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Psychometric tests

Let’s understand what psychometric assessments measure!

eye 329 Published on 24 May. 2023
tag #HR advice

Do you use psychometric assessments to recruit, orient, coach or conduct skills assessments? It's a great way to make your business more reliable! With these assessments, you are able to seek relevant but also decisive information to fuel discussions and guide reflections. Thus, you may have noticed that the decisions that follow are more thought-out.

Yet, like many test users, you may be using them without understanding the underlying principles of psychometrics. Can you tell the difference between an interest, personality and aptitude test? Or which one to use in recruitment? And how to combine them to enhance the depth and complexity of the candidate’s profile? How often should the assessments be taken again? How to anticipate the potential for development based on the results?

So many fundamental questions that seem like there are no straightforward answers. However, by better understanding the scope of each assessment, you could get much more out of these assessments. Let's take a look at some of the basic concepts.


A little exercise: take the first pencil around you and a piece of paper to write the word “behaviour”… Which hand did you use the pencil with? Most likely with your dominant hand. This is also most likely the same hand you use for sports or other complex activities. It is an automatic behaviour. Now use the pencil using the other hand and redo the same exercise... More difficult isn't it? In addition to taking longer, when using the pencil with the non-dominant hand, there is less precision and the pencil is difficult to use. In short, you feel less comfortable, are less proud of yourself, and decreased efficiency.

This exercise is an excellent illustration of what personality is: a preference for one behaviour over another. This preferential behaviour is pleasant, easy and natural. It requires little effort and yields highly satisfactory results. Personality assessments measure these natural preferences. These assessments link your natural tendencies with professions to determine which careers are best suited for you and allow you to thrive with your natural abilities.

What are you doing this weekend?

Visualise for a moment: Forget your working week and plan for this weekend, or better, for your next vacation. What activity would you like to indulge in? Imagine yourself doing this activity and anticipate the pleasure it gives you... Perhaps you have a smile when you think about it or you already feel the excitement of being able to do it...

With this exercise, it is the interests that have been solicited. Imagining yourself doing an exciting activity may evoke a sense of happiness within you. The same applies to professional interests. Choosing and being able to work in a  job that you love, in an environment that you love, provides fulfilment and generates ambition. A professional interest is being attracted to a job activity and in addition to giving meaning to what we do, wanting to invest in it because it brings us satisfaction. Interest assessments measure these desires and attractions in order to link them to the professions that are likely to excite us the most.

Why is the neighbour ringing the doorbell?

Imagine this: during an off day, your neighbour rings the doorbell. They have a favour to ask of you and you are the only one able to help them. Why would they need you? In other words, what skills or abilities do you possess that set you apart from others?

This exercise highlights your skills, i.e., what you are good at and what distinguishes you from others. Associated with expertise and interpersonal skills, skills are capabilities and even strengths that we have and can improve throughout our lives. Aptitude assessments assess these achievements, whether in terms of emotional intelligence with soft skills, business skills or professional attitudes. These assessments additionally determine the evolutionary potential of a person.

In summary: personality measures your natural tendencies and estimates your level of performance on the job. Interests identify what you like to do and the tasks that motivated you to stay engaged. Abilities reveal your talents and pinpoint areas for improvement to develop new ones.

Although you now know a little more about psychometric assessments, there’s more to psychometrics that you can explore further. For example, did you know that aptitudes evolve throughout life, but personality stabilises from the end of adolescence? Or when a significant transition in our lives such as retirement, can reverse our dominant interests? The world of psychometrics is fascinating, as is the use of its assessments. So do not hesitate to contact Central Test to discover the many features and potentialities of these assessment tools.

Helen Simard

Consultant psychologist (career guidance and psychometrics)

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