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Basics of Psychometric Tests: Myths and Preps

Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method for assessing people’s mental abilities and behavioral styles. Psychometric tests are intended to assess candidates’ suitability for a position based on the required personality traits and aptitude (or cognitive abilities). They assess how well candidates’ personalities and cognitive abilities match those required for the role. Employers use the information gleaned from the psychometric test to uncover hidden aspects of candidates that would be difficult to uncover during a face-to-face interview.

When the Human Resources manager, or the person/people in charge of hiring, determines that you have met the initial requirements for the position by reviewing your résumé, they will send you a letter with specific instructions for taking the psychometric test.

Psychometric assessments are becoming more common during the selection process as organizations place a greater emphasis on cultural fit. Psychometric tests assess an individual’s abilities and preferences in order to provide data that can be used to determine a candidate’s “fit” for a role and organization.

We emphasize the importance of having data-driven insights at Hudson because a person’s resume cannot tell the entire story about who they are and whether they are a good fit for a role. Psychometric assessments, along with other information such as your cover letter, resume, interviews, and references, help employers get a complete picture of a candidate’s personality and abilities for a role.

Psychometric tests may appear intimidating, but they are simply a method of gathering information about you, the job applicant. Someone trained in psychometric assessments evaluates the applicant’s responses so that the employer can understand and contextualize your test results and compare them to others’.

Psychometric tests are classified into two types:

Personality assessments

Examine how you are likely to behave in the workplace, such as your interpersonal style, task management preferences, and time management style. There are no correct or incorrect answers here.

Ability evaluations

Examine your numeracy skills, your ability to understand written information, your ability to deal with abstract concepts, and your general problem-solving abilities. There are correct and incorrect answers on these tests, as well as a time limit for answering the questions.

Depending on the organization, you may be required to take a psychometric test at the beginning of the application process, in conjunction with an interview, or between your first and second interviews.

Common myths about psychometric testing

Because many people are unfamiliar with psychometric testing, the following myths and assumptions must be dispelled:

Myth: There is only one type of person.

Different personalities are required for different roles and organizations. Not every company is looking for an extrovert who wants to run the show. 

An analyst role, for example, may require someone who is less vocal and more analytical, whereas a stakeholder management role will require someone with exceptional communication skills.

The “right personality” is the personality type that is best suited to the role. As a result, it’s critical to be yourself and answer honestly so that the potential employer has an accurate picture of who you are at work. It’s also better if you answer honestly, because if you’re a natural fit for the role, you’ll enjoy it more. 

Myth: Psychoanalysis is involved.

Psychometric tests, despite their name, are not about revealing personal or private information that can be used against you.

The test will not delve into your psyche or childhood, but will simply assess your workplace preferences.

Do you prefer to work collaboratively or alone, for example? If you are successful in your application, your results may influence how you are managed in that role.

Setting yourself up for success prior to the psychometric test

There are numerous things you can do to improve your experience with psychometric tests. Whether you’ve never taken a test before, you can improve your chances of success by doing the following:

1. Improve your surroundings.

When taking a psychometric test, the environment is very important. Given that ability tests are timed, you must ensure that you will not be interrupted or distracted. Check that your computer has the necessary browsers and that you are in an area where the internet is unlikely to go down.

2. Exercise, exercise, exercise

Practicing will help you understand the format and style of questions you’ll be asked, as well as how you might respond to them. This is especially important for assessing abilities (where there are right or wrong answers and a time limit). When you take the real test, you will have the opportunity to take a few practice questions, but it is strongly advised that you take a full practice test in timed conditions and look up examples as well. Practicing puts you in the best position to feel relaxed and at ease, as well as to reduce nerves (which are very normal in this situation). This allows you to give your best performance when the real test comes around. When you’re relaxed and prepared, you can be the best version of yourself.

3. Give yourself plenty of time

Ability tests are timed; find out how long the ones you’ve been assigned will take. Personality tests typically last about 30 minutes. When calculating how much time you’ll need, include time for reading instructions and answering practice questions. 

4. Examine your resume

While we may be scrutinizing other people’s resumes, we frequently fail to scrutinize our own. As you prepare for your test, go over your resume again and consider the experiences you’ve gained as well as the insights you’ve gained about yourself from each role which has added to your personality traits. You may notice a pattern in which you gravitate towards certain types of roles or organizations, such as an informal or agile environment where you have a lot more autonomy or a structured organization with established processes. This will be useful when answering questions about yourself.

Following the psychometric test

You are entitled (and strongly encouraged) to receive verbal feedback from a trained assessor if you have completed psychometric tests. Whether or not you are offered the position, view it as a learning opportunity and a chance to gain some insight into yourself and your work style.

If you believe you could have done better, don’t be concerned: you will still be considered for the role. While you cannot retake a psychometric test on Mercer | Mettl, it is one of many factors considered, along with your track record, experience, qualifications, CV, and interview.

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