What is a psychometric test or assessment?
A psychometric test or assessment measure psychological characteristics such as personality traits, behavioural styles, cognitive abilities, motivations etc. The word psychometric literally means psychological measurement. Thomas assessments measure a wide range of different characteristics, learn more about our psychometric assessment tools here.
The definition of 'psychometric' combines the words 'psyche', meaning 'mind', as well as the word 'meter', meaning 'measure'. Therefore, a psychometric test or assessment is a tool that measures a person's psychological characteristics. For example, psychometric tests and assessments can measure characteristics such as personality traits, cognitive abilities, behavioural styles and more.
There is a distinction between a psychometric test and a psychometric assessment. The main difference is that a test measures your maximum performance using tasks that have right or wrong answers. An assessment will typically use a questionnaire-format, asking you to rate your agreement levels with certain statements, or perhaps indicate how frequently you feel a certain way.
Examples of psychometric tests include cognitive ability tests, aptitude tests, logic tests and reasoning tests. Examples of psychometric assessments include personality assessments, emotional intelligence assessments and behavioural preference assessments. Psychometric tests and assessments aim to put your scores or responses into context, for example comparing you to other people. A test or assessment that compares you to others is known as a norm-referenced (normative) test; how did your performance or responses compare to a comparative group of people, like the working population of your country. A self-referencing (Ipsative) test or assessment will compare your performance or responses to your individual performance or response patterns. A test or assessment that focuses on a very specific set of skills or knowledge is called domain-referencing. An example would be a driving test as you have to achieve a pre-established level of performance and knowledge to meet set criteria.
Best practice when using psychometrics
There are best practice guidelines for using psychometric tests and assessments in an occupational context. Guidelines for the best practice use of psychometric assessments are developed and published by regulatory bodies such as the British Psychological Society (BPS), the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA), the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and so on.
Should you trust a company offering a psychometric test free of charge? In most cases, the answer is probably no, so it's important to be able to spot the characteristics of a bad psychometric test to avoid the potentially negative impact caused by an unreliable test.
The internet is inundated with personality quizzes which claim to tell you something about yourself and how you behave in certain situations, whether that be at work, at home, at school or during a match. In reality, the majority of these personality tests are created by individuals with no scientific background, meaning that they have no value as a tool for measuring personality. The sole purpose of these quizzes is as a form of entertainment designed simply to create a buzz on social media platforms, rather than as a tool for measuring a person's behaviours or personality. The term 'free psychometric test' is all too commonly used to describe these quizzes, creating a misconception of what you should expect from a true psychometric test.
Free online psychometric tests will rarely be offered by trusted assessment providers, so tread carefully when signing up with a company offering you free tests. By offering unreliable tests to candidates, colleagues or friends, you could be leading them to believe a false misconception about what they are like.
Psychometric tests come in all different shapes and sizes, which can make it hard to distinguish the good from the bad. Be sure you look out for test credentials to see the reliability of the assessment you are looking to complete. At Thomas, our behavioural assessment (PPA) and emotional intelligence assessment (TEIQue) are registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS) which means they meet the technical criteria required for a psychometric test. It's the role of the BPS to ensure they regulate test publishers in the industry, so following their advice will help you to be sure the test you’re looking at is legitimate.
Although trusted providers rarely offer free online psychometric tests as part of their services, you will often find free trials available to help you to make a more informed decisions about what test you would like to use. Trialling an online psychometric test will give you more certainty that the test is robust and accurate and can help you to compare different test providers and their offerings.
We understand the importance of choosing the right tool to help with your people decisions, which is why we offer our PPA psychometric test free as a trial. This online psychometric test can be completed in 8 minutes and will allow you to experience what your people will undertake if they are to complete the assessment.
Why not trial a psychometric test free with us today? Take our PPA assessment here.