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Why Use A Psychometric Test?

Thursday 7th October

Why Use A Psychometric Test?

Why do employers trust psychometric tests?

Without generalising too much, most employers use psychometrics to dig a bit deeper into their candidates’ personality, cognition, or – more simply – their ability to do the job in question. 

This extra data point, on top of more run-of-the-mill steps in the recruitment process like CV screening or interviews, can help employers more quickly and easily discover which candidates will be a great fit for a given role.

Beyond simply finding the best person for the job, though, the right psychometric test has the power to level the playing field. By reducing the impact of bias in the hiring process, they can give candidates of all shapes and sizes a fair shot at showing their potential.

But that’s not to say that all assessments are created equal…

Types of assessment


Self-report (traditional)

These are the original psychometric assessments. And, without weighing you down with jargon, they rely on what we call “self-report”. Or, in other words, they ask candidates to tell you about their own personality. 

That means long questionnaires, often with statements that candidates either agree or disagree with. While this seems like a sensible way to gauge their personality, it can lead to faking. Because, after all, there’s a job on the line – meaning candidates will often say what they think you want to hear.

Self-report tests are often quite stressful, simply because they feel like a test. Whenever one of your candidates sees one of these questions/statements, they could think any (or all) of the following: 

  • What does this question mean?
  • What’s it measuring?
  • What’s the right answer?
  • How do I usually behave? 
  • How could I behave, if pressed?

That’s a lot of thoughts squeezed into a few seconds. But it’s not just stressful – it can also impact diversity. That’s because more privileged candidates will often have the resources to better prepare for such tests. This means disadvantaged groups are often adversely impacted, simply because they’re less used to performing under that test anxiety.

Behaviour-based (like Arctic Shores!)

Another way to capture a candidate’s personality, without self-report, is by measuring their natural behaviour in action. That’s what we do at Arctic Shores.

Assessments like ours use tasks that were first established decades ago in the field of neuroscience, bringing them to life in an engaging online experience. The tasks encourage your candidates to make thousands of tiny decisions in real time, with each tap, click and scroll revealing something that we can link to their unique personality.

There are no questions in this type of assessment – also known as game-based assessments or behavioural assessments. That means no faking, and no room for recruiter bias. And, speaking for our assessment at Arctic Shores, 90% of candidates say they enjoy the experience. Which means it’s often better for them, and better for you, too.


Rather than measure candidates’ personality (or what they’ll typically do in certain situations), aptitude tests tend to measure some aspect of their intelligence (in short, what they can do).

There are various studies linking this type of insight to future performance and work, meaning that, just like behaviour, aptitude is a useful data point when it comes to hiring the right people. But there are quite a few different types of aptitude test to choose from – as you’ll see here.

What are other employers looking for?

It depends on the role, of course. But we crunched some numbers, and found five key traits that employers are currently looking for in their candidates (especially in new graduates):

  • Learning agility

The ability to pick things up quickly, and apply them. Handy for any new hire, but especially for grads, who simply have so much more to learn.

  • Proactivity

The habit of getting started on pieces of work without any hold-up or procrastination. It’s a trait that’s become increasingly important over the last year, as more people work from home and so won’t be as closely supervised by managers. 

In short, the ability to bounce back from setbacks or tricky circumstances. Again, particularly useful now that people have less face-time with managers!

  • Ownership & responsibility

This one’s fairly self-explanatory. And, not to sound like a broken record, but this has also grown in importance as WFH becomes BAU.

  • Sociability

Employers are looking for people with the natural sociability to make strong connections at work, even if they’re mostly working from home. That’s a tough ask, but, with cooperation key to innovation, it’s important that candidates look for ways to recreate those ‘watercooler moments’ at home.  

Arctic Shores – seeing more in people with a new way to measure potential:

We’ve touched on how our assessment’s a little different from the rest, in that it measures your candidates’ natural behaviour with no questions at all. If you dare to be a little different, too, then you’ll soon start seeing more in people. So, after better hires? Right this way.

Download our Playbook for CV-less hiring to find out how hiring for potential can transform your hiring process. 

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