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What We Think

PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING – DOES IT EVEN WORK?

by Dave McKillop, Director

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So you are finally here; you’ve met the recruiter, you’ve had three interviews with the company and you are on the precipice of a fantastic new role.  Exciting times!! ………                                                                                                                     
Then comes a spanner in the works – you have to go through a psychometric testing process. 
 

You feel nervous, unsure about what will be tested and about as confident in this test as you are in black magic!  Well – let me help settle your mind. Below is what psychometric testing IS and also, what psychometric testing ISN’T.
 
What it IS:
 
Psychometric is a statistically reliable and valid form of assessment of your cognitive skills and also some of your personality traits.  Used in the correct way it is a great way for an employer to develop an understanding of how to get the best out of you and how to support you. Examples of what is being assessed are things like;

1. Are you someone who likes recognition?
2. Do you prefer hands on management or to be left alone?
3. Are you more social or do you work best on your own?
4. Do you prefer technical tasks or more creative work?

Most testing processes are online and will involve numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning components followed by some personality questions.  The whole test usually takes 2 – 3 hours and most often you can do it in parts rather than doing it all at once.  Remember, more often than not the company is assessing you because they really like you and they want to understand how to support you best in your career – and that’s a good thing right?
 
What it ISN’T:
 
Psychometric testing is not designed to test for mental illness or disease.  It is a completely different construct from that style of test and it will not tell you if you are depressed, suffering anxiety, schizophrenic etc.  It is purely an occupational set of tests designed to measure your work style, approach and aptitude.  Given that the tests are most often administered by a trained psychologist you will have every opportunity to talk through this before you do the test and – certainly – if you are feeling that you may have a mental health issue you can raise that before doing anything.   Companies very rarely use psychometric testing as an “opt in / opt out” part of the interview process.  That is, they won’t use it to say yes or no – they will use it to understand you in more depth.

If you want to practice testing before your actual test you can do so here.
So there it is.  If you would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact me but it is important that you approach any psychometric testing process with the understanding that it is not there to trip you up or prove you are wrong.  It can be invaluable to both parties in the recruitment system, and – wherever possible – be positive!