Why and how psychometric test became inevitable in recruitment procedure

Psychometric test is something which one can easily define as the measurement of the mind. Thus, this test is mainly done to measure how the brain of a human being works and then after the test is done, it determines the measurement of one’s mental ability.

The history of psychometric test goes a few years back though. When one wants to look at the evolvement of the test, then they can find that it all began in Cambridge in the 19th century, to be more precise, around the years 1886 to 1889. The very first laboratory, which was set up for the science of psychometric test in the year 1887, was the Cavendish Physics Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. This was done by a person named Mckeen Cattell.

Though the laboratory was set much earlier, the first personality testing occurred in the year 1917. This happened because a person named Robert Woodworth developed something called the personal data sheet. This was just a simple checklist where one who was taking the test had to answer in simple ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. This sheet was used to screen the recruits of the World War I for psychoneurosis. Then the evolvement of this sheet led to some other inventions as well like Multiphase Personality Inventory and some more.  Later in the year 1950s and 1960s another set of personality disorder test evolved known as the ‘Big Five’ and this test was devised only after a very deep analytical research was done to measure the individual differences in a personality.

Why this test is needed?

Some may ask that why these kinds of tests are conducted on human beings? Well this testing is mainly conducted to measure 2 major criteria.

  • In order to assess the personal qualities and to understand one’s belief, feelings and though process. It is to find out the lookout of someone and not judging about the right or wrong.
  • In order to measure the performance of an individual and to test and find out if the profile of an individual matches with what the examiners are looking for.

Journey from Personal Test to Recruitment Process

As it has been said earlier that all of this started from the screening of the World War I recruits and the trail of this psychometric test have come a long way as it made some large progresses in educational institutions and job organisations as they are now using it in a very large scale. The science of psychometric tests is helping them a lot in the recruiting process. According to various surveys and researches one can easily come to the conclusion that the HR team of most of the organisations consider this test as a major tool for hiring process. So, most of the large and reputed companies use this psychometric test as a part of their recruitment regimen.

Now it is clear that why organisations use it in their recruitment procedure; because it always helps them to go for a better filtering of the candidates as they can pick them easily from the large number of applicants. But apart from that, this test is also used during staff training processes for exiting employees or during the time of appraisals when time comes to look on internal performances of the employees. Some educational institutions also use psychometric tests in entrance examination procedure to see of the applicants have the ability and aptitude to get an opportunity to study there.

Types of Psychometric Assessments

These tests can mainly be divided into 2 groups. They are:

  • Aptitude and Ability Test
  • Personality and Questionnaires.

Aptitude and Ability Test

This test is mainly taken in order to measure the intellectual ability and the competence of an individual. Not only that, it also measures the analytical and logical skill of an applicant so that the recruiter can determine the capacity and job specific performance ability of them. This test also has some sub categories like:

  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Strategic reasoning
  • Diagrammatic Reasoning

Personality and Questionnaire Test

In this case, the primary goal is to understand the behavioural traits of a candidate in a particular situation, their actions, reactions along with attitude and preferences. By using this test method in a recruitment procedure, the HR team tries to find out if the candidate if fit enough for their working culture and the profiles they are looking for. Here, to find out the answers they mostly set up a paper based questionnaire.

It is said that everyone is capable of performing some extraordinary things but time plays a very important role when it comes to psychometric testing. So, some of the tests that are conducted have a very strict time limit so that one can verify the speed of the candidate in case of jobs which requires speed and where meeting a time limit is essential.  But most of the tests that are conducted have no time limits and they have some difficult questions as well. Also the candidates are judged on how accurately they perform their tests.

In many cases this psychometric test falls somewhere in between the 2 extremes. One needs to work out the test accurately in order to be successful.

There are some computer based tests and some paper based tests and apart from these 2 widely used modes of testing, there is a verbal mode of test as well. Even in recruitment process, when the test is taken online there is supervision so that one cannot find a way out for cheating.

But though this psychometric test has become a very major and crucial part in the recruitment process, it still has a lot of room to grow, develop and become more advanced so that the testing of an individual can be done more accurately. In fact, these tests are also formulated by the experts who know how these tests should be conducted, so that one can judge the candidates carefully and then come to the conclusion.