Sometimes psychological tests are used when choosing workers. These tests check a person's suitability for a job based on their personality type and behavioural characteristics. The tests are meant to measure ability, aptitude, vocational interest and personality. They are done by trained professionals or registered psychologists and paid for by the employer.
These tests are usually done after the first round of interviews and are not meant to be used as a final selection tool. They are designed to prompt questions to ask in a second interview if any responses have raised any concerns. Recruiters and employers should make sure:
- They are testing the applicant’s ability to do to the job.
- They are not testing for irrelevant psychological conditions.
- Registered psychologists conduct the tests, analyse the responses and provide a full report to the employer.
- Any questions about the testing process by applicant should be answered.
- Test results are confidential.
As an Applicant
Here are a few questions you might ask before any psychological testing.
- What tests will be conducted?
- What does the process involve?
- How are the results going to be used to assess applicants?
- How can I access the test results – for example can I get a summary of my results from the employer or can I pay for a full report of my results?
- Do I need to know anything more about the screening?
You might want to research and practice psychological tests, to be familiar with the tasks and know what to expect. If you think you have been discriminated against as a result of a psychological test, contact us for advice.
As an Employer
When choosing staff, you may wish to use psychological tests, also known as aptitude or psychometric tests, to check they are suitable for a job. They should only be used to test the applicant's ability to do the job based on the selection criteria. They are not to find out about a person's private life. Psychologists develop and conduct the tests, analyse the responses and give you a report. Questions should be carefully designed. It is important to:
- Understand the relevance of the test to the job.
- Avoid testing for irrelevant psychological conditions.
- Ensure the person designing the test understands the job requirements.
- Accommodate applicants who may have a disability or a different cultural background.
- Answer applicants' questions about the testing process.
- Make sure test results are confidential.
- Consider the results along with interviews and referee checks before you make a final decision.
If the person conducting a psychological test discriminates unfairly, both you and they may be held responsible.