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Critically discuss the origins, strengths and weaknesses of Psychomentric Personality Testing.

Psychometric Personality Testing

Psychometrics is described as the science of evaluating psychological abilities, characteristics and attributes. Psychometric tests are a series of tests that consists of particular standard and scientific methods that are used to measure brain capabilities and behaviour of an individual. Personality is a trait that over all defines the being and ability of a person (Kline 2008) and it is impossible to judge on the basis of what the person claims he/she is capable of doing and the extent of it and thus this method aims to measure the extent of truth in his/her claim. This essay suggests how this testing method is hugely popular, common and beneficial to both candidates as well as recruiters if used in the correct form. There are several types of psychometric tests, and all of them have different objectives and they serve different purposes (Muralidharan 2018) and all of them are listed in the essay along with an explanation of these factors.  This essay will discuss what psychometric personality testing refers to in detail and how and where it is used. This essay will provide information that will help an individual to understand the objective of this test and thus help him/her to perform this test himself/herself and attain success. The essay consists of a detailed clear list of tips and tricks that might come handy to the candidate who is about to attempt it for achieving assured success. The essay will tell where, when and how this test was originated, what its initial purpose was and how its implementation has evolved over progressing time. While most people tend to support the method this tests follow to achieve an aim some claim that it is not useful and can lead to wrong judgement, this essay aims to through a light on this as well. This essay also aims to state the six different methods used for assessment of human personality and all the types of psychometric personality tests as well. As psychometric personality testing is immensely popular and extensively used in the area of recruitments for big and small companies working in a vast range of fields (Shingal 2018) this essay will also give information about how recruiters use this process and why is it beneficial to them. In the end, this essay will give us a clear list of all the advantages and disadvantages of psychometric personality testing along with valid arguments and evidences to prove the authenticity of the statements. This list of merits and demerits consists of some point, that are applicable for both the candidate and the employer and some are specifically for only one. The essay will also discuss about the extent of fairness of this test and if it is biased towards any candidate and more favourable towards the others or not.

Psychometric tests are especially designed for each candidate to match his/her suitability for a title role based on the desired personality characters and aptitude. Any psychometric test that are used to measure personality for compatibility of work that has to be assigned to them is called Psychometric personality testing (Kline 2013). Recruiters use this method to hire employees. Employers read candidate’s resume and based on, the match they find with their requirement they select candidates and call them for screening or interview. Before or after the interview a psychometric test paper is handed over to aspiring candidates to solve and submit. A psychometric test revels what a face-to-face interview is not able to show and provides a clearer picture of an individual’s personality and aptitude (Psychology 2016).

Important methods used for the Assessment of Human Personality

Important methods used for the Assessment of Human Personality (Prag 2018)

  • Interview:

An Interview is a direct conversation between interviewer and interviewee. In most of the cases in an interview, the interviewer questions the interviewee to measure his/her technical abilities, confidence level, level of interest for the job and moral values as well. Interview method to determine personality is generally habituated by psychologists in clinical and education fields and vocational counsellors (Brinkmann 2014).

Interview is a method that is compatible to mostly every kind of human. Interview method is often not believed to authentic and very helpful because it can be subjective and does not essentially provide evidences of the capabilities the candidate claims to possess. It is highly time consuming and often expensive. The method can be effectively carries out only if conducted by a well-trained employer who has excellent critical questioning and judgement skills (Dipboye 2017 ).

  • Questionnaire:

A Questionnaire aims to accumulate all the essential information about the candidate applying for the job. The word questionnaire can be defined as a device that consists of a standard answering technique to provide solutions for the questions fixed by the employer. It is essential that the format and language used in a questionnaire is easy to understand (Harris & Brown 2010).

  • Rating:

A technique in order to check the actions of a person is a Rating Scale. There are experts who later provide a judgement of their efficiency and the extent of efficiency in a particular trait they possess (Williams & Kobak 2008).

Rating scales are used to determine the impression that a person leaves on another person with whom he/she might have had verbal contact up to any extent with respect to his/her behaviour. Teachers, supervisors, professors, counsellors, employers etc. use rating scales, in a plethora of situations.

Rating scales are used to measure extensive variety of personality characteristics such as honesty, ability to give directions, tactfulness, cooperativeness, emotional and mental maturity, etc. There is a couple of kind of rating scales: The first is called absolute rating scales and the second is called relative rating scales.

  • Projective techniques:

Projective techniques or tests are used vey quite a lot. They were first used in a clinic and consist of important apparatuses for clinicians. Several have come from therapeutic procedures like art therapy, engaged with psychiatric patients.

Projective techniques are being immensely utilised in a vast number of applied psychologies, from vocational guidance to hospitals and clinics or even personnel selection (Lewis, Williams & Olds 2011).

Projective techniques can be defined as an accumulation of techniques used in the study of intellectual as well as non-intellectual features of personality. In such tests, the candidates are  provided with a comparatively incoherent or else arguable task like a photograph, incomplete sentence or inkblot, that allows drawing a plethora of representations by a person.

(a) The Rorschach Inkblot Test:

Herman Rorschach invented this test, in 1921 in his Monograph “Psychodiagnostik”. His assistants Emil Oberholzer, George Roemer and Waller Morgenthaler were responsible in promoting and popularising this test (Viglione, Towns & Lindshield 2012).

Some projective tests:

Today Rorschach is the one among the most commonly brought into use and hugely criticised and excessively studied tests. The Rorschach test comprises of ten cards consisting bilateral symmetrical inkblots. Fifty per cent of the cards are coloured in black whereas the other fifty per cent are of different colours. These cards are given to the candidate following a standardised order.

(b) The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT):

The TAT was developed by, Henry A. Murray and C. D. Morgan. This method predicts insensible thoughts and caprices (Teglasi 2010).

The TAT test has thirty pictures and one blank card. The pictures in the cards are picked and marked in such a manner that there consists four sets of twenty cards each, one is for boys, one is for girls, one for males and one for females over fourteen years of age. The procedure of the test is distributed into 2 separate sittings and for all of these it is said that more than ten TAT cards should not be administered with intervening in-between the two sittings of at least one-day.

Recently, realistic contemplations have led in decrease of the number of cards to be administered. Maximum examiners presently provide the test taker with eight to twelve cards and only use one session. The candidate is asked to make and recite a story around the photograph that defines the portrayed scene, what headed to the scene, the thoughts of the characters and what the result shall stand (Psychologist 2018).

It is typically an oral test when it comes to clinical situations but it might also be a written or a group test depending on the aim and situation.

The three most common TAT scoring systems are Murrays’ scoring system (Non-quantitative) and Eron’s system (quantitative).

The Children’s Appreciation Test (CAT) is a modification of this test (Reynolds, Livingston & Willson 2010).

(c) The Word Association Test:

It was originally called the free- association test which was developed by Carl Jung. Kent and Rosanoff well ahead used it for psychiatric testing. Jung’s word association test authentically had hundred words. In 1968, Rapaport along with his associates developed a word-association test had sixty words. Kent and Rosanoff inventeded a word-association test that had hundred words to study and know about the differences between mentally abnormal and normal persons.

In this test, the test taker is instructed that the examiner will say a series of words, a single word at one time, and he/she is supposed to instantaneously say the first term, which pops in their thought (Pennebaker & Tausczik 2009).

The examiner then records their reply, the reciprocation time and any unnatural speech or behaviour accompanied with a particular reaction. This recording helps to conclude the overall personality of the candidate.

(d) Sentence Completion Test:

Test taker is given some incomplete sentences, which are generally open at its end, to be completed. This test provides a good scale of judgement as each candidate might answer in a different manner or length according to his/her abilities and thought process (Kujala et al. 2018).

Some sentence completion tests that are extensively used are the Sack’s Sentence Completion Test, Rotter’s Incomplete Sentence Blank and Washington University’s Sentence Completion Test.

  • Situational Tests:

These tests were developed and taken in use by the United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War. Situational tests contain some actual life situations in which the candidates are supposed to execute tasks as per instructions (Patterson et al. 2012).

A candidate’s performance, behaviour and reaction according to the situations helps’ the examiner to completely understand his/her personality. One of these tests consists of the situational stress test, which aims to examine the behaviour of a candidate under stressful, agitating and saddening situations (Kosinski, Stillwell & Graepel 2012).

Some additional situational tests are the tests used by the Office of Strategic Services. These tests are called OSS tests. These tests aim to examine a candidate’s personality.

  • Personality Inventories:

Personality inventories comprises of statements, items, or questions, which are supposed to be answered by the candidates. The answers are either right or wrong in this test and hence this test is highly objective. Personality inventories measure not only a candidates behaviour but as well as his own opinions about themselves, other people and the environs around him/her, which is a result of his/her unique biological composition and also past experiences. Personality inventories generally are based on the “trait approach” to the personality investigation. It is attempted to measure the existence and intensity of these traits (Mckay 2018).

These tests are designed specifically to study a single or more specific, defined traits of a person’s personality.

Different types of psychometric tests involve:

  • Numerical reasoning test: It is used to measure a candidate’s data interpretation abilities and mathematical skills. This is done with the help of an accumulation of written and statistical data represented in the form of reports, graphs or charts.
  • Verbal reasoning test: This is used for determining ones potential of studying and evaluating thorough and lengthy inscribed text or data to make an appropriate judgement.
  • Inductive reasoning test: These ask the candidate to identify trends or patterns, usually with the help of diagrammatic information.
  • Diagrammatic reasoning test: These test ones logical reasoningcapacity, using flowcharts diagrams and.
  • Logical reasoning test: These test one’s ability to reach a conclusion. You may be provided with some information and then asked to make a decision as per the question suggests. These tests are also called deductive reasoning
  • Error checking test: These tests one’s ability to, rapidly identify any mistake in complicated data such as codes, or amalgamations of alphanumeric figures.

The tests mentioned above are for testing ones technical efficiencies other tests that psychometric tests involve are

  • Skills tests:This determines as to how quickly a person can learn a new skill and implement it for maximum and efficient results in work.
  • Personality Tests: These check ones suitability and compatibility for a particular job. For example if it is a job that require communication with customers a person will be tested for confidence in speech, fluency and his convincing capabilities to please customers (Saklofske, Boyle & Matthews (eds.) 2008).

In order crack these tests one has to practice a lot .It is highly essential to not fake because the real agenda of a psychometric personality test is to test ones true personality. In order to check compatibility with the work that is being offered and faking will in a long run lead to troubles in giving maximum results (McQuerrey 2018).

Some tips for psychometric or aptitude test:

  • One must aim to attempt all the questions.
  • The most difficult questions are placed at the end of the paper but all questions carry equal number of marks and importance.
  • Do not stop working until the time is over; even if your test is complete continue to recheck for errors.
  • Some tests consist of problems to test your honesty level. One among these honesty scales is known as social desirability. The problems are related generally to a bad behaviour, which is very common and is most likely done by every human to test ones honesty. This aims to identify liars (Coaching 2018).
  • Do not stick to one question if you fail to answer it move on to the next one to avoid wastage of time and come back to it once you are done with the entire test.
  • Learn thoroughly to use a calculator beforehand so that you are not stuck while performing complex mathematical operations while answering questions.
  • These tests are designed in a manner that they also check ones personality that is why one must be uniform in the manner he/she answers question to avoid giving any bad or incorrect impression about his/her personality.
  • As mentioned earlier practice a lot and be completely prepared.

The personality test is typically the most difficult portion of the process. Even after you give the test the result to be expected remains unknown as you have no idea of the impression you might have left on the employer. Preparation is highly essential for this test to but what is more important is to be the real you (Jinyan et al. 2012).

Personality tests, judges your brains behaviour style and pattern as well as your choices and opinions.  For example weather you prefer working alone by yourself or you prefer working in a team; are you a person to work as per commands or you have excellent leadership skills and are a pro and giving commands. Personality tests also measure private qualities such as level of patience and anger, interests related to career and moral ethics.


There are several types of personality tests that are used commonly. Some of these measure different personality or behavioural styles in comparison to others to make the best choice. One is for sure not supposed to be unauthentic in this test but can preparation is essential to show the employers your real qualities in the most efficient and positive manner in order to please them to get the job you are looking forward to achieve (Jerem 2018).

Historical establishment: The origination of Psychological testing was from a dual stream of thought: the first, from Darwin, Cattell and Galton  about the measurement of discrete living being variability, and second one from Weber, Herbart, Wundt,  Fechner, about their psychophysical measurements of analogous construct. The research of the second group of people ultimately led to the advancement of inventive psychology, as well as uniform testing.

Victorian stream: Works of Darwin served as a motivation for Sir Francis Galton, which directed the creation of actual psychometrics. In 1859, Charles Darwin published a book called "The Origin of Species“, which clearly depicted unique individual variations in animals. This book described how an individual from a similar species possess different characteristics and how some are more immunised and more accomplished some less immunised and less accomplished. The once who are and are the ones who succeed to survive and reproduce the next age group, who would be equally or more immunised and accomplished. This idea was previously, studied in animals. This made Galton to study human beings in the same way and observe their differences and continued to search for methods to measure the same.

To conclude and display his studies to the world Galton wrote his book called "Hereditary Genius" which is about variable characteristics of human beings and how these characteristics make them more immunised and accomplished. These variations in sensory and motor functioning (visual acuity, response time and bodily strength) are significant features of scientific psychology. Most of the ancient theory based and practical work done  in psychometrics were proceeded to measure the degree of intellect. Galton is called the father of psychometrics. James McKeen Cattell, also considered as a pioneer of psychometrics, proceeded Galton's work. Cattell also invented the word mental test, and was accountable for the research and information, which eventually resulted in the advancement of current tests (Kaplan & Succuzzo 2010).

German stream: The foundation of psychometrics is also connected to the other relevant fields of psychophysics. Around at similar time when Darwin, Cattell and Galton, were occupied with their discoveries, Herbart was fascinated in "unlocking the mysteries of human consciousness" with the help of the scientific methodology (Kaplan & Succuzzo 2010). Herbart fashioned mathematical models of the human brain. These models were extensively used for educational purposes for many years.

E.H. Weber studied Herbart's results and tried to provide evidence of the presence of a psychological threshold, he said that a particular smallest amount of stimulus was crucial for activating a sensory system. After Weber, G.T. Fechner studied the works of Herbart and Weber even more, to invent the law that states, “The intensity of a feeling raises as the logarithm of the stimulus intensity”. Wundt who was a follower of Weber and Fechner was actually the founder of the science of psychology. His studies created a path for others to develop psychological testing.

Twentieth century: The psychometric expert L. L. Thurstone, who is also the founder and the very first president of the Psychometric Society that was formed in 1936, developed and used an academic approach for these measurements called the law of comparative judgment. This academic approach was closely associated with the psychophysical theory of Gustav Fechner and Ernst Heinrich Weber. Spearman and Thurstone as well provided significant contributions to theoretical and practical and use of factor analysis, which is a statistical technique established and brought into use broadly in psychometrics.

Recently, psychometric theory is implemented to measurement attitude, academic achievements, personality and faiths. Measurement of all these unpredictable characteristics is difficult, and most of the research as well as accumulated science for this discipline are developed with an aim to properly define as well as quantify such characteristics. Criticisers countered that these description and quantification are complicated and challenging. Such measurements are in many cases misused, "For example, a recruiter wanting a candidate for a role demanding continues attention for monotonous detail preferably will not want to provide that position to the other candidate who is extremely artistic and gets uninterested of the same work easily and very soon.

Advantages:

  • If this test is taken before the interview then it helps in shortlisting only suitable candidates for further interview, which in a long run enables better decision making.
  • An interview is conducted in a limited time and thus it does not allow the recruiter to properly judge a candidate based on their CV or what they say face to face. With the help of this test, a recruiter can properly take a decision, judge a candidates ability, compatibility and adjustability with office environment, and work culture he/she is being assigned (Department 2015).
  • It is a disadvantage for the company to have employees with similar attributes and thus this test enables recruiters to hire only unique and suitable candidate (Petrides & Cooper 2010).
  • These tests also tend to predict a candidates moral and behavioural attributes, which is highly essential to check compatibility with the job being offered.
  • It saves a lot of time of by proper method and conduct of test and by shortlisting suitable candidates.

Disadvantages:

  • Some personality tests can be very time consuming and demand a lot of effort to complete which may lead to poor performance of a deserving candidate making him lose the job and the employer to lose a potential employee (Aliereadvisors 2016).
  • A candidates work experience and training might differ with the outcomes of the personality test, leading to increase in the level of difficulty for the employer to make a decision.
  • Candidates answer personality test questions most of the time in an effort to please the interviewer or according to social acceptability and believes. This defeats the purpose of the interview in the first place which is to get to know the reality of a candidates personality, behaviour, morals etc. because in this case the candidate is anything but his/her true self (Paul 2016).
  • Personality tests are quite expensive because it requires paying for the tests to paying someone to score the tests. The money spent might end up being more than its outcome.
  • Even if a candidate performs perfectly in a personality test, this does not directly means that they are perfectly suitable for the job and work consistently with the same efficiency if they are appointed for the job in the company. This sentence highlights why is very important not to rely solely on personality test to select suitable employees (Giang 2013).

Psychometric testing enables to measure many qualities such as intelligence, morality, critical reasoning, behaviour and overall personality. An interview can measure skills and experiences of a candidate up to an extent but psychometric testing further allows the employer, to attain completely all information about one’s overall personality, behaviour and morality (Page 2018).

The main objective of a psychometric test is the provision of measurable and objective data capable to provide a better overall vision of a candidate’s compatibility and ability. Psychometric testing provides a little ‘scientific’ reliability and objectivity to recruiting process. It thus offers a fairer and more correct method of studying a candidate, because every candidate is given a common standard test.

Conventionally, these tests are taken in pen and paper in the form of multiple-choice questions but with technological development it is moving towards digital methods, which will speed up the process and also make it easier and more accurate (Woods 2018).

Some organisations use psychometric testing as a way of screening to shortlist only the most efficient and deserving candidates This eventually results in making more accurate recruitment decisions as lesser will be the number of candidates will enable better and in depth study of each candidate. It also makes the process less time and effort consuming (Klotz et al. 2013).

The Advantages of Psychometric Testing For Employers

  • Small as well as large-scale companies can use psychometric testing as its aim is to study a candidate’s personality and traits and match them with the traits required for the job. These tests are not standardised and can be formulated according to the needs of the employer(Walbancke 2018).
  • Psychometric testing enables not to rely solely on interviews. Interviews for sure are extremely crucial for recruitment in companies to check confidence, knowledge and past experiences but its benefits are elevated only when they are accompanied by the psychometric analysis to measure personality traits as well to form a fair and accurate decision regarding the employment selection (Employment4students 2015).
  • Psychometric testing saves employers time and money because it speeds up the process by enabling shortlisting candidates and judge them overall efficiently in a single standard test rather than looking into and studying a big pile of applications. No employer in today’s fast forward generation has the time to read and analyse each application fully and properly and thus in absence of psychometric tests, this confusing and time-consuming process results in wrong decision and selection(Walsh & Hoad 2018).
  • Psychometric testing offersa true depiction of candidates they provide an idea of the candidate’s personality, how they choose to work in particular situation and how they perform in stressful and agitating situations for example, and how they perform alone or in a group (Shingal 2018).
  • Psychometric testing is a fair selection method for preventing any injustice against the candidates. Psychometric testing offer a standardised method to recruitment and it is fair for candidates as they all give the exact same test and are asked the same questions. Interviews might sometimes be biased as different people are asked different kind of questions according to the ability they display to prevent being rude or due to natural human psychology.
  • Psychometric testing is extremely flexible as it can be easily used before after or during an interview in the recruitment process according to the requirements and comfort of the employers.
  • Psychometric testing aims to measure abilities and skills and not just academic qualification (Branine 2008). When it comes to recruitment techniques, many companies still give a lot of importance to academic achievements and past work experience. Whilst this is essential up to a certain extent, psychometric testing can come as a threat to a candidate having outstanding academic abilities and achievements which are essential to check his/her true efficiency if his/her personality does not match the other traits and is not compatible for the job profile.
  • This method enables the conservation and further development of the culture of a particular work place. Recruitment does not just means hiring young candidateswho claim they can efficiently do the job. This is obviously an essential requirement, the employer also must have a very detailed idea about whether or not the candidate will perform to his/her full ability in the work place, will they be able to maintain the harmonious environment of the work place and adjust to it. The employer also has to have the knowledge about under what circumstances a candidate is able to perform to his/her maximum ability. As if they prefer to lead or to listen, they prefer teamwork or working alone etc. to make decisions about the candidate’s recruitment suiting the demand of the work place and the job that is being assigned (Gardner et al. 2012).
  • Helps in maintaining uniformity in the employees who are being hired which leads to proper discipline in the method of working and the decorum of a work place.

Conclusion

This essay concludes that psychometric personality testing is a very essential tool for the judgement and selection of candidates, be it in an educational institute, or for any job. Other contemporary methods of recruitment such as interview are quite effective but it lacks in totally understanding the traits of a candidate. Personality is the most essential factor to determine the abilities of a person and that is what these tests enables one to do. This essay concludes that origination of this test was carried out initially by Darwin, Galton, and Cattell to measure individual variability’s and Weber, Wundt, Herbart, Fechner, and  the psychophysical measurements of a similar construct by carried on by them later helped to formulate the correct format of the test carried out in present times. This essay gives a detailed list of  all the methods used for conducting this test and that are interview, questionnaire, rating, projective techniques, situational tests and Personality Inventories. The types of psychometric  tests that are used to measure the technical abilities of a candidate are Numerical reasoning test, Verbal reasoning test, Error checking test, Diagrammatic reasoning test, Logical reasoning test and the types of psychometric tests to measure a candidates skills and personality are Skills tests and Personality Tests. These tests are standardised but do comprise flexibility in some cases, which makes it fair for every candidate and easy to use as well. These tests are mostly used in recruitment process and are highly beneficial for the employer to make appropriate recruitment decisions for the company associated to extract the maximum amount of positive outcome. The essay provides a list of all the tips and tricks for candidates to ensure maximum success in aptitude tests in the psychometric test and suggests that a candidate must practice and study to gain excellence in it. It provides tips for personality test separately as well and suggests one to be their own self and enhance only as a positive and hardworking person but practice and adequate study might always benefit in this case as well. Along with all its glory it is highly dreaded by many candidates as it might come with some severe difficulties but this essay suggests how this can be overcomes by correct preparation and practice. A huge portion of this essay is solely dedicated to the use of this testing method and obtaining the best from it. This essay however also tells us why these tests can sometimes be bad and inadequate and might lead to mistake in decision-making however, this essay suggests how with proper use of this method its advantages can overpower its disadvantages and it can be hugely beneficial for both candidates as well as employers. This essay particularly provides us a list to refer to when looking at the advantages a company or an employer has with respect to this test.

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