Psychometric Assessment

Psychometric assessment is used by over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. Information technology companies, financial institutions, management consultancies, local authorities, the civil service, police forces, fire services and the armed forces all make extensive use of use psychometric assessment.

As a recruitment and selection tool, these tests can be applied in a straightforward way at the early stages of selection to screen-out candidates who are likely to be unsuitable for the job or, using a more sophisticated approach, to provide guidance on career progression to existing employees.

Psychometric tests fall into two main categories. Personality Questionnaires, which try to measure aspects of your personality, and aptitude/ability tests. which try to measure your mental abilities.

Personality Questionnaires
The way that you are likely to perform in a job depends very much on your personality. Personality questionnaires are used in conjunction with interviews to provide a useful insight into your personal style and how you see yourself. This ‘personality profile’ is derived from the answers to a series of multiple choice questions.

You will be usually be presented with statements describing various ways of feeling or acting and asked to answer them as either ‘true’ or ‘false’ or on a scale. For example:

1. I have good leadership skills?

A) True B) False


2. I enjoy new experiences?

A) strongly disagree B) disagree C) neutrals D) agree E) strongly agree


These personality tests consist of anything from 50 to 300 questions and are basically a structured way of getting you to describe yourself.

Aptitude and Ability Tests
Measures of aptitude and ability are often used as a part of the selection process as they provide a more objective measure of your potential than just an interview alone.

aptitude and Ability Test

Verbal Ability Tests
These tests are widely used since most jobs require you either to understand and make decisions based on verbal or written information or to pass this type of information to others. The questions test your ability to spell words correctly, use correct grammar, understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions.

Numeric Ability Tests
These tests are directly applicable to many administrative and clerical jobs but can also appear as a component of graduate and managerial tests. They include questions on basic arithmetic, number sequences and simple mathematics. Sometimes information is provided that requires interpretation and the application of appropriate logic. These questions are often similar to the type of reasoning required in the workplace.

Abstract Reasoning Tests
These tests provide the best measure of your general intellectual ability. The questions are based on diagrams and measure your ability to identify the underlying logic of a pattern. They are of particular value when selecting people for technical jobs which involve dealing with abstract ideas or concepts.

Spatial Reasoning Tests
These tests measure your ability to manipulate three-dimensional objects presented as two-dimensional pictures. Spatial ability is required in production, technical and design jobs where plans and drawings are used, for example; surveying, engineering, architecture, and design.

Mechanical Reasoning Tests
These tests are designed to assess your knowledge of physical and mechanical principles. Mechanical reasoning tests are used to select for a wide range of apprentice and engineering occupations.

Data Checking Tests
These tests present you with number of tables of information which must be checked against each other. This type of test is used to select candidates for clerical and data input jobs where accuracy is important.

Aptitude and ability tests can be broadly classified onto the groups shown above and you may be asked to sit a test which consists only of ‘numerical’ questions or these may form part of a test which consists of questions of different types. This will depend very much on the job you are applying for. For example, jobs that require you to handle figures on a day to day basis may have a higher proportion of numerical reasoning questions, whereas tests used for information technology jobs tend to have a higher proportion of abstract reasoning questions.

You may also be interested in: An Introduction to Psychometric Tests, Personality Questionnaires and Aptitude Tests.

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