Advertising a job and interviewing candidates

Practical tests, psychometric tests and assessment centres


As well as interviewing, there are other ways to select the best candidate. Options include:

  • practical tests
  • psychometric tests
  • assessment centres

Tests can be done before or at the time of the interview, but should not be used as the sole method of selection. Keep in mind that such tests could also be unlawful if they discriminate against candidates of a particular race, sex or age or those who have a disability.

Before using any kind of test, think about how relevant it is to the job and measure the benefits against the costs of organising them.

Practical tests

Practical tests are used to gauge ability and are most useful for:

  • manual jobs - eg to test trade skills
  • secretarial jobs - eg to test word processing skills
  • those working in call-centres or in telesales - eg to test telephone skills

Psychometric tests

Psychometric tests are more likely to be used when hiring managers and can be useful when choosing a candidate from a group of people who do not have easily comparable skills or experience. Psychometric tests can be used to measure intelligence, personality or aptitude for specific tasks, such as:

  • reasoning and problem solving
  • decision making
  • interpersonal skills
  • confidence

You should bear in mind that these tests:

  • are not always a good indicator of future performance
  • should not be used unless there is a proven need and a suitably qualified person to administer them
  • often require a fee when you use them

Assessment centres

These are generally used by larger organisations when hiring senior staff or graduates.

Individual and group exercises take place, sometimes over a few days, often including an interview, psychometric test and group discussion. Tasks, written exercises and presentations are also commonly used.