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Psychometric Testing in the Workplace

Updated on June 6, 2013

People are valuable, one of the most important resources in our organisation and are the basis to gaining competitive edge. The heightened realization that human resource strategies that are professionally applied are practical in terms of a business’ goals as well as employee goals is a major stepping-stone toward business performance (Melamed & Jackson, 1995) and is a key indicator of how popular psychometric testing is becoming. Psychometric tests are able to assess an employee’s general aptitude, intelligence and personality (Basu, n.d.) and with careful and informed use, psychometric testing can create significant value for money contributions towards Indian-Pacific Airlines’ success. Psychometric testing will aid in avoiding the wasted time, effort and money that are the creations of directionless staff development and incomplete selection processes (Gray-Roberts, 2010), however, factors relating to interpretation and professionalism must be taken into account for these tests to be truly effective. The diversity of roles and organisations amongst the workforce has created many unique opportunities, testing potential employees for a position has become a regular step through current recruitment (Melamed & Jackson, 1995), a step which will enable any organisation to make informed decisions towards efficient task management.

The crux of Psychometric Testing

A feature central to the allure of psychometric testing is that applicants do not provide correct or incorrect answers but are revealing of their personality relating to positions within the workforce. The revelation of these traits can help to inform career choices and recruitment decisions. There are very few who would address the use of these tests positively in isolation from other traditional methods of selection or development, the interview process continues to be central to recruitment (Gray-Roberts, 2010). In business terms, psychometric testing builds improved and more effective human resource strategies whilst maintaining and complimenting the abilities to save money, improve profitability, sustain competitive edge and secure organisational growth. Where people are concerned, psychometric testing ensures that employees fit and perform better in their roles and working relationships, whilst maintaining and complimenting productivity increases. Robert Sternberg (1997) advised that it is important to view people in terms of their learning styles. Learning styles make reference to the way people use the abilities they have and what a person prefers to do; skill, ability and achievement tests on the other hand, refer to what a person can do. When there is compatibility between a person’s learning styles and their environment, the task may seem easier and the person is energized, motivated and productive, in the circumstances where the work does not mesh with their learning styles, the work is hard troublesome and draining (Sternberg, 1997).

A good psychometric test will practical and fit for the purpose in which it was intended where properly qualified people must carry out interpretation of psychometric testing; an enthusiastic and unqualified person is too easily able to provide misleading and counter-productive information. An example of the potential for error in the interpretation of results is in the case of a participant indicating a low preference for “planning”, where they could have minimal interest in planning and shows potential to neglect such tasks, or, they do not enjoy the planning features of their work but allow for the importance of the work required and carry out the tasks with effectiveness. Additionally, care should be present when ensuring that questionnaires and tests are relevant to the purpose and that the factors that need to be assessed are given consideration depending on the requirements.

Applications of Psychometric Testing

On many occasions during the 1960s, British behavioral analysts identified characteristics common in Middle Eastern cultures that had lead to their renowned superior performance in situations where strong negotiation skills were necessary. Key behaviors involved were identified which in turn provided foundations for the improved performance amongst Western negotiation. Examples with similar outcomes exist for other skill areas such as interviewing and performance reviews etc. (Melamed & Jackson, 1995).

In a more recent and relevant example, the mismanagement of Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines’ attempt to merge fleets in 2008 was caused by a lack of understanding of different management and structures which created strain amongst their employees (Webber & Freed, 2008). Our employees want to feel comfortable in their working environment and to feel challenged and motivated by their surroundings, movement towards psychometric testing in human resource management will provide ability to avoid such disputes and allow proper management and rectification whilst enabling the delivery of employee comfort to deliver the expected results of the organisation. Staff’s success should be encouraged to go beyond “doing a good job”, frequent satisfaction from work is not only due to performance, but also comfort with corporate values. It is essential to examine personal characteristics and their match with organisational culture (Mallinger, 2004).


Given this information, psychometric tests have the potential to provide useful contributions towards demand for skills during adventurous periods. Whilst they have some disadvantages in terms of cost and interpretation, psychometric tests are allowing us to better coordinate our staff and resources in an efficient manner. Organisations do not have to follow the crowd in terms of fantastical human resource strategies, but they do need to break the mould of mismanagement and plan to manage situations where goals can be better achieved.


Basu, C. (n.d.). Three different types of psychological testing used in the workplace. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from

Berry, T., & Settle, A. (2011). Learning style differences. International Journal of Education Research (IJER), 6(1), 1 Retrieved from cowan&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w

Bono, J., Foldes, H., Vinson, G., & Muros, J. (2007). Workplace emotions: The role of supervision and leadership. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(5), 1357-1367. Retrieved from 1&hid=120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=pdh&AN=2007-12832-012

Gray-Roberts, K. (2010). Test for the best: Psychometric testing is a useful tool in the recruitment process- if used properly. Nursing Standard, 24(46), 64. Retrieved from au/ps/

Kendall-Raynor, P. (2010). Psychometric quiz pilot will test suitability of aspiring nurses. Nursing Standard, 24(49), 10. Retrieved from

Melamed, T., & Jackson, D. (1995). Psychometric instruments: Potential benefits and practical use. Industrial and Commercial Training, 27(4), 11-16. Retrieved from

Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Thinking styles. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Webber, H., & Freed, J. (2008). Airlines confront challenge of merging fleets, workers. Pittsburgh Post, 47. Retrieved.from. /390545855?accountid=10675


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