Validity in psychometrics: What it means and why it’s important in pre-employment testing

Validity in psychometrics: What it means and why it’s important in pre-employment testing

Validity psychometric important pre-employment testing

Psychometrics is a critical part of pre-employment testing that determines the suitability of your candidates to a given role. Psychometric tests analyze skills, motivations and preferences, and general personalities.

Although psychometrics are central to pre-employment testing, they needs to be conducted correctly: You must ensure you only use valid tests in your testing processes.

Validity is essential in psychometrics because it defines how effective a test will be and tells you if it fits with your pre-employment testing process.

The more valid a psychometric test is, the more effective it will be at identifying skilled candidates.

In this article, we will explain what validity in psychometrics is, how to know if a test is valid, and why it is vital in pre-employment testing.

Table of contents:

What is psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing is the process of assessing how a candidate fits into a role. This process reviews candidates for relevant skill sets, reasoning abilities, and situational-judgment skills

Essentially, a psychometric test evaluates the cognitive ability and cognitive skills of candidates by asking them a series of questions they must answer correctly to pass.

Psychometric tests must be accurate, time-saving, and valid to help recruiters determine the most suitable candidates for a role.

You can classify psychometric tests into cognitive, aptitude, and personality tests. Each of these specialize in evaluating a group of skills necessary for a given role.

Aptitude or cognitive tests examine how well your candidates can think logically and creatively to provide solutions to a problem. They measure the critical thinking, logical, verbal, and numerical reasoning skills of candidates.

On the other hand, a personality test evaluates how candidates react in certain situations. Personality tests help identify candidates with the required character and behavioral traits for a role.

Personality tests review candidates by evaluating their essential qualities, behaviors, and their motivations using job simulations. Examples of such tests include the DISC test, The 16 types test, and the Enneagram test.

With over 78% of candidates lying on their resumes, psychometric tests offer a reliable way to determine how skilled your candidates are, as well as to see their true personalities.

What are the properties of psychometric testing?

No matter which kind, all psychometric tests must possess certain properties to be effective. These qualities determine if the results will be accurate and usable. Here are the three properties of psychometric tests:

1. Reliability

The reliability of a psychometric test defines how accurate the results will be and how precisely it can measure a skill or quality. 

To determine a psychometric test’s reliability, you can administer more than one version of the test to a candidate or assign the same test at different times.

Vastly different results signify low reliability, whereas similar results suggest the test is consistent and reliable.

Reliability is a core property of psychometric testing that determines if the test is valid or not. In other words, for a test to be valid it must first be reliable.

2. Norming

Norming is the process of identifying norms in a group of assessment results. A psychometric test typically points out trends among candidates’ performances.

In essence, norming in psychometrics enables you to spot the talent you’re looking for as a recruiter.

3. Validity

Validity refers to how accurately the test evaluates or measures a skill or trait. Is property represents the relationship between a test and the quality it measures and, thus, is a critical factor in pre-employment testing.

While validity might seem similar to reliability, there is a key difference: Reliability reflects how consistent and accurate the results of a particular test are, whereas validity checks if the test measures what it should.

As such, a test could be reliable without it being valid.

You can determine the validity of a test by comparing insights obtained from research conducted on a test. Validity in psychometrics focuses on describing the quality the test is supposed to measure and how well it measures that quality.

Properties psychometric testing

What are the types of validity in psychometrics?

Measuring the validity of a psychometric test may be more difficult than expected because there are different types. Fortunately, we’ve explained the various types of validity and how to measure them below:

1. Content validity

A psychometric test with content validity has all the required elements to measure a particular quality effectively. To measure the content validity of a test, you need to determine what the test measures and then check if the test is able to measure that quality.

2. Construct validity

Construct validity is the most common type of validity. This determines if a test measures what it claims to measure. 

Although assessing construct validity can be tricky, since it requires some research, you can still review it by comparing the test to insights from previously existing tests.

Construct validity isn’t quantifiable because it mainly measures qualities that you can’t directly observe. However, it measures constructs like intelligence and motivation.

3. Face validity

This type of validity checks if a psychometric test looks like it measures what it is supposed to measure. This doesn’t require rigorous work to define, as you only need to observe the variables that appear to measure a particular skill or quality.

However, face validity isn’t the best way to determine how valid a test is. Instead, it’s best to pair it with other forms of validity when reviewing your psychometric tests.

Criterion-related validity or predictive validity tells you how well a test can predict a particular outcome. A psychometric test has criterion validity when it proves itself effective at reading the indicators or signs of a construct to predict a result accurately.

For example, the results from a communication test should tell you if a candidate would communicate appropriately with others, while a DISC test should tell you the personality of your candidate.

Why is validity in psychometrics so important in pre-employment testing?

The aim of any pre-employment test is to point you towards candidates who best suit a role. Validity in psychometrics determines how well a test can achieve this aim.

Types validity psychometrics

With over 56% of recruiters using pre-employment tests, the need for valid psychometric tests is higher than ever. A valid psychometric test allows you to thoroughly evaluate your candidates for the skills and personality traits you’re looking for during recruitment.

In addition, validity in psychometrics ensures that your pre-employment testing process is efficient and the results are reliable. And a valid psychometric test will help you get to know your candidates even before the interview process.

Valid psychometric testing is key to effective recruitment

Although psychometric tests often have limitations, using a valid test averts those shortcomings and ensures that you can hire the best candidates. Consequently, finding and applying a valid psychometric test should be your priority during pre-employment testing.

Fortunately, TestGorilla is a platform trusted to deliver valid and reliable pre-employment assessments for your recruitment. Our tests help you avoid mis-hiring and inefficiency while saving time and cost.

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