Psychometrics! Psychometrics everywhere!
The popularity of psychometric testing has been rapidly growing over the past few decades, especially in organizations. In fact, they have become so popular that there are over 2,500 different psychometric tests on the market today that come in all shapes, sizes, and prices.
And guess what? Their popularity isn’t unwarranted. Organizations are now using them for pretty much everything; recruitment and selection, succession planning, reducing turnover, and even improving collaboration and team productivity.
Are you worried about missing the boat? Not sure how to start getting all the great benefits of psychometrics? Thinking of starting off with a free one and taking it from there?
Is a free psychometric test too good to be true?
I have gathered a few pointers for you to consider before making any decisions.
Differences between psychometric tests
Psychometric tests differ in their content, capabilities, and purpose. Some tests focus on ability, while others on personality. Some are more centered on aptitude, and others on cognitive ability. And more often than not, psychometric tests measure combinations of two or more of these facets.
Before you choose a test, analyze the difference between psychometric and personality tests, and other psychological tests. Determine your needs and what you want to assess, and then identify the test most suitable for you!
Psychometric tests also differ in many other ways. After you have identified your needs, you may be tempted to find a free psychometric test which claims to offer you just that. However, there are some things you should consider before choosing a psychometric test.
More and more, we notice a trend towards the use of a psychometric test or personality test as a convenient way to enhance the selection process and evaluation of the next generation. The range of tests available on the market and the aspects they evaluate may raise questions about the best choices an organization can make.
Things to consider before opting for just any free psychometric test
Choosing the right psychometric test is crucial. Selecting the wrong one would not only get you useless, ineffective results, but also cost you in terms of the time you could have spent getting actual, useful data.
Because psychometric tests are psychological measurements, it is pertinent that they be evaluated using, at least, these five criteria:
Reliability is a very important measure of any employee assessment and can be statistically measured. A reliable measure is one that will consistently give you the same result across time, individuals, and situations.
When evaluating the reliability of a psychometric test, make sure your assessment tool is reliable across time (test-retest reliability), and across its measurements (internal consistency).
In research, generalizability refers to the extent to which the results of an assessment tool are representative of the entire population from which the sample was drawn.
It is another measure used to determine reliability, and is particularly important when talking about assessments tools in an organizational context.
Here are two questions you should ask when determining how generalizable a test is:
- Is the sample that was used to develop the psychometric test representative of the entire population? In other words, was it tested using subjects of different ages, gender, ethnicity, nationality, etc.?
- Do the results obtained represent the entire population that they intended to represent?
Answering these two questions in the affirmative ensures that you are not only getting more precise results, but also that you are complying with human rights legislation and avoiding being discriminatory against certain socio-cultural groups.
Whether a company makes ten thousand or ten million, everyone is looking for ways to improve their business. We are all out there analyzing, researching, changing, twisting, and turning in an attempt to make our work (and lives!) run a little better.
While reliability is a necessary characteristic of any effective assessment tool, it is not sufficient on its own. In fact, validity is the most important measurement when deciding on which test to use.
Also measured statistically, the validity of a test demonstrates that the test measures what it is intended to measure. A valid assessment tool is one that is not only more accurate, but also allows organizations to draw specific conclusions, and even make predictions! There are many different types of validity, so be sure to carefully examine and analyze them before choosing a test.
4. Theoretical Basis
As with any other social science, there are many differing theories, models, and approaches; and psychology is no different. However, every facet of psychometric testing has a few theoretical models that are widely accepted by scientists and researchers. Before you choose your psychometric test, make sure to study the theoretical basis on which the assessment was built, and ensure that the models used have solid foundations and expert support.
5. Social Desirability
As human beings, we want people to like us. In fact, if you ask a stranger to describe themselves, they will likely describe who they want to be, as opposed to who they really are.
The tendency to seek out approval of others is a natural human reaction, and the behavior is even more prominent in organizational contexts. Because employees and potential candidates always want to put their best face forward (and understandably so), it is critical for an assessment tool to evaluate and identify the presence of a social desirability bias.
Where to find the information to evaluate psychometric tests, free or not?
At the very least, it should be indicated somewhere whether a psychometric test is scientifically validated or not. While you might not find all the details you are looking for on their websites, you can always ask the test suppliers to provide you with more information regarding the above criteria.
Are you thinking about implementing a psychometric test in your organization? Perhaps you are worried about investing time and energy in something you’ve never used before, or maybe you are doubting its effectiveness and reliability? Not all psychometric solutions are complicated. In fact, many are very user-friendly, while still maintaining precision, accuracy and scientific validity.
Back to our question: Are free psychometric tests too good to be true?
In my experience, yes. They are too good to be true.
Just think of it this way: if a company is providing you with a reliable and valid test that’s based on a sound theoretical basis, ensures generalizability, and controls for social desirability bias, do you really think they’re going to do it for free?
You have to pay for quality, and that’s just a fact of life. But it’s okay! It’s okay to pay for quality, and it’s okay to invest in a great psychometric test that can give you accurate results, improve your hiring, reduce your turnover, help you with conflict resolution, and improve team performance.
But hey, if you do happen to find a free psychometric test that you can use in an organization without legal worries and wasted time, then please, do share! Just be sure not to confuse a free trial of a psychometric test with an actual free psychometric test – those are a really great opportunity for you to evaluate their effectiveness!
But in any case, any psychometric test, free or not, should be researched, analyzed, and evaluated based on the above criteria before being implemented in an organization. Being cautious and proactive in your choosing of an assessment tool will save your organization valuable time, and will produce more effective and efficient results in the long-run. The addition of psychometric testing to a company’s HR systems will certainly add value; but only if you choose the right one.
Don’t know where to start? Check out the scientifically validated Atman test and take it from there!