Are psychometric tests still useful for recruitment?

Aug 21, 2014 | Blog, recruitment

Psychometric tests have been used in recruitment processes for years. Opinions on the validity of results have long been divided and continue to be that way. However, with the introduction of even more methods of ‘figuring out’ a potential candidate out with the help of social media and general online presence, is the value of psychometric testing diminishing?

psychometric tests

There have always been criticisms when it comes to the subject of psychometric testing. The reality is that none of these criticisms have really been conclusively dispelled or reinforced.  When it comes to recruitment, psychometric testing is often a dreaded step in the process for candidates and at times, a worryingly misleading indicator of suitability for a recruiter to go by.

Criticisms of psychometric testing for recruitment purposes

They don’t allow for the potential for adaptability

As a recruiter or a prospective employer, would you really write a candidate off for a leadership affiliated role simply because their test results imply that they are better as a team member? This highlights one of the significant flaws with psychometric testing. The results create a somewhat of a stereotype of the individual that places limitations on someone who may be highly adaptable to the environment they’re in. If someone has worked as part of a team for years, their test results will likely correspond with this, but is it fair to imply that leadership roles are not for them because of these results?

One-off tests are unreliable

Thomas International, a leading body in psychometric testing state that they recommend that tests are done 3 times over within a 3-month period. This repetitive method of assessment mitigates the conflicting variables that inevitably affect test result accuracy, such as mood. Mood has been known to dramatically affect the results of psychometric assessments, rendering them extremely inaccurate. Many candidates taking the tests are nervous or anxious about how it will go and will react in a way that is not normal for them. Can you really trust the results when the assessment has been completed by a candidate who is essentially out of sorts? What if they’ve simply had a bad day? All of these factors affect the outcome of the test.


When a psychometric test is used as a step in the recruitment process, candidates are more aware that their results could directly affect whether or not they get the job. Naturally, this means it’s highly likely that they are going to answer tailor answers according to what they believe you, as an employer, are going to want to hear. 

Arguments in favour of psychometric testing for recruitment

These criticisms are not new, yet a huge number of companies insist on using psychometric testing in their recruitment process. Why is this?

If applied in the right way (repeatedly over a fixed time period), it is possible to increase the accuracy, and therefore, validity of psychometric test results. Many argue that it is better for these results to be used in more of a supportive manner and not have them be a pivotal part of the recruitment process.

So, do psychometric assessments still have a prominent place in the recruitment process? What is your opinion on them?



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