Psychometric Talent Assessment: Its history, methods & benefits


Talent Assessment is synonymous with psychometric assessments. Psychometrics is a field of psychology study that develops frameworks and theories related to testing, measurement, and assessment of metal capabilities. Psychometric is a combination of the Greek words ‘mental’ and ‘measurement’, thus psychometric assessment is the testing of an individual’s personality traits, knowledge, capabilities, attitudes, skills and behavior. A psychometric assessment is designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a role based on the required cognitive abilities and characteristics.


The prime objective of conducting talent assessments is to discover which candidates will not be suited for the position, therefore resulting in a concise candidate selection which allows recruiters to better invest their time and efforts. The information collected from the assessment is useful in creating a three-dimensional persona of the candidate that includes their; cognitive capabilities, personality traits, skills, behaviors and knowledge.


These insights are difficult to uncover, even from a live interview. Research demonstrates the staggering reliability of psychometric assessments, and their ability to accurately evaluate an applicant and predict their future performance.



Dating all the way back to imperial China, psychometric assessment was used to determine the top 3% of the population to award them with the highest regarded office and political positions. Those tests, whilst assessing potential and skills, pushed the candidates to their limits to determine who was capable of handling the pressure, stress and intensity.


Since then, the power of psychometric assessments has been increasingly recognized by individuals and companies, in fact, the military understood the significance of psychometric assessment which influenced them to implement said assessments in World War I and II. It was implemented due to the accuracy of predicting and optimizing military goals, and to ensure individuals were correctly selected, placed, promoted and diagnosed; pre, during, and post war activities. In fact, the military believed so wholly in the power of psychometric assessment that they utilized Robert Woodworth’s Personal Data Sheet (1917) to screen World War I recruits for psychoneurosis.


Psychometric assessment has been recognized for its benefits over the decades of its existence and with each year has been further developed due to extensive research conducted by psychologies and scientists to understand the human brain and how behaviors can be explained.


Francis Galton created the first true psychometric assessment in the 1880s as he created a framework that tested participants intelligence based on an examination of their motor skills and sensory skills.


This framework encouraged other psychologists and researchers to expand upon Galton’s framework, such as Dr. James Cattell – who is remembered as researcher that who pushed the boundaries of psychometric assessments.


In the 1950’s and 60’s, the Big-5 psychological framework was developed by Robert McCrae, and later Paul Costa, after extensive analytical research in hopes of creating a framework that measures individual personality traits, that then lead to insights regarding individuals behaviors, abilities, skills and capabilities. This framework describes personality in five broad factors (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism). The Big-5 framework is commonly referred to as the ‘OCEAN’ framework in research papers and amongst psychologists- and is the most useful in determining candidate’s potential and abilities.


Now that we’ve travelled through space and time we have a greater understanding of what psychometric assessment is, and the history of its development. So how are psychometric assessments conducted?



Method #1- Online Questionnaire

The first method consists of completing a questionnaire. This psychometric instrument poses a question, and then requires the candidate to select the degree to which they believe it applies to them- for example:


Question: “Does the wellbeing of others concern you?”

Answer: ‘Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree”


The amount of questions varies depending on the questionnaire the candidate is required to complete; however, there is usually a series of 50 questions.



Questionnaire’s main advantage is that they aren’t costly to conduct, in fact- some psychometric assessment questionnaires are even free online. They also require minimal effort and time from the employer, and (if online) are readily available.



On the other hand, questionnaires are associated with many problems. A recruiter will never know if the candidate truly understood the question, or if they misinterpreted it, and if so the results would be an inaccurate evaluation of their attributes.


Also, the questions are static and offer minimal insights into the thoughts of the respondent, and the available answers may not be a true reflection of how they feel. A candidate may place themselves between two answers, but have to pick one out of two suitable options.


The main concern with questionnaires is their large measurement errors. The errors can be either random or systematic. Random errors are unintended errors and are commonly caused by mistakes from the respondents. Systematic errors can occur if there is a measurement error, which is caused by a systematic reaction of the respondent against the scale used to form the question. In less scientific words, the scale chosen to measure the answer against, and the question structure, may not be the most appropriate, thus leading to systematic error.


 Method #2 – The Test

The second methodology is examinations (a test). This psychometric instrument is similar to questionnaires, however, instead of prompting the candidate to select which degree best suits them, they are required to write out an answer to the posed question.


A test can be taken verbally, on paper, or on a computer, and can be administered formally or informally. Once the test is completed, the answers provided are measured against an objective criterion. This test is standardized to ensure the questions asked are consistent and provide all applicants with an equal opportunity.



This psychometric instrument is useful in allowing the candidate to interpret the question how they see fit and express their thoughts and emotions without restrictions to what they can and can’t say. Thus, resulting in more in-depth insights than questionnaires.



However, by providing candidates with the ability to write lengthy answers, it makes it harder for the results to be consistent and scaled due to the large variety of information.


As well as this, candidates are able to manipulate the question in order to answer in a manner they believe provides them with the greatest chance of getting the job.

Due to the structure of the assessment, there is no crosschecking their verbal, or non-verbal cues to determine whether their answers are reliable and accurate. Therefore, the overall psychometric evaluation lacks validity and is subjective.


Method #3- Rater’s Judgment

What is meant by rater’s judgement?

Let’s break it down; a rater is an assessor- specific to psychometric testing a rater is a qualified and trained psychologist. In order to limit rater bias, a panel of raters must be present at an assessment. The rater’s make their judgements and then cross-check their results against one another. The benefits of having a panel of rater’s is the human connection each rater will feel and react upon- human to human relations is important in psychology.



Each rater has personalized beliefs based on a viewing the same stimuli (the candidate answering questions in front of them) and together will analyze their individual results to create a report based on the findings.


The results demonstrated in this report are inclusive of the chosen rater’s; individual feelings, experiences, history, psychometrics knowledge, energy, amount of sleep received… and so on.



Whilst it can be beneficial to have various psychometric assessments of a single candidate to determine how different personalities view, connect to, and rate the candidate- the subjectivity of the results discredits them and implies the findings are inaccurate and bias.


Therefore, meaning the decision made based off the talent assessment may too be subjective, inaccurate and could potentially lead to the loss of a valuable new hire.


Method #4 – Video-based, Behavioral Science and AI powered Talent Assessment

The technology was developed by organizational psychologists, HR practitioners and data scientists, who’s sole focus was to create an end product that focuses on ensuring validity and accuracy. AI powered talent assessment is conducted completely online and by design was created to perform according to the behavioral science criteria, whilst also eliminating the fundamental weaknesses inherent to the traditional psychometric measurement instruments.


The AI powered talent assessment analyses video footage of each candidate undergoing the psychometric assessment, and crafts a report based on verbal and non-verbal cues. This psychometric assessment not only analyses what was said, but how it was delivered based on elements such as; tone, pitch, and emotion- all of which are factors in determining a person’s communication style and attributes. This algorithm is based on the behavioral sciences that developed the globally recognized Big-5 framework.


These are the four, current methodologies that are used as psychometric instruments to conduct talent assessments. Now you know what talent assessment is, the history of talent assessment, and how it is conducted… I know you’re now wondering why talent assessment is important to recruitment. Let me show you.



Benefit #1 – Evidence of Skills

Loss of confidence in academic qualifications: The 2016 census revealed that 56% of individuals aged 15 and above were equipped with post-school qualification! This statistic is only growing as attending university is viewed as a requirement in modern society. Although wider and specified education is highly regarded for Australian citizens, it leads to recruiters losing confidence in qualifications and uncertainty regarding the standard of qualifications.


Psychometric assessments not only reveal the candidate’s skills, but reveals; the extent of their skills, ad how their skills will be useful in specific environments. Thus, psychometric assessments are useful in providing evidence to support candidate claims and stated work experience and skill development.


Benefit #2 – Scientific Credibility

Traditional recruitment process’ are time consuming and costly. They require significant effort and work from recruiters and are not efficient. As well as being lengthy, the final outcome of the request-to-hire and candidate interviews is completely subjective. Psychometric assessments offer scientific credibility, and objectivity to create a modernized recruitment process that incorporates psychological research and technological developments.


When implementing psychometric assessments, candidates feel confident in the choice of the employer as the results are evidence based, and the employer makes a better-informed decision as their decision was based on scientific results and not assumptions.


This is a lifesaver in cases where an applicant feels as though there was prejudice regarding their dismissal and wishes to take legal matters, or tarnish the company’s reputation. A psychometric assessment is behavioral based, objective and regulated.


Benefit #3- Screening a large candidate pool

Due to the current unemployment rate, and forecasted rising unemployment rate, recruiters and businesses should expect an influx of applications per positing of a job vacancy. From human resources point of view, to skim through a large pool of applicants resumes, and to decide who to call in to interview would be a tedious task that could result in the wrong candidates being short-listed, and the wrong candidates being dismissed.


Psychometric testing is the quickest way to eliminate unsuitable candidates in large quantities, and offers each applicant (no matter how many there are) a fair chance. This reducing the workload of HR significantly and also creates a concise candidate pool based on required soft skills and technical skills.


Benefit #4 – Cost of recruitment

The traditional recruitment process, as discussed, is time consuming and expensive. A common occurrence in the corporate world is for recruiters, and HR managers, hiring a seemingly suitable candidate – and shortly discovering the candidate is not suited for the position at all.


Poor selection choice is a common mistake, however, it is a costly one. The time and money spent on hiring the employee, and then to let them go, and; restart the recruitment process, and have a vacant position that reduces company productivity, and pay overtime to staff who have to take onboard extra tasks… well, we just have to make sure it doesn’t happen.

How? By conducting a talent assessment to ensure the chosen candidate is a cultural fit, and will meet the standards and expectations of the company


Benefit #5- Maintaining The Workplace Culture

Whilst it’s important to employee skilled and educated candidates, skills and knowledge can be developed and improved upon. It’s crucial to hire a candidate that won’t disrupt the workplace culture, and will work collaboratively with existing employees.


If the peace is disrupted at the office and amongst employees, work standards drop; productivity levels decrease, and tension rises, which could cause the loss of an employee or a client.


In order to ensure your new hire will fit in with the current environment, a psychometric assessment should be conducted to offer insights into their personality traits and attributes to allow recruiters to determine if they are (or aren’t) a cultural fit.


If a recruiter looks for the same attributes in all their new hires, and conducts a psychometric assessment on all new hires, the peace at work will never be disrupted.


The benefits of psychometric assessment undoubtedly suggest the need for all HR and recruiters to introduce talent assessment in their current recruitment process to create consistencies and efficiencies.


So… know you know the what, the history, the how and the why- it’s time for the last leg from this session of ‘information overload’.




In my opinion, the fourth psychometric instrument is the best suited talent assessment tool. That is, the ‘Video-based, Behavioral Science and AI powered Talent Assessment’. Although, it’s true, this is my company’s product; here are five reasons, as supporting evidence, to exhibit why my opinion is objective and unbiased.


Reason #1- Consistent, Fair & Reliable

The AI based talent assessment is consistent, fair, and reliable due to the algorithm never having a bad day that can influence their decision-making capabilities. The major issue disclosed in the rater’s judgment’ methodology was the impact of each rater’s bias and pre-existing schemas that can negatively influence their assessments.


Although having a panel of multiple raters minimizes this risk, it also increases the cost of the talent assessment, which is unfeasible for multiple candidates (too time consuming, and expensive!).


The AI algorithm has been programed based on copious amounts of psychometric research, and previous psychometric assessment results and scoring criteria. The information analyzed is always judged against the same criteria, with zero influence from discriminatory beliefs and biases.


Reason #2 – Affordable & Accessible

You don’t have to be large company like Google to afford psychometric assessment! Time is money, and the time required by candidates to fill out their questionnaires, or complete their tests, is time that could be better utilized.


If you, the recruiter, wanted to have accurate and in-depth results, you’d have to hire a panel of raters to make their judgments. To hire three trained and certified psychologists is expensive!


With research showing 89% if senior managers and 65% of board-level roles were subject to talent assessments, as well as 38% of junior roles, to pay for each candidate to sit through a psychometric assessment would be too costly.


With this AI powered Talent Assessment, you can choose a package that is suitable for you! You can use a free trial, and later determine the package that is most affordable and specific to your needs. Affordable, and accessible anywhere at any time!


Reason #3 – Maximizes Recruitment Efficiency

Through assessing talent via this psychometric instrument, the assessment and application process and combined, and can be completed within minutes. Thus, this instrument leads to maximum recruitment efficiency!


The application e-form can be created within 5 clicks and sent to the candidate. They open the link, record their videos and submit their video interviews. The AI automatically analyses their video interviews and generates a report based on globally recognized behavioral science and psychometric research, and your software automatically notifies you when the report and video interviews are ready for your viewing. The whole process in completed within half an hour!


As well as increasing the efficiency of recruitment, the psychometric assessment is available 24/7! There are no scheduling requirements, or open hours, the AI assessment is open all day every day and doesn’t need lunch breaks.

Reason #4 – Positive Candidate Experience & Reduce Candidate Drop-Off

Due to the increased efficiencies that AI powered talent assessment provides, the candidate drop-off rate is positively affected! The candidates that know their worth and are sure of their talent, skills, and attributes are less willing to dedicate their time to take a quiz or questionnaire.


These candidates also are less willing to sit in front of a panel of raters and, well, be rated, because the scene is uncomfortable, inhumane and time consuming. Thus, if you’re using traditional psychometric assessment instruments the candidate drop off rate during the application process is high.


By introducing software that requires no extra effort or time from the candidates (or recruiters), and can be completed in the comfort of their own home, the candidate drop off rate is significantly lowered due to the positive user experience! The drop off rate is reduced, and the desire to work for your company is heightened as the candidates receives insight regarding the efficient internal procedures!


Reason #5 – Sharing Capabilities & Team Collaboration 

The video interviews, and psychometric report can be seen by any, and all; recruiters, executives, managers, HR personnel and employees responsible for hiring due to the software’s sharing capabilities! Each individual has the opportunity to view the same video, and read the same report, and discuss amongst one another what the findings of the result mean and share their insights.


This software provides employers with the opportunity to view the same report and video representation of their candidates, therefore enabling team collaboration and supporting consistency amongst picking the most suited candidates.


I know it was a lot to read, but you made it through! And now you’re a psychometric guru! You know everything there is to know about talent assessment… you know what it is, it’s history, its methodologies, the benefits, and the best psychometric instrument.


If you want to put your knowledge to the test, and do primary research on yourself or on colleges, click here to test it for free!