An Overview of Psychometric Tests

Psychometric Tests, also called Occupational Tests or Psychological Tests –

can be defined as instruments, which are developed and used in assessing and evaluating individuals’ aptitude, personality and intelligence and provide information on how one person differs from another (CIPD, 2008). Dent and Curd (2004) state that psychometric tests measure people’s normal and dysfunctional behavior, which are conducted verbally, practically or in writing. According to The British Psychological Society (n.d.), psychological tests are tools that are designed to test the ability, aptitude, personality, values, beliefs and interests of individuals in different settings such as for testing in the workplace, for educational testing and for clinical assessment. Smith and Smith (2005) mention that psychometric tests are widely exercised in four main areas: for recruitment and selection purposes, for vocational and career guidance, for research and for assessment of workforce. However, these tests are most commonly exercised in hiring process of employees (CIPD, 2008).

According to Ashridge Psychometric Services (n.d.), a number of psychometrics instruments are available of which 16PF5, CPI 260, FIRO-B, Occupational Personality Questionnaire, Subarctic Survival Situation, Whitewater etc. are widely used for recruitment and selection purposes. These instruments measure individuals’ ability or aptitude, personal characteristics, work related questions and the like. However, using psychometric tests in the recruitment and selection process raise the questions of their excellence, reliability, legitimacy and value recognition, that is, to what extent psychometric tests fit the purpose (Melamed and Jackson, 1995).

According to Dent and Curd (2004), psychometric tests comprise five indispensable aspects: Validity. Reliability, Standardization, Objectivity and Differentiation. Validity confirms tests measure what they are designed for. Reliability provides information regarding test consistency. Standardization confirms the identical characteristic of the test for all candidates in every situation. Objectivity ensures fairness of the test assessment and Differentiation gives information about individual differences, not about their gender or ethnicity.

Smith and Smith (2005) indicate the importance of validity in psychometric testing. According to them, a psychometric test, which is valid, is likely to be reliable and fair and offers a lower risk of hiring wrong individuals. For example, Hogan et al. (1984) provide evidence that psychometric tests focused on particular job related aspect have high criterion-related validity than those are not.


• Ashridge Psychometric Services (n.d.), Psychometric Instruments Available, Ashridge Business School, [Online], Available:
• CIPD (2008), Psychological Testing, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, [Online], Available:
• Dent, F. & Curd, J. (2004), “Psychometric Tests: An Overview of an Increasingly Complex World”, Training Journal, February, pp. 14-25.
• Hogan, J., Hogan, R. and Busch, C. M. (1984), “How to Measure Service Orientation”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 167-173.
• Melamed, T. and Jackson, D. (1995), “Psychometric Instruments: potential benefits and practical use”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 11-16.
• Smith, M. and Smith, P. (2005), Testing People at Work: Competencies in Psychometric Testing, BPS Blackwell, Oxford.
• The British Psychological Society (n.d.), Psychological Testing, A User’s Guide, The British Psychological Society, [Online], Available:


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