Psychological Tests in HR

Psychological tests are verbal or written assessments conducted by psychologists or trained professionals to evaluate a person’s behaviour. Although it has multiple uses and can be used in many fields, it is now a popular step in the recruitment process to look for traits, values and behaviour in potential candidates that the ideal person for the job must have according to the Job Specification.

Psychological tests are usually standardised, which means that there is a standard format used for all candidates to get valid and reliable results. They should be non-discriminatory and according to the test norms.

Objectives of Psychological Tests

  • To assess mental abilities
  • Measure aptitude
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Diagnose disorders
  • Learning disability
  • Research
  • Determine strengths and weaknesses
  • Career Counselling


  • Questioning/Interview
  • Examination of work: Historical data or past work is examined to measure performance.
  • Written/Recorded examination
  • Direct observation: Usually, the supervisor observes the behaviour or performance of his/her subordinates.
  • Group Discussion

Types of Psychological tests

The different types of Psychological tests are based on different functions and help in assessing different things. For example, Personality tests helps gain insights into the candidate’s personality (traits) and behaviour.

  1. Aptitude test: An aptitude test measures a person’s ability to perform different kinds of tasks. This is done to determine the areas in which their skills are the strongest. Some people may be better with quantitative tasks that require math and logical reasoning skills, some at language, and some at creative thinking.
  2. Intelligence/Cognitive test: A cognitive test measures a person’s cognitive abilities— problem solving, reasoning, vocabulary, comprehension, and memory. They are more commonly known as intelligence or IQ tests.
  3. Interest test: Interests tests help you define your interests and determine what you like most.
  4. Personality test: A personality test focuses on the personality traits of an individual. It helps evaluate if a person is more introverted or extroverted, cautious or spontaneous, and how they may react or respond to various life situations. It can help in assessing if a person has leadership qualities and is capable of being a Manager or Group Leader.
  5. Achievement/Educational test: Educational testing is conducted to test how much an individual has progressed in learning a specific subject—like mathematics, reading comprehension—to identify any difficulties they may have had in it. Achievement tests are the examinations that students take in schools and colleges.
  6. Emotional Intelligence test: An Emotional Intelligence test taps various emotions through situations presented to the test-taker. An emotional intelligence test requires a person’s honesty in it to accurately evaluate a person’s EQ [Emotional Quotient] and suggest ways to improve it. It is often noted that people who have higher EQ are much more content and successful than people otherwise. Even though emotional intelligence can overlap with other aspects like personality or genetic compositions, Emotional Intelligence of a person tends to fluctuate or change. It often requires constant consciousness in your actions and evaluation of its consequences. 

Depending on the nature of the job and the level of management and responsibility that comes with the job, different combinations of the tests mentioned above can be used to assess if the candidate is the right person for the job. For example, for the position of a Middle level Finance Manager, an Intelligence, Aptitude and Personality test can be taken to determine the candidate’s skill set, intelligence and leadership traits.