Psychometric testing in pharma

Psychometric testing in pharma

Psychometric testing in pharma has become increasingly popular. Pf asked its recruiters for insight.

Lauren Ward, Recruitment Consultant, Evolve

Psychometric tests are commonly used to provide an objective and impersonal view during a recruitment process, without unconscious bias. Certain tests are specifically designed to carry out in-depth measures of factors such as intelligence, working style, numerical and verbal reasoning and logical thinking. The type of test that is used by an organisation will vary depending on the job type and sector.

Applicants due to take psychometric tests can normally expect to answer a series of multiple-choice questions, where one answer is selected under time limited conditions. Many of these tests are performed online. The answer chosen will reflect the applicant’s own opinion of their capability, so it is important not to give answers that the applicant thinks the employer will want to see. Psychometric tests can usually detect when this happens.

Commonly, the results are assessed by an independent organisation who will provide a detailed insight as to how an applicant would potentially fair in a given role. Results can then be used during the interview process to ask probing questions to further assess an individual’s suitability for the vacancy.

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Clare Jones, Senior Consultant, CHASE

There are three main types of psychometric tests: aptitude and ability tests, skill and attainment testing, and personality testing. They are designed to allow employers and recruiters the ability to check a potential employee’s mental abilities, personality traits, skill, motivations, intellect, and interests. By applying psychometric assessments, the emphasis is to ensure that only the right people are hired.

Typically, a psychometric test should never be used in isolation, but as one part of a wider, integrated evaluation strategy. When used with other selection tools (interview/assessment centre), an employer can get a more rounded view of the candidate’s likelihood of success.

Rather than focusing retrospectively on experience and skills, psychometric tests can be useful in assessing a candidate’s future potential and possible development needs. Given the limitations of an interview situation, this is often otherwise difficult to ascertain. They can also be of advantage in helping candidates, who feel that they have underperformed in their interview or assessment centre, make up some lost ground. Go to


Martin Anderson, Managing Director, Carrot Pharma Recruitment

Beyond traditional testing, Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Fluid Intelligence (FI) are frequently being used. EI is a person’s ability to be aware of their emotions and those of other people, understand how they and others may feel and behave as a result of these emotions and use this to form productive working relationships. It’s about empathy, understanding, being flexible and adapting to other working styles.

FI is ‘the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations…the ability to identify patterns and relationships that underpin novel problems and to extrapolate these findings using logic.’1

When it comes to taking these tests, answer honestly and accurately. Numerical or verbal reasoning tests can be challenging but there are practice versions online.

I’d suggest that candidates make time for the tests, as some can be up to an hour. If doing them online, be in a quiet place with no distractions and be in good physical and mental health. They’ll perform better if they’re feeling fresh and positive.

When coupled with a strong interview performance, candidates can land that dream job.    Go to