An introduction to Psychometrics

While so-called ‘intelligence tests’ have been around since the early 20th century, psychometrics weren’t practically applied until the Second World War. Recognising the value of finding the right people for leadership roles, the UK government pioneered psychometric tests to identify those with the skills necessary to spearhead the war effort.

In the many decades since, they’ve instead become an indispensable tool in the war for talent. More than 80% of the Fortune 500 and three quarters of the UK Times 100 now use psychometric tests to sift through millions of applications annually. Their goal? The same as that of the War Office Selection Board all those years ago: to more accurately predict which candidates can help them reach their objectives.

As the field has evolved from the preserve of wartime governments to a fixture of corporate hiring, expectations have grown to match a deepening list of challenges. You may recognise the culprits: hiring bias, candidate faking, over-long recruitment campaigns and, perhaps most obviously, the continued hiring of the wrong people for the job. This expectation has led to innovation. While the majority of providers you’d find in a Google search continue to focus on more traditional questionnaires, those incorporating advanced fields like neuroscience and AI are today generating more and more interest. The world of psychometrics has, in many ways, never been richer.

But the growing list of so-called solutions creates its own problems…

Where do you start? Which do you choose?
What are the risks? Why bother at all?

We’ve tried to create a resource that answers these questions, and more, to help you distinguish what good psychometrics are; why investing in a solution that’s valid, reliable and predictive is truly worthwhile.

It’s also designed to cater for all levels of experience. Whether you’ve never heard of psychometrics or you’re a trained professional, there’s something here for everyone. We’ve tried to break the piece down into digestible chunks, so you need only read what’s relevant to you and your business.

We hope that you’ll come away with greater insight into the state of psychometric testing as it stands today: the benefits, drawbacks and innovations – all of which need to be considered when entering the market. This way, you can hold your psychometrics to a higher standard, and be confident in their effectiveness.

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