Psychometric Tests Used in Employee Selection

Topics: Standardized test, Test, Psychometrics Pages: 6 (1648 words) Published: August 13, 2012
Psychometric Tests Used in Employee Selection

As we all know, selecting the right kind and appropriate employees are key elements of business effectiveness and successful management. In order to choose the right person for the job, many managers take ability and personality into consideration and use many methods, such as letters of recommendation, psychometric tests, interview etc. to do so.

Recently, psychometric tests have become increasingly popular as parts of an employer’s selection procedure. As defined by Parkinson (2008), "a psychometric test is a standard way of measuring an aspect of mental performance". Practically, it consists of many tests to assess different aspects of a person such as verbal ability, and testing the degree of understanding the meaning of words. These tests also include assessment of personal traits, such as, personality or temperament, career plans or employment interests, work attitudes and motivation.

Psychometric tests can be divided into two main types by psychologists. The first type of test is to measure maximum performance, that is to say measuring what your potential might be and how well you can do something, as evidenced in the aptitude test, and the second type of test measures typical performance. The latter measures what a person is like in a normal situation, as seen, for personality tests may be used (Carter, 2007).

This essay is going to describe the two main types of psychometric tests, and will analyse their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Aptitude Tests
Carter (2007) stated that “aptitude tests are tests of performance designed to make a prediction about the future achievements of the individual being tested by measuring that individual's potential for achievement.” I believe aptitude tests are effective ways to predict an employee's progress and achievement in future career. The main purpose of the test is to decide whether employees can make significant progress after training. The test therefore measures maximum performance.

Nowadays, aptitude tests have developed into many different classifications. And a classification, which can reflect the availability of different types of tests in the world in the present time, includes verbal tests, numerical tests, and perceptual tests (Pendlebury, 1975).

Pendlebury (1975) stated that verbal tests include measures of the span of vocabulary, spelling tests and comprehension tests. All these tests are given in order to check a prospective employee's degree of understanding of an English article, and familiarity with grammatical usage and principles of pronunciation. Barrett (2008) gave an example to illustrate the test: “Which is the odd one out? a) Fur, b) Hair, c) Pile, d) Features”. A vocabulary test is a typical test and it is probably the best indicator of verbal ability (Carter, 2007). If an employee had high scores when doing verbal tests in terms of clear thought and expression, it is possible that he would succeed in jobs in a secretarial field where communication of information is involved. Although verbal tests are used widely by employers in the selection process, some problems still exist. For example, evidence (Carter, 2007) shows that the test is unfair for international students or to those from ethnic minorities because they have different languages and culture. Therefore employers should consider many factors carefully and completely when using these tests.

Numerical tests aim to measure whether the employee is good at calculating figures. These consist of many numerical questions which assess the ability of an employee to use numbers logically and rationally. An example of such a question is: “If a car increased its average speed for a 150 mile journey by 5 mph, the journey would have been completed 1 hour earlier. What was the original speed of the car for the journey?” (Carter, 2007). These questions measure an individual’s understanding of such things as...
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