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What is a Psychometric Personality Questionnaire

Called a multitude of things such as Psychometric Tests, Psychometric Profiling, Perception Tests, Personality Evaluators, Personality Questionnaires, etc. In essence they perform the same task. By asking a series of questions they indicate personality traits to assist hiring managers to make recruitment decisions. There are many types of test from those that take 5-10 minutes to those that require an in-depth interview and testing with an occupational psychologist lasting several hours. However, don’t be daunted the majority of companies in the UK use ‘off the shelf products’ such as Thomas International, Saville and Holdsworth, RPQ, McQuaig and Myers & Briggs.

Types of Psychometric Profiling

The most common form of psychometric profiling is ‘ipsativ’ testing that asks you to make decisions such as ‘what am I most like’ and ‘what am I least like’ out of a choice of four. Each answer is connected by a complex algorithm closely protected by lock and key by the tool manufacturer and provides a complex automated profile that suggests dominant traits.

The other most popular form is constructing the test by analyzing successful performers in a particular sector, creating a ‘benchmark’ and then comparing your answers to theirs and mapping to the ideal ‘successful model’.

All robust tests are verified by psychologists on a regular basis – normally every two years – and the algorithms that produce the results are altered accordingly as society changes. Many are audited and accreddited to the British Psychological Society (all of the tools used by Aaron Wallis hold the BPS accreditation)

So You've Been Asked to Take a Psychometric, or Personality, Questionnaire - What Does This Mean? 

Aaron Wallis PIP or Personality Identity Profiler

The PIP that’s offered by Aaron Wallis is a ‘self-test' test’ that enables a candidate to score themselves in the workplace against a particular adjective.  It is not an ‘ipsativ’ personality profile, and therefore, the resulting profile is less contentious and has a greater degree of accuracy.  It is 66 adjectives and is simple for a candidate to complete.  The resulting report provides an excellent interview aid that enables interviewers to quickly get into the core of an interview.

 The questionnaire is 66 adjectives which you are asked to answer from 'not at all like me' to 'very much like me' from a scale of five answers.  The questionnaire has to be answered in how you are in a ‘workplace environment’. 

We recommend that you don’t sit on the fence, i.e. if a word really, really is like you in the workplace that you opt for 5 and if it most definitely isn’t like you that you opt for 1.

Typically, the Personality Interview Profiler (PIP) questionnaire will take around seven minutes to complete and will help us to get a better understanding of your preferred working styles. This is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers.  However, it is imperative that you are as honest with it as possible.

We recommend that you should complete the Personality Interview Profiler (PIP) in a quiet room where you should try to avoid distractions. The results from this questionnaire will remain 100% confidential.

There is no time limit to the questionnaire, but we recommend that you aim to complete the questionnaire within ten minutes. In fact, you should not spend too long on each adjective, and we actually advise that you answer each question without too much thought and evaluation and to go with your ‘gut feel’.  You will have the option to hit the ‘back button’ and change your answer, but we don’t necessarily recommend this. 

After the interview, we will happily provide each candidate with the full report – please contact your consultant after the first interview.  We cannot give you a copy of the report beforehand as it recommends interview questions to the interviewers to probe (based on experience candidates don’t perform as well when they know the questions that are going to be asked of them; they can come across as too practised, or ‘robotic’)

History of Personality Questionnaires

The testing of personality traits is a science that dates back to the 1880’s in France but has become widely used in the UK as a hiring tool over the last two decades. The most common tools in the UK use technology and benchmarking that was developed by the British MoD shortly after the Second World War. Used as an officer selection tool the algorithms were released into the commercial marketplace in the mid-1980’s and tweaked accordingly to the UK workforce. They are now used to some extent in the vast majority of selection processes.

How are the tests used?

It is recommended by all suppliers of psychometric tools that they should only form part of the recruitment process and the hiring decision. They should be used to confirm the required traits rather than as the decision tool. However, in many sectors such as sales and accountancy, many businesses will turn down potential staff if they don’t meet a minimum level of a required trait – for instance in a sales capacity having above-average levels of drive and self-confidence and in accountancy high levels of accuracy, attention to detail and process compliance.

Psychometric tests form only a part of the recruitment process and are used mainly to affirm that your character and personality will enable you to succeed in the role.

The tests are often used in conjunction with aptitude tests, skills tests, emotional intelligence tests, IQ tests to form a very solid and powerful hiring tool.

Companies use them during their recruitment process as quite simply the tools have been proven to increase success factors and reduce staff attrition by as much as 50%. 

Date published: 29th February 2024

A photo of Simon Bonner, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Simon Bonner

With over 25 years in B2B sales and recruitment, Simon is an English Graduate from UEA and specialises in recruiting commercial and FMCG sales positions. Simon joined the sales recruitment industry in 1998 before progressing into field sales and returning to recruitment in 2015. As an Associate Director, Simon is well placed to understand the needs of clients and candidates' needs, having spent ten years selling electronic security and managing National Accounts within OEM manufacturers and distribution channels. An avid Luton Town football fan, Simon dotes on his two daughters and enjoys keeping fit, socialising, food and wine.

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