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Psychometric Tests – Your Secret Weapon in Graduate Recruitment

Psychometric testing – a type of testing used to measure the cognitive ability, personality, and work behaviour of a candidate – is being increasingly used in the hiring process to determine job suitability for a role.

Rather than relying solely on a candidate’s suitability on paper (which can often be misleading or unreliable), employers can predict suitability based on psychometric test results.

These tests can indicate problem-solving ability, logical reasoning, verbal reasoning and other demonstrations of skills.

So… why are psychometric tests your secret weapon in graduate recruitment?

The rundown on psychometric testing

When it comes to determining a graduate’s fit for a role, traditionally, emphasis is placed on academic background, knowledge, and skills.

With psychometric testing, a greater scope of aptitude is being tested.

Psychometric testing is used by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK, with 81% of companies using these tests in their interview process saying they expect to make more reliable hiring decisions.

Common examples of psychometric tests include:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • DISC
  • Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (commonly known as 16PF)
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  • Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)

Alongside personality, cognitive ability, and behaviour, many of these tests can also be used to measure emotional intelligence and even potential for leadership.

Generally, psychometric tests are split into aptitude tests (measuring cognitive ability) and personality tests.

Most importantly for businesses, though, is the potential for psychometric tests to save them time and money – by identifying an individual’s suitability and potential through psychometric tests, there is a lower likelihood of the candidate being a poor fit.

Why are psychometric tests used in graduate recruitment?

As with any role, there are specific qualities that an employer and/or hiring manager will look for, which is where psychometric testing comes in handy.

For example, if you were looking to hire a software developer, you would be looking for a graduate who has great collaborative skills, solid time management, is flexible/adaptable and has a desire to learn.

Alternatively, if hiring for a remote role a company may be looking for an individual who can work independently and is conscientious.

Given that the scope of psychometric tests can be quite wide, you could be focusing on aptitude areas such as data checking (error checking tests to measure attention to detail), abstract reasoning (spotting trends within data), or verbal ability (measuring an understanding of language), and personality testing.

A hiring manager can, by all accounts, zone in on a specific set of skills and the desired personality traits to match the role that they are hiring for to find the best candidate fit possible.

Does psychometric testing in recruitment actually work?

Psychometric testing, as mentioned above, is used by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK – a pretty solid indication of the value that psychometric tests bring to the table.

However, much of psychometric testing can come down to inferences, which are reliant upon hiring managers determining which qualities, aptitude and personality-wise, are best suited for a role.

The most important factor in using psychometric testing as part of your graduate recruitment efforts is to not use it as an either/or tool against other elements of recruitment.

Psychometric testing should only be one facet of your wider recruitment efforts.

Alongside other tools and HR practices, psychometric tools are a great context-dependent way to assess candidates beyond the surface level, but this is reliant on having a wider picture in mind.

A 1998 meta-analysis researching how well psychological assessments predict performance found aptitude tests to predict performance in all jobs, with tests yielding accurate assessments – work sample tests were deemed to be the best predictor of how someone would perform in a job, with the second-best predictors being tests of cognitive ability or psychometric tests.

For many businesses, psychometric tests encompass a very important factor – cultural fit.

With this in mind, the effectiveness of psychometric testing can come down to whether it is used alongside other recruitment methods and what the intention is on the hiring manager/employer’s end (e.g., assessing value alignment).

How can you use psychometric testing to its full potential?

Firstly, you’ll need to have a strong idea of your company’s values and goals in order to best assess a candidate’s alignment with this.

Additionally, having a thorough brainstorm to find out the desired competencies and behavioural traits for the role is a necessity, which can be done internally or collaboratively with a recruitment agency.

Though psychometric tests can be a great indicator for hiring managers to take a candidate to the interview stage, that isn’t where the results should be left off – interviewers should be aware of how to use these insights to ask questions that can go a little bit deeper.

For example, our platform could tell an employer that a candidate scores highly in collaborative capabilities.

To be able to assess which type of collaborator the candidate is (e.g., works well in a team and independently, builds strong relationships with others) the interviewer could ask the following question:

“Please describe a time when you worked as part of a team. What did you do? What was the outcome?”.

If the candidate offers comprehensive evidence of being a team player and working collaboratively with ease, then this validates the data, using it to its full potential.

Can psychometric tests help your diversity and inclusion efforts?

During the recruitment process, a lot of unconscious bias can come to the forefront.

Research has shown that resumes from African American, Asian, and Hispanic names are less likely to get an invitation for interviews in the USA.

Additionally, research has found that British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds sent more than 60% more CVs on average to get positive feedback from employers compared to their White counterparts (even though skillset, experience, and qualifications were the same).

A lot of the information given by candidates during the hiring process can prove detrimental due to unconscious bias – which is where psychometric tests can come in handy.

Used in conjunction with other processes that eliminate bias in the recruitment process, psychometric tests can put the spotlight on the candidate’s personality, skillset, capabilities and cultural fit.

We believe strongly in the necessity to eliminate bias in the recruitment process, because it levels the playing field for candidates and also puts the focus for employers where it should be – on a candidate’s suitability for a role, not on factors that should exclude them from it.

Our technology removes recruitment bias to make the process as transparent as possible for everyone, using detailed insights and psychometric profiles to emphasise candidate suitability and even see how candidates can fit in with your current team and work dynamics.

In conclusion

If you’re looking to hire a graduate and want to know more about their ways of working and if they’re the right fit for your business and the role, psychometric testing might be your secret weapon in graduate recruitment.

Used alongside traditional recruitment practices, psychometric testing can help to give insights that wouldn’t be traditionally available in the hiring process that can prove extremely valuable in making the best choice possible when picking graduates for a role.

You can increase the diversity of the talent pool by adopting practices that go against recruitment bias and focus on the skills, personality and suitability of a candidate, rather than their on-paper experience.

By having clear intentions and goals in mind when using psychometric tests in graduate recruitment, you can streamline your processes and potentially save time and money along the way.

If you’d like an easier way to match your job opportunity to the perfect candidates every single time, start hiring through Not a CV today.

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