Employer Insights

What is psychometric testing?

Jaspreet Bhogal


Jul 20, 2022

We’ve all been there before, feeling so anxious during an interview that we don’t really sell ourselves or our skills. Or maybe you’ve been in a situation where you’ve blindly agreed with the hiring manager as a means to be polite and thought, “why did I say that?!”

Whatever your composure level within an interview, without a shadow of a doubt, psychometric testing offers both the hiring manager and candidate the best opportunity to gain unbiased insight into the candidate, allowing the hiring manager to measure their suitability for the role with far more data on the candidate than they usually would.

What is psychometric testing

Psychometric testing is a series of tests that are crafted to measure your skills, knowledge, and personality. Tests come in a variety of different formats, from scenarios with multiple choice answers to something a little more familiar like a maths test, otherwise known as numerical reasoning. What sets psychometric apart from other tests is that there’s typically no right or wrong answer. Instead, your answers give insight into parts of your personality, which hiring managers can use against their ‘ideal candidate’ specification.

How we use psychometric testing at Oyster Partnership

Similarly to our clients, we think it’s important for us to understand our internal applicants. We acknowledge that everyone has a different communication style and career aspirations. By evaluating these areas we can see who might be most suited to which desk and manager, or who might need support to build their skills in certain areas. Our intention isn’t to catch people out, rather we use this as a tool for internal career development.

Benefits of psychometric testing

Beyond assessing competency and skillsets, psychometric testing is also a means to understand a candidate’s drivers and motivations, management style, and preferred company culture. Psychometric testing provides insight into a candidate that wouldn’t be possible through a traditional face-to-face interview. With this data, a hiring manager can make a more informed choice about hiring a candidate by identifying strengths and anticipating areas for improvement.

Types of psychometric testing

We’ve covered a few of these tests already but psychometric testing can be broken down into two categories: aptitude (proficiency in certain skills) and personality tests. While some of these tests might seem similar to those you took in school, the answers aren’t always so black and white. This is deliberate, as when it comes to assessing the candidate’s answers you’ll get the addition of understanding parts of their personality; Are they empathetic? Data-driven? Will they be able to make tough decisions?

Situational judgment

Situational judgment is a blend of both aptitude and personality as tests present candidates with a scenario and a series of responses. These are usually timed in order to force people into choosing their gut instinct instead of picking the ‘right’ answer.

Numerical reasoning

Numerical reasoning tests present the candidate with charts, graphs or statistics, followed by a series of questions that test their interpretation of the data in certain ways. This could be linked to spotting trends or making decisions on the best course of action following a scenario or multiple choice.

Verbal reasoning

With verbal reasoning tests, candidates will be asked to evaluate written information such as arguments or new concepts. Here the assessment is around comprehension and the delivery of constructive criticism; arguably some of the most desired skills in any role.

Abstract reasoning

Abstract reasoning is a bit ‘out there’ as it challenges candidates to look for parallels and sequences in a series of images or numbers. Arguably this is a more technical skill than some of the others and isn’t often used outside of IT and engineering.

Error checking

We often see error checking in some of our office support roles, surveying, and property and facilities management, as each sector demands attention to detail regardless of whether the candidate comes from a technical background. Tests include everything from spotting clerical errors to troubleshooting and diagnosing common issues a candidate might face on the job.

Psychometric testing in housing recruitment

As we’ve covered, situational and verbal reasoning tend to be pretty commonplace across a range of sectors, however, numerical, abstract and error checking tends to be more common in engineering, technical, or administrative housing roles.

In itself, psychometric testing isn’t widely used in other sectors but we’d highly recommend exploring these options with one of the psychometric testing consultants who can talk you through the process and help you select and apply the tests best suited to the role you are hiring for.

To learn more about psychometric testing contact us via info@oysterpartnership.com or call 020 7766 9000.

Which jobs need psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing isn’t suitable for every industry. For some businesses, this stage is expensive and doesn’t bring as much value to the candidate or hiring manager. Regardless, as a candidate, your results are valid for about 2 years, after which time it’s safe to assume that your education and experiences have enabled you to develop and grow.

Our advice on psychometric testing

Don’t panic. Don’t revise. And don’t pick the answers you think someone might want to hear. This is the opportunity for you to show who you really are, an opportunity that’s not often possible within the confines of an hour-long chat, particularly if you’re interviewing over the phone or by video chat.

Take your time with the answers, it’s not a rush. Just bear in mind that you might find your judgment clouded in an ‘exam environment’, so take the time to consider the questions and answers without distractions.

If you’re a hiring manager; give your candidate notice about the testing, and don’t allow testing to go on for more than an hour (assuming each section is kept to a strict 20 minutes). Why? Well, just as some of us find face-to-face interviews to be nerve-wracking, there’s also a large group of us that crumble in a test environment, so don’t be too full on. You don’t want to scare the candidate away!

With that in mind, make sure you take the time to select tests that resonate with the job or company culture; too much data can be a bad thing.

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Jaspreet Bhogal

Having worked in recruitment since 2009, and with Oyster since 2011, Jas is renowned for her exceptional organisational skills. Jas loves proving people wrong, and is relentless in offering something different and better to the industries she recruits into. Whether through training residents, mentoring programmes or supporting D&I, Jas is proud to have built successful relationships with the people and the sectors she works with.

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