How can businesses, recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates alike benefit from psychometric testing? To find that out, we’re going to break it down by:
- Defining what, exactly, psychometric testing is
- Giving a brief history of this assessment method
- Explaining specific ways it can be used
Do you fall into any of the categories mentioned above? Read on to learn how psychometric testing can help you.
Psychometric Testing, Defined
Psychometric testing is a scientific method used to measure an individual’s cognitive capabilities and behavioral style. These exams range from personality profiles to reasoning tests to motivation questionnaires to ability assessments.
It has risen in popularity over the years because it provides more accurate and objective data than can be gathered through subjective means, like observing someone’s behavior and making a judgment.
According to MindTools, the three key criteria a psychometric test should have include:
- Validity: The test must measure what it is intended to measure (i.e., interests, personality, or aptitude). This is the most important quality a test should have to ensure that it delivers accurate, effective results.
- Reliability: The test should yield consistent results and not be easily influenced by outside factors, such as the test taker’s mental or emotional state.
- Standardization: The test should be based on the results of a sample population that accurately represents the people who will be taking it. Additionally, the exam should be administered the same way every time to reduce test bias.
General Test Categories
There are three main types of psychometric testing, each of which is used to measure various traits and evaluate whether he or she will be a fit for the job and work environment.
- Interest: Measures things like an individual’s motivation, values, and opinions in relation to his or her interests.
- Personality: Evaluates a person’s behavior and style of doing things. Personality tests also account for how the individual interacts with her environment and other people.
- Aptitude: Assesses the individual’s ability to perform and carry out different tasks.
These specific tests come in a variety of forms, such as numerical reasoning tests, verbal reasoning tests, critical thinking tests, and situational judgment tests. Each of these helps to paint an objective picture of a candidate.
Psychometric Testing, A Brief History
In order to gain a full understanding of psychometric testing, it will help to know a bit about its background.
Basically, psychometrics is the science of measuring mental capacities and processes, particularly in occupational and educational settings.
A Test as Old as Time
Although you may not have heard of it before, psychometric testing is not a new concept. In fact, records show that it was used in ancient China for people who applied for highly sought-after roles (e.g.: fiscal policy, revenue, agriculture, military, and law). They even used physical tests to evaluate potential soldiers!
These exams were extremely challenging and included tests of skill, intelligence, and endurance. The first round—that’s right, there were multiple!—was so challenging, that only 7% passed on average. The final round of testing had a passing rate of just 3%! This is how the government filled its public official roles.
Fortunately, the country did away with this procedure in 1906; however, fairer yet still challenging psychometric tests are currently used in China and surrounding countries like South Korea.
An informal version of psychometric testing is also mentioned in the Bible. This situation references a test in which a group of people have to pronounce a single word. So while this is a very basic example, these types of tests are still used today in occupations for which accuracy is vital.
The First Psychometric Test
Although there are many references to the practice throughout history, most experts credit Francis Galton with the first true psychometric test.
Galton, a Victorian-era anthropologist, sociologist, and psychologist, created the framework to measure intelligence based on the examination of the sensory and motor skills in the 1880s. He even coined the term “psychometric” and influenced Dr. James Cattell, a renowned psychologist who developed psychometric tests further than ever.
Following Galton and Cattell, advancements in psychometric testing took off. Three scientists in 19th century France named Alfred Binet, Victor Henri, and Theodore Simon developed a test that would identify children with mental deficiencies. Initially dubbed the Binet-Simon test, it became the Stanford-Binet test after Stanford researcher Lewis M. Terman eliminated cultural bias in order to update the assessment for modern times.
Why Use Psychometric Testing?
For one thing, there are several extremely helpful ways you can use this kind of assessment in your business or organization:
- Candidate selection: Test various skills and abilities to find the perfect fit for the job and your organization.
- Employee development and training: From identifying employees who are struggling to those who are thriving and ready for advancement, psychometric testing can help you help your team.
- Team building and development: Identify areas of tension or opportunity and improve workplace relationships.
- Career development and progression: Use these tests to level up your own skills and define a clearer career path.
- High school students: Help teens discover their interests and strengths and carve out a path as they begin considering their future education and careers.
If you’re still wondering why you should use psychometric testing, think of it this way: It helps make personnel and career-related assessments more objective and effective by accurately assessing an individual’s intangible traits.
Because they are so easy to administer to groups, particularly when using adaptive testing software, these exams will save time for both businesses, employees, and candidates. Not to mention, the tests are scored immediately, so you’re not waiting around for results or stuck having to calculate them yourself. Finally, by reducing the time and resources required, psychometric testing also saves on costs.
If you want to learn more about psychometrics and how our adaptive testing platform will help your company gather the information you need, contact AdaptiveX today!
How have you used psychometric tests in your organization, and what were your results?