candidates to complete a Video Interview tool, which will eliminate the need for scheduling and physical organisation of spaces, as well as having standard analysis output for each candidate? Or will you prefer to conduct interviews in person?

It is best practice for recruiters and HR specialists to organise the recruitment process in a way that minimises any distractions to the daily running of the business, as well as ensuring each candidate has an equal and fair chance for evaluation. What does this mean for your company?

3. Define a list of key skills required from an ideal candidate for your job opening

Understanding what is needed from a potential employee is crucial to achieving the right result. How do I prepare a job specification and candidate profile? 

This depends on whether you are filling a longstanding position or a new role in the company or industry. If it is a well-established position, such as a financial analyst, you can find the requirements online or on job boards of your competitors. However if it is a new role, such as a creative director,  you will need to work closely with the sponsor of the recruitment campaign to understand their objectives and the expectations and challenges of the position. 

For example. If you’re looking for a junior data scientist with experience in the pharmaceutical industry, any candidate with experience in this field would be a bonus. However, attention to detail and introverted personality traits may be more important for success in a role that requires meticulous analysis of product and sales in a highly sensitive and regulated environment. 

Would you prefer to employ someone without experience in this field but with the right skills and personality profile? Or someone with experience but without the necessary skills and personality traits?  The former may require additional training but will make a valuable and long term contribution to the company, while the latter may not require training but may lack the motivation and determination to perform the job’s required tasks, leading to high turnover and costs of the company. 

4. Consult the list of key skills against the variety of assessment tools

Once you have built a candidate profile, match each element against an assessment tool. 

(Link the assessments sections here). 

At Assess Candidates we provide personalised service in preparing the assessment matrix. We will help you break down key candidate requirements and match these against a variety of assessments so that you can ensure your recruitment approach is sufficient and reliable. We will explain major differences and benefits and risks of choosing between alternative options. 

Candidate Screening Process Graph

5. Define your company’s expectations for the type of candidate experience you want to promote with your recruitment process

There are many different methods and techniques you can use to interact with your candidates during the recruitment process, which includes the type of communication (invitations, instructions, feedback messages) and type of assessments (standard or interactive, live or pre-recorded, etc.). Each decision will highlight the motivations and culture of your company. 

Recruitment campaigns have become a new marketing and brand building tool.

This is an opportunity to define the brand experience you want to convey to potential employees. For Example if your company works with new technologies and wants to attract tech-savvy Gen Z candidates, your messaging should reflect that. Alternatively, if your company works with traditional clients, like in the insurance industry, trust, simplicity and familiarity may be the most important branding message.

Consider how automated you want your recruitment process to be. Nowadays, job matching tools can analyse CVs to help you structure a decision-making algorithm that selects the best candidates. Equally, video interviews can be conducted in an automated manner, but if your company values physical interaction among coworkers, your teams may want to personally screen each candidate at this stage.

As your candidates pass a series of assessment tests, such as aptitude reasoning tests, are you looking to eliminate candidates based on each of the series of tests, or would you prefer to analyse the aggregate outputs? 

6. Finalise the financial forecasts

Prepare the budget for the recruitment transformation or new assessment tools but remember to estimate not only future spending but also expected savings.

The decision makers and recruitment campaign sponsors will expect you to provide a sound financial analysis for any proposal. This includes your plans to change your company’s recruitment strategy or selection of assessment tools. What do you need to consider to prepare an effective recruitment budget?

  1. Total cost of the new recruitment assessments

What forms part of the total cost?

  • If not completed internally – any consulting fees paid to external parties for the formulation recruitment strategy
  • Cost of new assessments – this will depend on the number of tools, their nature and complexity, as well as the expected number of candidates you wish to screen
  • Licencing fee – all providers will charge you a separate fee to provide 24/7 customer support on the hiring assessment platform. 
  1. Total of benefits and savings 

The nature of realised saving opportunities and benefits are harder to estimate – there are many dynamic factors in making your recruitment campaign successful. However, it is imperative that you try to quantify:

  • How much money can be saved by a more efficient process of matching the right talent to the right role? 

These include higher staff productivity and stronger market position stemming from effective recruitment, as well as fewer unsuccessful staffing choices (fewer employees leaving their jobs before being able to generate value for the business). Our research at Assess Candidates estimates that the cost of new assessments is usually paid back within the first year of implementation.

  • Estimate the internal savings that will be generated with the outsourcing of the recruitment process to a third party.

Assessing the number of individuals involved in a recruitment campaign and the extent to which their time was diverted away from their main responsibilities is an important step in evaluating the efficiency of the internal recruitment efforts. Here are some potential considerations to keep in mind:

  • Definition of job responsibility
  • Assessment strategy
  • Candidate tracking
  • Scheduling of interviews
  • Evaluation and analysis of candidate’s performance

Many companies – especially small and medium sized enterprises struggle to perform successful recruitment campaigns simply because they lack the size and budgets to organise it internally. The same companies are very successful and effective in what they do best – their respective business offerings in their markets. Why not focus on what generates most value and not leave the recruitment job to the experts?

 At Assess Candidates we want to support organisations of all sizes.

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6. What are the pros and cons of using Psychometric tests in Recruitment

Here are some pros of why psychometric tests should be used during the hiring process

  • Psychometric assessments provide an objective and standardised evaluation of a candidate’s abilities, personality traits, and cognitive skills, reducing biases in the selection process.
  • Psychometric tests are time-efficient and can quickly screen out unsuitable candidates, saving recruiters time and resources, especially in high-volume recruitment.
  • Psychometric tests have high predictive validity, reliably indicating a candidate’s potential job performance and identifying those with the highest potential for success in a particular role.
  • Psychometric testing can help reduce turnover rates and minimise the time and resources spent on hiring and training new employees by identifying candidates who are the best fit for the job.
  • Psychometric testing can help identify the most promising candidates before inviting them for an interview, reducing the number of interviews needed and saving time.

Despite the numerous benefits of using psychometric testing in recruitment, there are some drawbacks to consider. Here are three potential disadvantages and solutions:

  • Not enough by themselves – Psychometric tests measure specific abilities or traits, but may not capture a candidate’s full potential or experience, which can be limiting in the selection process.

Solution : Combine assessments with other selection methods such as interviews or references to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s skills and experience.

  • Cheating -With an increase use of technology in this space, there are risks of some candidates retrieving to cheating techniques

Solution :  Check what anti-cheating software is integrated into the solution offered by your provider.  You can also utilise technology such as video interviews with AI facial recognition and live recording, which makes cheating impossible. Or re-test randomised candidates at a later stage.

  • Test Anxiety –  Can negatively impact a candidate’s performance on psychometric tests. Anxiety can lead to decreased focus, cognitive overload, and mental fatigue, which can all impact a candidate’s ability to perform well on the test.

Solution : Discuss the practice resources providers can offer to alleviate test anxiety. Have a user-friendly interface that candidates can easily navigate. Ensure the technology infrastructure is reliable and functions smoothly to avoid candidates experiencing technical difficulties, which can add unnecessary stress.

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7. Why use Assess Candidates psychometric tests to hire?

At Assess Candidates we provide a range of psychometric assessments to suit all organisation’s needs.

Below is an example of our reporting tool on Assess Candidates, that you as a hiring manager or talent acquisition expert will see when reviewing candidate performance.

Psychometric pre-employment tests dashboard for recruiters

Here are the top four reasons to consider using Assess Candidates’ Psychometric tests for your hiring process:

  1. Designed by Experts: Our psychometric assessments are developed by chartered scientists, psychologists and psychometricians, which have undergone rigorous testing and validation to select top talent in multiple organisations.
  1. Hiring Assessment Platform Compatibility: Assess Candidates’ easy-to-use hiring assessment platform allows employers to view candidate performance and make hiring decisions confidently with flexible criteria. Employers can easily shortlist candidates based on how well they performed in each psychometric test.
  1. Candidate Engagement: Assess Candidates’ engaging candidate experience ensures that the tests are user-friendly and accessible from any device. The psychometric assessments will be delivered on a fully branded portal for a seamless experience.
  1. Easy Accessibility: support for those with visual disabilities including; additional time, a zoom feature, avoiding the use of certain colours and images, in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to allow for the use of screen readers.

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8. Case studies / Our Experience

Increasing talent retention for an FMCG Company with Assess Candidates Psychometric Assessments:

A leading FMCG company approached us for a proposal for a transformation of their recruitment process among the challenges in retaining top talent and high employee turnover. We worked together with client’s stakeholders to identify the inefficiencies in the process, reasons for short staff tenure and problems with job matching. 

With the new recruitment strategy, as well as Assess Candidates hiring assessment platform, our client was able to:

  1. Attract a much larger number of candidates into the process. With Assess Candidates product the client was able to screen 4.6 more candidates at the same price
  1. Screen their candidates on their fit for the company’s culture and values – meaning that candidates invited to last round of interviews are more likely to resonate with company’s mission, and therefore be motivated to stay with the company for longer time
  1. Retain the best talent against their competitors by running a modern tech-savvy and user-friendly platform

When we performed a post campaign impact analysis with the client we found that the use of psychometric assessments saved the company money in terms of recruitment costs, improved overall employee satisfaction, and boosted morale.

Enhancing Recruitment and Competitiveness for a Medium-Sized Company with Psychometric Assessments

A medium-sized company approached us with their challenge of attracting top talent whilst competing against larger companies with bigger budgets and long standing known brands. Together with the client’s HR team we identified a better way to evaluate candidates beyond just their experience and qualifications. We recommended:

  • The introduction of  psychometric assessments to measure cognitive abilities, personality traits, and work values relevant to the job. 
  • Additionally we introduced these on our platform in the form of game-based assessments – improving candidate experience and helping our client gain recognition for their technology and innovative ways of working that were reflected in their recruitment campaigns.

With the use of our hiring assessment platform, the client team was able to invite a larger than usual number of candidates in the process without sacrificing on the quality of job matching. Our assessments helped identify candidates who were a good fit for the company’s culture and values, resulting in a higher percentage of new hires who stayed with the company for longer periods. The assessments were found to be user-friendly and highly predictive of job performance, allowing the HR team to confidently make hiring decisions. 

As a result, in the long term our client was able  to run effective and successful recruitment campaigns, attracting better talent at a lower price and with fewer system and process inefficiencies.  Our client grew the personnel within a few recruitment campaigns and was able to  successfully strengthen their position in the market.

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9. Industries and Roles That Use Psychometric Tests

Psychometric tests are used across a wide range of industries and roles – with industries such as finance, consulting, law, engineering and IT leading the way in the use se psychometric for their recruitment campaigns The types of tests that are most common and recognisable in recruitment are: cognitive ability tests (also known as aptitude tests), personality tests, and situational judgement tests.

In finance and consulting, for example, cognitive ability tests are commonly used to assess a candidate’s numerical and verbal reasoning abilities, while in engineering and IT, technical aptitude tests may be used to assess a candidate’s  problem-solving and understanding complex systems. Personality tests may be used across industries to assess traits such as openness to experience, conscientiousness, and emotional stability, while situational judgement tests may be used to assess a candidate’s decision-making abilities.

IndustryRecommended AssessmentsKey/most common Assessments
BankingAptitude tests, Presentation, Negotiation and Team exercise, Video Interview – competency and personality, Game-based assessments.Numerical reasoning test, Assessment centre exercises that involve other candidates, Case study interview
ConsultingAptitude tests, Game-based assessments, Situational Judgement Test, Assessment centre exercises and Personality interviews.Numerical and logical reasoning tests, Personality and Situational Judgement tests, Risk and attention measuring games
LawAptitude and Personality tests, Video interviewsChecking tests, Critical thinking tests, Case study interviews and Verbal reasoning tests.
TechnologyTechnical tests (mechanical, coding, AI), Numerical and Logical reasoning, Game-based assessments and Technical interviews.Technical tests (mechanical, coding, AI), Aptitude reasoning tests and technical interviews.

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10. How Psychometric Tests Help to Level the Playing Field for Candidates of All Backgrounds

Psychometric tests have key advantages in the recruitment process:

  • Psychometric tests are designed to eliminate bias related to demographics such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status. 
  • Psychometric tests are created to assess cognitive abilities and intelligence, and do not differentiate based on socio demographic information.
  • Psychometric tests provide a clear percentile result that is not subject to interpretation. Unlike other selection methods such as interviews, which may be influenced by the interviewer’s conscious or unconscious biases.
  • Psychometric tests provide a fair and objective evaluation of a candidate’s abilities. Well-designed tools take into account adjustments, disability options, and wide population testing.
  • They are an effective means of levelling the playing field for candidates from diverse backgrounds.

In conclusion, by using psychometric tests, companies can help to reduce the impact of unconscious bias and ensure that candidates are evaluated based on their abilities rather than their background. This can help to increase diversity in the workplace and ensure that the best candidates are selected for the role.

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11.  What are the Passing Percentiles and Thresholds in Psychometric Testing for Recruitment?

Psychometric tests are designed to measure a candidate’s abilities in comparison to a norm group, which is typically a group of people who have previously taken the test. To determine whether a candidate has “passed” a test, a threshold or passing percentile is often set. This threshold or percentile represents the minimum score a candidate must achieve to be considered for the role.

For example, if the passing percentile is set at 50%, it means that a candidate must score higher than 50% of the norm group in order to be considered for the role. Percentile refers to the percentage of the entire population that the candidate performed better than – eg. if passing percentile is set at 70%, only 30% of the best performing candidates progress to the next stage.

What will the passing percentile depend on:

  1. Number of candidate applications for the role and number of position openings. 

Psychometric testing can be a valuable sifting tool when there are a large number of candidates applying for a particular role. By setting a passing percentile, recruiters can use the results of the test to quickly identify candidates who are most likely to be a good fit for the job.

  1. High importance skills that differentiates candidates and is of crucial value to the job 

A valuable skill that sets candidates apart and is crucial for the job may require a higher passing score than other skills. For instance, an IT job may require a candidate to score above the 50th percentile on a verbal reasoning test, indicating they perform better than half of the test pool. However, for a numerical reasoning test or coding assessment, the required percentile may be as high as 80%. This ensures that the candidate possesses the necessary proficiency in these skills that are particularly relevant to the job.

  1.  Industry 

Some industries are more challenging to get into – examples of aptitude tests in investment banks and on the other side Big 4 firms that include more ‘interactive’ problem solving assessments, and divert away from focusing on numerical or verbal scores. There are many possible strategies. Some industries pose more challenges to applicants than others.

 There are various approaches to tackling these tests and succeeding in these competitive industries.

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