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Ten points to bear in mind when choosing a psychometric test

15 Apr 2011

Ten points to bear in mind when choosing a psychometric test

From personality tests and career guidance tests to tests that measure IQ and EQ, there's a wide range of psychometric tests currently available on the market. If you're trying to find the tests that best suit your company's needs, here are ten pointers you should bear in mind:

1. Each test has a target audience

Keep both your audience and your objectives in mind. A well-defined target profile will help you select the test or tests that are most appropriate to the position you are trying to fill. For example, the Reasoning Test (an IQ test) is aimed at defining a more technical profile, whereas the Emotional Intelligence Test - Corporate, may be a better choice when you're recruiting for junior management positions. The same principle applies with personality tests; some are designed to be more management-orientated than others. Your best strategy is to choose a publisher that offers a wide range of tests from which you can choose two or three core tests.

2. Choose a scientifically validated test

The development and validation of a single psychometric test takes an average of four years of intensive research. Validity studies are carried out according to international psychometric standards and you should look for a reference to these in the user's guide of any test you intend to use. If the user's guide for a particular test contains only general information and has no reference to specific statistics, then the validity of this test is questionable. You should also look to see when a test was last updated; in order for any test to remain relevant, it should be revised approximately every three years.

3. Choose a test that's available online

Nowadays, with Web 2.0 technology, tests that yield immediate results have a clear advantage over those that don't – and online tests are every bit as reliable as the traditional, paper versions. Online tests will help you to save both time and money by allowing you to evaluate candidates and employees remotely.

4. Make sure you get customer support

Opting for online tests doesn't mean that you have to fend for yourself if you encounter a problem. But choosing a publisher with a reliable and easily accessible customer support service is a must.

5. Choose a test that's available in several languages

If your company has branches in more than one country, or you work with people from different language groups, you may need to consider tests that are available in a choice of languages. Choose a publisher that offers this option, but be aware that tests need to be re-validated after they have been translated – the validation of a test in its original language is not enough to authenticate it in its translated form.

6. Look for a social desirability indicator

Make sure a test cannot be "outwitted" by a candidate who, consciously or subconsciously, seeks to give an overly favourable account of their personality or skills. Look at the way in which the questionnaire is structured, the transparency of the individual questions, and, most importantly, the presence of a social desirability indicator.

7. Look for a personalised report

To prevent interpretational mistakes and to offer effective feedback, tests should come with clear, written reports which give unambiguous results accompanied by graphs and a summary.

8. Choose a test you can configure yourself

Reputable psychometric tests allow you to set your own parameters or compile a list of skills that you require to fill a specific position. This is a particularly effective feature that helps you to get the best out of any test, whether you're using it for recruitment or to manage internal mobility.

9.The training component

Some publishers require you to take a training course in their tests before you can use them while others offer an optional training seminar. But whether it's mandatory or elective, you should take full advantage of this training stage in order to better understand the administration of psychometric tests and interpret them more effectively.

10. Financial Investment

The best tests aren't necessarily the most expensive ones. Online versions can help you to keep your costs low while still maintaining the highest quality. Publishers often offer the choice of a single payment method or an unlimited subscription. Opting for an initial single payment gives you time to think more about the product, to take the test yourself, and even to try it on colleagues or volunteer candidates before completely committing yourself.

Patrick Leguide
Founder and CEO
CEO and founder of Central Test, Patrick has two degrees, in Cognitive Psychology and in Management. He is the head of the Research and Innovation department, and is actively involved in the creation of tests.