Psychometric testing relies on standardized measures to assess a job seeker’s aptitude, interest, ability, personality, motivation and leadership skills. Each of these tests is designed keeping reliability and validity in mind. Jobseekers should be aware of the different categories of tests out there which can be used to assess them prior to employment. All psychometric tests have different levels of complexity and difficulty.

Personality tests

Characteristics, temperament and intellect as well as traits define a personality of an individual. Employers screening job seekers for a particular role will examine if there is a match between candidate characteristics and job requirements.

16PF (Personality Factor) Questionnaire: Raymond B. Cattell

This is a multiple choice personality test. Developed by Raymond Cattell, it focuses in 16 primary and 5 secondary traits. With 185 items, this test is a paper and pencil or computer based test. It can be scored using a key along with a manual to interpret the scores. The average time taken to complete the test is around 30-40 minutes.

Another positive feature of this test is that it is easy to understand and composed in simple language. The 16PF test is used to assess job performance and workplace success.The 16PF also helps job seekers to find a best fit between their capabilities and the work requirements.

The 16 primary personality traits which are measured by this personality questionnaire include:

  • Warmth
  • Reasoning
  • Emotional Stability
  • Conscientiousness
  • Dominance
  • Liveliness
  • Extroversion
  • Sensitivity
  • Vigilance
  • Abstract Thinking
  • Need for Privacy
  • Apprehension
  • Self Reliance
  • Perfectionism
  • Tension
  • Openness to Change

The test is based on the premise that a person’s basic traits remain stable throughout life and are fairly reliable predictors of his success in the workplace. This test is not timed to ensure that people can answer questions as precisely and accurately as possible.

Five global or secondary traits include:

  • Relating to Others
  • Thinking Style
  • Structure and Flexibility
  • Management of Pressure
  • Influence and Collaboration

MBTI/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The MBTI is a personality assessment tool that seeks to ensure effective people are selected in an organization. It detects how people discern and perceive the world around them. This helps organizations analyze whether a candidate will gel with the internal culture and his/her skill building capacity.

The test was developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1960s at a time when women psychologists were just beginning to impact the field. The test categorizes personality traits into the following:

  • Extraversion or introversion
  • Thinking or feeling
  • Judging or perceiving
  • Sensing or Intuition

The MBTI is a test which enables the employers to detect if potential candidates have the right blend of skills for the job. For example, a ‘Thinking’ type person will value objectivity and logic while a ‘Feeling’ type person will value harmony in work relationships, compassion and empathy. The extrovert may do very well in work situations which require interacting with others for example sales team, while an introvert may excel in solitary work settings for example, research scientists in a laboratory.

Aptitude, Ability and Interest Tests

Aptitude measures the capacity of a person to perform certain work related tasks, interest tests assess where a job seeker’s area of excellence lies and ability tests measure strengths and capabilities.

GATB: General Aptitude Test Battery

The US Employment Service has designed this test battery- it a multiple ability assessment tool developed under the aegis of the Department of labour. The most recent measure of the GATB class of tests is the Ability Profiler.

The GATB is a battery of 12 tests measuring 9 aptitudes. This is a vocational aptitude test, used for applicant referrals in educational institutions. The Ability Profiler is the most recent tool of this test and is used for recruitment and selection..

The Ability Profiler has 11 tests which are individually timed to measure 9 sets of work related abilities:

  • Verbal Ability
  • AR/ Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Computation
  • Spatial Ability
  • Form Perception
  • Clerical Perception
  • Motor Coordination
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Finger Dexterity

The Ability Profiler is currently in use as per the Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network/O*NET Career Exploration tools. The O*NET helps individual job seekers to identify the abilities, values, and finding the work position best suited to these.

Conclusion: Testing for Job Success

The ultimate aim of these tests is to identify star performers who will excel in the work setting. Job seekers should view these tests as their ally in a work selection and recruitment process. While the usual tests for screening candidates during a job interview range from personality to numerical and abstract reasoning as well as verbal reasoning, these are classic psychometric tests which every job seeker needs to be aware of before stepping out into the corporate world.

About Nishant Muralidharan:

Nishant Muralidharan is a Senior Associate, Insight Marketer in Mettl, one of India’s largest, fastest growing assessment and skill measurement company. Among other things, Nishant has taken to developing strong content around insights for the HR fraternity derivative of his communication with professionals of the field. He is also a published author in the fantasy genre, releasing a book titled the ‘Tempestatem’ in 2015.