Psychometric tests vs skills tests in pre employment testing – which is better?

As many of us are aware, pre employment testing is an essential component of the recruitment process, giving employers a better chance of finding the right person for a specific role. Psychometric tests, such as a cognitive ability test or a personality assessment are frequently used for recruitment purposes, but you can also use a skills test as well. So, is a skills test better than a psychometric test or should you use both tests?

Psychometric tests vs skills tests

A cognitive ability test is designed to measure general intelligence (spatial, numerical, verbal, abstract and mechanical reasoning), whilst a personality assessment measures aspects of your personality that are relevant to the workplace. A skills test on the other hand, determines whether an individual can perform certain tasks and if so, how well they perform these tasks.

The underpinning of these two types of tests are completely different with psychometric tests being founded on proven theories and statistical analyses, whilst skills tests are simply based on whether you can do a task and how well. Both a cognitive ability test and a personality assessment are useful indicators of performance regardless of the role and industry, whereas a skills test is role and industry specific.

A skills test won’t tell you how someone works under pressure or whether they would make a good team leader, so their use is restricted to specific types of jobs. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t as useful in pre employment testing as a cognitive ability test or a personality assessment, simply that they have different uses and are not always applicable during the recruitment process, depending on the role that needs to be filled.

For example, a cognitive ability test can tell an employer whether a candidate is suitable for a role that demands precise attention to detail, whilst a personality assessment tells an employer whether they will work well in a team environment, and a skills test reveals whether they can use a specific type of software. All of this means that psychometric tests have a wider applicability in pre employment testing than skills tests, but both can be just as important in selecting the right candidate, it simply depends on the requirements of the role.

For more information on using psychometric tests or skills tests for your next recruitment round, send us an email or call us on 07 3535 1220.