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What is psychometric assessment

Psychometric assessment is a technical description for how knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits are measured. Employers regularly use psychometric assessment to determine whether a person would be suited to a particular career or job.

So if you have not yet experienced a psychometric assessment process, or are expecting to go through one, you may find this article useful as it explains the main processes and tools that are commonly used.


The Tests.

Firstly, there are two types of psychometric tests that are used when candidates are being selected – either to join a company or for a promotion.

They are “ Aptitude” tests and “Personality and Interests” tests. Either or both sets of tests will be used, depending on the objective of the assessment.

Let’s look at aptitude tests first.

The objective of these tests is to assess a candidate’s reasoning ability. This could be numeric, mechanical, spatial, abstract or verbal. Whatever the test is trying to measure, all aptitude tests have definite right and wrong answers, have time limits and are structured in a multiple choice format.

The key to success in completing an aptitude test is to work through the test quickly and to be as accurate as possible.

The key to success to performing well in aptitude tests is to practice. You can do this through the Internet where there are a number of tests you can take for free, you can pay for tests or you can concentrate on the area that you are weakest in and focus on questions related to that ability.

The three most common aptitudes that are tested are numerical, verbal and spatial. Often one test, which includes all these aptitudes, will be administered.

So, what about personality and interests tests.

There are no right or wrong answers in personality tests and generally the time limit to complete these tests is not strict.

These tests try to understand interests and motivation; attitude and personality; and what enthuses a person. The objective of personality and interest tests is to work out how people are likely to behave in different circumstances.

Two of the tests that are commonly used and highly regarded are the Strong Interests Inventory and the Myers Briggs. But there are thousands of different tests available.

As there are no right or wrong answers to these tests, in theory, a person could answer a test in a way that would influence the outcome. However, there is no benefit in trying to do this as this could lead to a role entirely unsuited to you which will then be unlikely to provide career growth and job satisfaction.


Assessment centres.

Assessment centres use tests as part of the process but they also use other techniques to try and deepen the understanding of a candidate.

If you attend an assessment centre it is likely that you will be put into a ‘simulated’ business environment and asked to make decisions based on information presented to you. One typical situation is the In Basket – where you have to work through a series of situations, emails and documents that may occur in the role(s) that you are being assessed for. You may also be interviewed and asked to prepare a report or a presentation on a specific topic.

Assessment centres can be fun and tend to be fast paced so that you can be observed in situations of stress as well as a normal environment.

The best approach to assessment centres is to join in enthusiastically and take the situations seriously, thinking carefully and drawing on your experience to support your responses.


360 feedback.

This is relevant only if the assessment is taking place with your current employer. 360 feedback has become very popular as it provides an opportunity for a “3D” assessment – in that your superiors, your subordinates and your peers are all asked to provide feedback in a structured and confidential manner.  360 feedback can be quite subjective. However, most people find 360 feedback a useful tool in understanding their strengths and their development needs and as input into their professional development plan.

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