How to Use Psychometric Testing in Hiring

Paring down hundreds of candidates to find the right one for a role is never easy. Traditional selection criteria often mean a lot of work for your recruiting team without delivering reliable results. And while degrees and experiences might look good on a resume, they don’t always connect with how a candidate performs on the job. In contrast, psychometric testing offers a glimpse into a person’s performance potential, helping you identify the candidate best suited for the role.

Psychometric testing unlocks insights that can bring clarity to your hiring decisions. Reliable, valid tests can be incorporated at key points of your hiring process to capture necessary data. Your company must also pinpoint the qualities that drive success in each role to make that data actionable.
A 2017 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that nearly one-third (32%) of respondents used personality and behavioral assessments when filling executive-level roles, and 28% of respondents deployed them for middle-management openings.
Here’s what you need to know about how to use psychometric testing in hiring successfully for your company.

What Are Psychometric Tests?

Before adding psychometric tests to your hiring process, you need to know what they are—and what they aren’t.
Psychometric tests are scientifically valid and reliable assessments designed to measure a job applicant’s aptitudes, behaviors, and responses to job-related scenarios. They’re not simply personality tests. Each psychometric assessment is custom-generated to measure specific criteria that predict performance on the job.

But not all psychometric tests meet those rigorous scientific standards. Exercise caution when choosing a vendor for your psychometric testing needs.

Using tests that aren’t sound can result in lousy hiring choices and put you at risk of litigation. Work with an industrial-organizational (IO) psychologist to identify vendors whose tests meet rigorous scientific standards.

3 Benefits of Psychometric Assessments

Valid and reliable psychometric assessments provide many benefits, from helping you make the best possible hiring decision to improving the candidate experience. Leveraging these benefits supports your talent strategy.

Capturing Relevant Personal Characteristics

Psychometric testing captures data regarding each candidate’s fit for the role. Assessments look at factors such as skills, values, and behaviors that can predict actual on-the-job performance.
Hiring managers aren’t always skilled interviewers, but they do understand the role. By providing a comprehensive candidate profile based on the job’s success factors, hiring managers can make more informed and fair hiring decisions.

Screening Candidates In, Not Out

Assessments allow you to screen the highest matching candidates in rather than excluding candidates based on arbitrary criteria that don’t predict performance. Using a process called shortlisting, recruiters can easily rank candidates based on how they scored on job-related tests.
Once the top 20% of candidates have been isolated based on their test performances, recruiters and hiring managers can then begin applying additional criteria. The next step is to identify candidates ready to move into the interview stage.

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

Psychometric tests can provide a report that includes in-depth insights into each candidate’s personality, skills, behaviors, and motivations. This report can then be shared with the candidate to offer insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

Stop rejecting candidates with a form letter. Instead, provide them a customized report that they can then use to better position themselves in the job market. For the candidates you hire, share a comprehensive psychometric report to their new manager, who can help them identify opportunities for professional growth in their role.

3 Types of Psychometric Tests

There are three basic categories of psychometric tests. Used in tandem, these test types can compile a clear profile to guide your hiring decisions.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests include cognitive ability tests (verbal and numerical reasoning), as well as skill-based assessments specific to the role. These tests are most common in highly-specialized roles, like engineering or coding.

Behavioral Assessments

When candidates hear the term “psychometric testing,” they most often think of behavioral assessments. These include personality questionnaires and tests assessing for behavioral traits like creativity and innovation.

Situational Judgment Tests

Situational judgment tests mimic real-life scenarios. They’re highly customized to put candidates in specific scenarios they may encounter on the job, measure their responses, and rank their abilities to overcome job-related challenges. These tests also give candidates a glimpse into what life in the role looks like.

How Can Psychometric Tests Inform Hiring Decisions?

Psychometric tests can offer a much more in-depth and scientifically sound exploration of each candidate’s abilities than traditional assessment methods like resumes and interviews. But before you can reap the benefits of psychometric testing, you need to know what you’re looking for in the first place.

Aligning Job Analysis With Test Results

In order to use psychometric testing effectively, you need to know exactly what you’re measuring. What aptitudes and behaviors actually predict success in the role you are hiring for?
To find these answers, you’ll need to conduct a job analysis for each role. Job analysis is an objective examination of the responsibilities of each role and the skills needed to meet the role's objectives. Benchmarking high-performing employees in the role can help isolate specific skills, behaviors, and traits correlated with success.
With this analysis in hand, you can work with an IO psychologist or your vendor to customize assessments to measure these factors in candidates.

Values Alignment vs. Culture Fit

Psychometric testing can also assess a candidate’s values and determine if they’re aligned with the company’s core values. Living the company’s code of ethics comes more easily to employees with high values alignment.
Be careful not to use assessments for culture fit, though, which can invite bias into your hiring process. “Culture fit” typically refers to the norms, behaviors, beliefs, and perspectives that dominate your workplace. But hiring candidates who share these traits only replicates homogeneity in your workforce.
Often, there’s a lack of clarity around what falls under culture fit. In the absence of defined criteria, recruiters and hiring managers will fill in the blanks on their own. This can be abused by hiring managers who may hire the candidates they get along with the best regardless of their skills and personal traits.
These factors aren’t relevant to the job. Privileging them in the name of “culture fit” may result in losing opportunities to hire candidates who could bring diverse backgrounds and experiences into your organization.

Values alignment is often confused with culture fit, but they are not the same.

Your values are the core tenets of your company that align your mission and vision with daily activities. Assessing values will help you identify candidates who value the same traits as your company, such as integrity, transparency, or belonging.
Culture fit refers to the elements of culture that happen accidentally rather than the values that you have intentionally curated at your company.

How Do You Incorporate Assessments?

For decades, psychometric testing has been administered in-person with pencil and paper, but those days are long over. Assessments today are accessible online through digital assessment centers. This accessibility makes it easy to incorporate assessments at any point in the hiring process.

Hiring Stages to Include Psychometric Testing

Assessments are often (and most effectively) incorporated at two stages of the hiring process.


When included at the application stage, assessments provide basic performance data to help you identify the top candidates to move into the next stage. This is especially helpful in high-volume hiring situations, when you may have hundreds of applications to sort through. Being able to rank candidates based on objective, job-related criteria helps you quickly move the best candidates forward.


More in-depth assessments at the screening and interview stage provide detailed data on candidate performance in the role. This data, combined with scorecard results from a structured interview, offers a nuanced picture of each candidate’s abilities. At this stage, once you’ve narrowed down the candidates with the highest skills alignment, you can also look at values alignment as additional criteria.

Preserving Candidate Experience

It is a common myth that candidates are turned off by psychometric testing in the hiring process.
In fact, companies ranked highest for candidate experience used behavioral and/or personality assessments 18% more often and simulated job tasks 25% more often than the average of all companies, according to Talent Board’s 2021 North American Candidate Experience Research Report.
Because assessments are so easily accessible to candidates, they don’t disrupt the candidate experience. Candidates also appreciate the opportunity to showcase their job-relevant skills,  an indicator that your decision will be made based on fair and objective criteria.
Providing candidates with an assessment report can further increase perceptions of fairness, since they can see how their profile aligns—or doesn’t align—with the role. The test report can also provide candidates with insights they can use to identify and strengthen their skills and overcome their weaknesses.

Reap the Benefits of Psychometric Testing

Once your hiring process is optimized for psychometric testing, your company will begin to experience improvements. By assessing candidates based on personal traits aligned with the role, you improve the likelihood of hiring employees who will be engaged and productive. That will increase your retention and drive down the cost of turnover.
Take steps towards implementing psychometric tests in your hiring process to improve hiring outcomes and ultimately drive better business results.

Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's assessment solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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