An Insight into Psychometric Personality Assessments

An Insight into Psychometric Personality Assessments

Psychometric tools have been in wide demand these days because of their vital use in various different settings. But before going further we need to know what it means. Psychometric literally means measurement of the mind, psycho = mind, and metric = measurement. Psychometric personality assessment is used to assist the appropriate selection of people applying for a role.

In addition to giving employers useful information about a candidate’s suitability for a position, assessment can also be a valuable tool for employers wanting to make decisions about promotions, team dynamics and individual’s development needs within an organization. The tests are a part of the selection process in conjunction with other traditional methods such as interviews.


Psychometric testing is a measurement process used by employers to provide object measures of one or more psychological characteristics like attainment, aptitude and ability along with the personal qualities such as beliefs, values, interests, personality can also be assessed. The few pre-requisites of a tool to be called a psychometric tool are Objectivity, Reliability, Validity, Norms, and Practicability.

Personality and Projective Tests

Psychometric personality assessments of personality involves the administration, scoring, and interpretation of empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles in order to: refine clinical diagnoses; structure and inform psychological interventions; and increase the accuracy of behavioral prediction in a variety of contexts and settings (e.g., clinical, forensic, organizational, educational) (APA).

The term Personality is derived from the Latin term “persona”. The meaning of the term persona is the “actors mask”. According to Gordon Alport (1937) “personality is the dynamic organization, within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment.”

Psychometric assessments of personality explore your unique way of behaving. Additionally, they measure how you relate to other people and your ability to deal with your own and other people’s emotions and the way you handle and solve problems. Because of its wide application, psychometric assessment can be in all sectors whether clinical or organizational-related.

Theories of Personality – Psychometric Personality Assessments

All the assessments have a theoretical background to it. These have further two divisions, which is Type Theory and Traits Theory. Type theorists have explained personality on the basis of physique and temperament. Three important type theories: Ernest Kretschmer’s Classification (Pyknic, Asthenic, Athletic and Dysplastic Type), William Sheldon’s Classification (Endomorph, Ectomorph and Mesomorph) and Carl Jung’s Classification (Introvert, Extroverts and Ambiverts).

Gordon Allport was the first person to adopt the trait approach against the type approach for the description of personalities. According to him the traits are the basic units of personality. Every person develops a unique set of organized tendencies called traits. Traits are distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person. He identified three types of traits (Cardinal, Central and Secondary) and Raymond Cattell has identified two types of traits (Source and Surface traits).

Various psychologists have given theories to explain personality and how it develops in an individual along with the factors affecting it. Each theory is unique and explains personality development and functioning in its own way. Some of the prominent theories are Psychoanalytical Theory by Sigmund Freud, Adler’s Theory, Carl Jung’s Theory of Personality, Karen Horney and Erickson’s theory.

Types of Projective Tests

Psychometric assessments of personality has broadly two categories, namely non – projective (Interview method, Behavioral observations and Questionnaire or personality inventory (rating scales)) and projective tests. Projective tests encourage the individual to project and reveal their inner feeling, own motives, attributes, attitudes and aspirations. Projection is one’s own attribution of motives, defects and desires to others. Thus, projective tests induce projection.

Features of Projective Tests

  • They present the person with a relatively non – structured situation or stimulus.
  • Secondly, all projective tests catch the subject off guard. They make the subject reveal himself without being aware of the fact that he is doing so.

Projective tests have been further categorized on the basis of the response types. These are Association, Construction, Completion, Expressive and Choice Ordering.

Murray R. Barrick, Michael K. Mount (1991) conducted a study to investigate the relation of the “Big Five” personality dimensions to three job performance criteria for five occupational groups. It concluded that Conscientiousness, showed consistent correlation with all job performance criteria for all occupational groups. Other findings reported that extraversion was an effective predictor for social interaction, managers and sales, and other domains of personality. These include Openness to Experience and Extraversion were valid predictors of the training proficiency criterion (across occupations).

Some tests for personality for adults are Big Five personality traits, 16 PF, Eysenck’s personality inventory, MBTI, Rorschach test etc. For children, Children’s Apperception Test, Children’s Personality Questionnaire (CPQ), PIC-2 Personality Inventory for Children, Second Edition etc. are popular.

Applications of Projective Tests

Psychometric personality assessments for personality are often a part of the clinical, forensic, organizational, educational sector. Additionally, in workplace, they employ and assess individuals for possible promotion. Similarly, in schools to determine the stream of subjects. Counselling setting to assess and screen the clients. Work place to determine leaders and efficient employees, it also helps early screening of personality disorders in children. Aids in identifying and to provide training in areas of deficit for school age children and employees of an organization.

Contact us if you are interested in a DiSC assesments program that is tailored to the needs of your organization or team.