Psychometric Testing; it’s not all mumbo jumbo!!

But is it right to simply dismiss these tools as a “load of mumbo jumbo” when recruitment processes are continuously looking for ways to be more robust and more inclusive of diverse groups? As advocates for the enhancement of diversity in the workplace we are always ensuring our selection methods are not simply reliant on the judgement of career history or qualifications (which are very often outdated). Of course, we are not suggesting that psychometrics can replace the value added by an interview (we will always need that human-interaction), but used in conjuction, they can minimise subjective bias and build a much more accurate and detailed picture of each candidate.

What do psychometrics measure?

Psychometrics essentially measure aptitude and personality and can help organisations understand how aspects of an individual’s behavioural style will affect his or her performance at work. They are able to explore culture fit and forecast areas for both development and potential. They allow for situational responses and can be compared to team dynamics already in place within an organisation. At the Executive Level the importance of style complimenting with the existing team is often as important as a candidate’s ability and experience.  Any recruitment process should always look inwards as well as outwards to establish what is needed.

Interview bias

Psychometrics allow for more of a rounded look at a candidate’s likely behaviour on a day to day basis and is not subject to interview bias and situational nerves that can so often occur under the pressurised panel interview environment. We have certainly been involved in campaigns whereby good quality, capable candidates have lost out to others simply on the grounds of having less interview experience; but does this really make them less able to carry out the role successfully or to work more effectively with the current team in place?

Delivering a successful interview is a skill in itself and often candidates wear a mask that is fit for purpose. Upon commencing a role they would revert to type as the mask slips. As such, psychometrics can give a good overall picture of a candidate’s personality, motivations, preferred working styles, responses to pressure and culture fit.

Adding value beyond the recruitment process

We always recommend psychometric testing ahead of a final stage selection process. This allows for interviews to be further tailored and specific areas to be investigated; enhancing the chance of a hire being made first time round that lasts! They can also allow for candidates with potential to be identified through areas of training where perhaps the “perfect” candidate has not come forward or does not exist.

Embedding psychometrics into an existing campaign without the need for additional time can lead to a much more robust process that will reduce risk of failure and ultimately lead to the right appointment being made first time. If used over time as part of recruitment succession planning, we can also look to previous campaigns to see what traits were present in those successful hires to allow for replication.

And the value is also clear for candidates; 99% of those we surveyed after completing psychometric tests really recognised themselves in the result and saw it as a useful tool to help with preparation for interview in recognising areas of skill and development.


If you would like to talk to us further about how we can support your senior level recruitment with psychometric testing please contact us on

Written by Sarah Walker, Operations Manager, July 2019. Sarah is one of our in-house psychometric profilers. She has been qualified in BPS Level A and B: Occupational Ability and Occupational Personality for a number of years now and has helped many interview panels make clear and confident decisions through her expert guidance.

Posted by Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker

Higher Education


Emma Wilkins of Dixon Walter, led the recruitment campaign for this key appointment. It follows successful academic leadership appointments elsewhere for the University. Emma has taken much time to understand the institution and provide key advice on how to market the opportunities to ensure the best talent is found.

Higher Education


Hands up who’s ready for half term! Phew what a busy start to the academic year it’s been. At Dixon Walter, we’ve been busy working on some fantastic appointments with existing clients and new. Thank you to all those who continue to support us.