Psychometric psychology in recruitment: Everything you need to know about psychometric testing

Psychometric psychology in recruitment: Everything you need to know about psychometric testing

psychometric psychology

Today, making accurate predictions about new hires’ potential and future success is the cornerstone of any HR professional’s work – but such predictions are fairly difficult to make. 

Thankfully, psychometric tests help tremendously with this task, which is why they’re becoming an increasingly important tool in the toolbox of recruiters and hiring managers. But what exactly is psychometric testing? And how can you use psychometric psychology in recruitment to make better hiring decisions? 

In this article, we’ll explain how you can use psychometric testing to strengthen and simplify your hiring process.

We’ll also explain what psychometric tests can help you measure. You can use them to assess anything from culture-add potential to motivation, critical thinking, attention to detail, and a lot more.

But first, let’s go over what psychometric psychology is and why it can make a difference in recruitment. 

Table of contents

What is psychometric psychology? 

Psychometric psychology, or simply psychometrics, refers to the branch of psychology that focuses on the theory and methods of psychological measurement and on testing subjects to assess and measure their overall skills, predispositions, and potential.

psychometric psychology definition

Or, simply put, psychometrics quantifies a person’s: 

  • Knowledge and intelligence
  • Cognitive abilities and skills 
  • Personality traits
  • Behavior and attitude

Psychometrics has a wide range of applications in fields like recruitment, organizational psychology, clinical psychology, education, psychiatry, and more. It combines a vast array of activities, such as:

  • Designing reliable and valid tests
  • Administering tests in a consistent manner
  • Measuring and handling data
  • Combining and comparing datasets
  • Visualizing information

However, one of the most important applications of psychometric testing is in recruitment: You can use psychometric testing in your hiring process to make more accurate hiring decisions.

How can you use psychometric testing in recruitment?

Psychometrics’ data-driven approach is particularly useful in recruitment: Employers and hiring managers can use psychometric tests to predict candidates’ performance potential, assess their knowledge and aptitude, and decide whether their values align with the organization’s.

You can use psychometric tests in recruitment to: 

  • Evaluate candidates’ overall knowledge and skills in a specific area
  • Identify the most skilled candidates and those who are the most motivated and share the same values
  • Assess applicants’ general cognitive abilities (e.g., problem-solving, numerical reasoning, mechanical reasoning)
  • Predict candidates’ job performance and growth potential

In fact, psychometric testing’s role is not limited to talent acquisition but can also be used at every stage of the employee’s journey as a part of the organization’s overall talent management strategy. 

how can you use psychometric testing in recruitment

With the help of psychometric testing, you can empower your employees to reach their full potential and support your learning and development and succession planning initiatives

Even better, you don’t need to hire a psychologist for all this; you can simply use a skills-testing platform like TestGorilla to get access to hundreds of scientifically validated tests you can easily administer to future and current employees.

What can psychometric tests measure? 

Psychometric tests are used to measure a wide range of things, such as: 

what can psychometric tests measure

Personality traits

If you’d like to know more about your applicants’ personalities, psychometric tests are your best bet. One in five Fortune 1000 firms is already using tests to measure applicants’ personalities in the hiring process.

Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t use personality tests alone to make a hiring decision. Instead, they can help you better understand your applicants’ attitudes and behavior. You can then use this information to supplement all the other data you have collected during recruitment. You can choose from our many personality and culture tests, such as our Big 5 (OCEAN) test, DISC test, or 16 Types test. You can find all of these tests in our Test Library.

Cognitive ability and soft skills

Cognitive skills are essential for success in any job role. You can use one of the many cognitive-ability tests we have in our test library to assess critical thinking, problem-solving, numerical reasoning, and more.

Motivation, cultural alignment, ethics, and more

You can use psychometric tests to evaluate areas that are typically more difficult to assess, such as motivation, culture-add potential, and business ethics. In fact, most companies don’t know how to measure applicants’ motivation consistently, which is exactly why we’ve created a test for this.

In it, both the hiring manager and test-taker answer a series of questions to determine whether there’s a good fit between what the company offers and what the applicant is looking for.

You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned any technical, job-specific skills here. That’s because technical skills aren’t strictly in the domain of psychometrics; instead, they fit under the larger category of “pre-employment tests.” 

For the best results, however, we strongly advise you to use both types of tests together to thoroughly assess applicants’ cognitive abilities and personality traits in addition to their job-related skills. 

What are the different psychometric assessment methods out there?

Tests aren’t the only type of psychometric assessment you can use. 

So, what are the different psychometric assessment methods out there? There are three main categories

  • Observation
  • Psychometric tests
  • Projective techniques

Let’s look at each one in more detail. 


Observation simply means observing what an individual does. This can be in either a controlled setting or the person’s natural environment. 

In recruitment, only the first type of observation is available to HR staff since you have no way of observing an applicant in a different setting from the one they define (at the office or via an online video call). 

You can also use participant observation. In this method, you have a person complete a specific task in cooperation with others. You can observe their performance and interactions as they work on the task.

Psychometric tests

Tests, like the ones mentioned in the previous section, are what most people associate with psychometrics. You can ask applicants to take one or more tests and then evaluate and score them, either manually or automatically. 

Tests give you a deeper understanding of candidates’ personalities, preferences, behavior, cognitive abilities, and more. They can also help you evaluate someone’s overall motivation and growth potential. 

Projective techniques

One of the most widely known projective assessment methods is the Rorschach test, in which participants need to say what a series of inkblots represent to them. Other projective assessments may use ambiguous images, situations, or words to prompt a response from the subject. 

Projective techniques remain controversial, and many dispute their scientific validity and reliability. For this reason, they aren’t widely used in recruitment.

Make better hires with the help of psychometric testing

Although you shouldn’t use personality tests on their own to make hiring decisions, psychometric testing can be an invaluable tool in gaining deeper insight into your candidates’ attitudes, their personalities, and the factors that motivate them. 

In addition, cognitive ability tests can help you reliably evaluate your applicants’ cognitive skills and general aptitude and make sure they have the right soft skills for the job. 

At TestGorilla, we understand the importance of using well-designed psychometric tests in recruitment. Take a look through our test library, which has hundreds of tests you can use to improve your hiring process.

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