So what exactly are psychometric tests? The word psychometric comes from two Greek words, psyche and metric, which when literally translated means ‘measurement of the mind’ (Psy•cho•met•rics (sī′kə-mĕt′rĭks) n.).
In technical terms, psychometrics is an aspect of psychology that looks at the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests so that specific psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, motivation and personality can be measured.
Put simply, this means they’re a way of measuring someone’s skills, abilities or personality, according to a defined set of criteria that a company has identified as important when evaluating potential new hires.
The two most common types of psychometric assessment are:
These are designed to objectively measure someone’s cognitive ability. This means assessing the extent to which someone will be able to work in different ways as required by the job. They include:
Numerical reasoning tests which assess someone’s ability to interpret numerical data and challenge someone’s ability to make correct inferences and decisions based on their understanding and evaluation of data.
Verbal reasoning tests measure an individual’s ability to understand written information and to evaluate the logic of the arguments presented. These types of tests focus on using and evaluating the information provided rather than the ability to use language, grammar and correct spelling.
Inductive reasoning (or logical reasoning) tests measure an individual’s ability to draw logical inferences and understand the relationships between various concepts regardless of any guidance or acquired knowledge.
Personality questionnaires are also known as work style preference questionnaires and they’re designed to gain insight into someone’s typical behavioural style and how they prefer to approach different situations.
Recruitment selection processes usually have a number of interviews planned into the process. Many employers, like us, use additional tools to support us in selecting the best people for the role and those who are more likely to meet the demands of the role.
We and other employers spend considerable time identifying the key skills and behaviours needed in the role and then matching them to the most appropriate tools that will support us to assess these. Therefore the nature of the role will determine which type of assessment an employer uses.
PwC’s student recruitment selection tools are carefully selected for use by Occupational Psychologists, because they support us to measure the specific skills and behaviours which we have identified as critical to success within the company.
Psychometric tests, such as numerical, verbal and inductive reasoning, are examples of tools used alongside interviews in PwC’s student recruitment process.
They allow PwC and other employers to measure abilities that are not always assessed in other parts of a selection process. They’re carefully designed and rigorously tested to make sure they are:
An objective measure of someone’s abilities
Fair for all people applying to the role
We’ve identified a range of behaviours we need our people to have to be successful in their job. We call these behaviours the PwC Professional, and this is our global leadership framework. We use it to assess people throughout our recruitment processes as well as within our internal performance review processes. In particular the work style preference questionnaire helps us in the following ways:
We’re not looking for clones of the same person for a specific role. Our assessments are used to better understand how well suited an individual is to the working style we need at PwC, and how they may cope with the job requirements.
Quite simply, like other companies, we employ a series of assessments as a means to identify those individuals with the abilities and working styles who will be more likely to successfully perform the requirements of the role. This gives us reassurance that the individual has the potential to succeed in the role, grow into more complex roles as they progress with their career at PwC and support the organisation to grow.
Let’s be honest, that’s great for the company and it’s even better for your long term career and development!
Remember, selection is a two-way process; it’s important that both you and the company make an informed choice about your future.