Psychometric test: definition, types, and tips

Psychometric tests gather information on a candidate or employee’s cognitive ability, interpersonal skills, critical thinking or results orientation. This data...
29 June 2022

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Psychometric test: definition, types, and tips

Psychometric tests gather information on a candidate or employee’s cognitive ability, interpersonal skills, critical thinking or results orientation.

This data contributes to drawing a general picture of the person –applicant or employee– being tested.

This article meant to be the background information on psychometric tests, including their characteristics and tips for taking them. 

What is a psychometric test?

A psychometric test measures an individual’s psychic abilities and produces a numerical result. 

Recruitment agencies and HR departments commonly use psychometric tests to gather information about applicants’ psychological traits. 

The objectives of these tests are as follows:

  • Identify abilities, aptitudes, competencies, values, traits, likes, and dislikes. 
  • Detect potentials and limitations.
  • Screen the most suitable candidates and those who best fit the culture and philosophy of the company.
  • Know in advance performance and behavioral patterns. 
  • Distinguish the outstanding competencies of each candidate.

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Psychometric tests classification

It is important for the team to have a clear understanding of the organization’s needs to make a complete and unambiguous analysis. 

There are no good or bad tests, no right or wrong answers. What is relevant is the result and whether those chosen are the most in line with the company’s standards.

The classification of psychometric tests varies according to what they are intended to measure:

  1. Intelligence.
  2. Aptitudes and skills.
  3. Personality.

We will examine them more closely.


Psychometric intelligence tests quantify several pieces of information: 

  • IQ (intelligence quotient).
  • Learning capacity.
  • The application of new knowledge.
  • Initiative and synthesis analysis.
  • Decision-making capacity and facility.
  • Capacity and proactivity in problem-solving.
  • Adaptation to changes.

The most commonly used tests are:

  • The Raven’s Test measures concentration levels and skills related to observation and logic.
  • The Terman Merrill Test is one of the most widely used psychometric tests to measure IQ.

Aptitudes and skills

Psychometric tests of aptitudes and skills judge: 

  • Job skills and competencies.
  • Potential for professional development.

The most representative ones are:

  • Cleaver’s Test measures reactions and performance in situations of work overload and stress.
  • The Moss Test measures the social adaptability of the person intending to know and predict their behavior. 
Psychometric tests


Psychometric tests aim to assess applicants’ ability to:

  • Interpret situations.
  • Adapt.
  • Relate.
  • Handle internal conflicts. 
  • Develop social skills.

The most common types of psychometric tests related to personality are: 

  • The Big Five focuses on five personality traits: openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. 
  • The 16PF Test identifies 16 traits and asks 170 questions about responses to different work situations.
  • The SHL or OPQ32 describes a tool that measures 32 characteristics and has 104 questions to evaluate how traits affect job performance. It is based on selecting the most and least similar options to the applicant’s personality.
  • The SJT provides answers on problem-solving skills.

Tips for improving performance on psychometric tests

The performance of psychometric tests by HR departments and recruitment agencies can benefit from the implementation of a series of tips shown below:

Test environment

One way to improve performance on psychometric tests is to ensure that the testing environment is calm and comfortable. 

This applies whether the test is taken face-to-face or online. By following these tips, applicants can achieve maximum concentration and improve their test results. 

Reliable candidate selection

Limit the completion time

Control the duration of the psychometric test to prevent the applicant from becoming exhausted. 

It is crucial to maintain an optimal concentration level from start to finish to ensure accurate results without distortions caused by fatigue.

Combine tests

Combining multiple psychometric tests allows for a comprehensive assessment of applicants, analyzing their performance in various competencies related to the job. 

Design the tests accordingly

To design and write a psychometric test, the HR department or recruitment agency in charge must first identify the needs to be covered. 

Good design and wording can help identify the best candidates for recruitment. No changes in content have been made.

Many companies undergoing digital transformation need to articulate new control systems to ensure that processes are carried out with complete honesty and respect for security. 

The language used should be simple and accessible to a broad audience, avoiding jargon and technical terms. The text should be grammatically correct, with short, straightforward sentences in the active voice.

SMOWL’s proctoring plans for personnel selection and recruitment processes guarantees that security protocols are respected and that tests are carried out with fraud and malpractice controls.  

Do you want to know first-hand what we offer in this service? We encourage you to request a free, no-obligation demo.

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