Organizations are increasingly appreciating the value of data in making strategic decisions. In people management, the use of psychometric tests is on the rise as more than 75% of fortune 500 companies are utilizing psychometrics in their hiring process and in assessing their staff development needs. Psychometric tests provide key information on an individual’s psychology and preferences based on scientific data as an addition to what is derived from interviews and candidate documents. Let’s look at psychometrics in adaptive leadership in Kenya and East Africa in general.

What are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are assessments that are used to test an individual’s personality or cognitive abilities.  They are based on competency frameworks developed by psychologists who study data on employee and leadership behaviors in relation to job performance and workplace effectiveness. Most psychometric tests consist of a pool of scientifically designed test questions administered to candidates in a standardized environment to ensure accuracy and reliability. Psychometric assessments are categorized into aptitude and personality tests.

Aptitude tests are designed to measure the candidate’s current abilities in specified areas and the likelihood that they will learn the skills required to fulfill the requirements of a job. They can be used to gauge a candidate’s ability to solve abstract, verbal, quantitative, mechanical, and spatial problems.

Personality tests are designed to assess a candidate’s motivation, values, preferences and interests in relation to a job. They can be used to assess a candidate’s ability to work in a team environment and how a person thinks, feels and relates to others. 

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Why are psychometric tests important?

Indicator of personality traits 

Psychometrics provides a deeper understanding of how an individual might behave in a specific situation, for example when under pressure. Such a trait may not be clearly demonstrated through an interview.

Reliable and unbiased opinion 

Psychometrics serve as an unbiased agent providing objective data drawn from psychological and technological models that are designed to be reliable and cheat proof to ensure data accuracy.    

Value for money 

Psychometrics draw lots of information about an individual in a short span of time in a cost-effective manner and generate more insights than face-to-face or virtual interviews.

Ways your organisation can benefit from psychometrics

  1. Match candidates to a specific role

Making hiring decisions can be a stressful experience especially when you have more than one exceptional candidate. Psychometrics can be used to match candidates in a recruitment process to a specified role. When the competencies required for the role are clear,  a candidate’s personality and aptitude test results can be used to produce a report indicating their match to the role. This report provides a data point to help in decision making.      

  1. Determine the cultural fit of a candidate

Psychometric providers can generate reports that can predict the culture fit of an individual which gives an indication of the aspects of the culture, job and environment that are likely to enhance or inhibit a person’s success. Recent groundbreaking research in assessments suggests that a person’s motives and talents interact significantly with culture, job and environment characteristics and impact their work performance and competency.

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  1. Identify leadership impact and The impact of adaptive leadership in Kenya and East Africa in general

Psychometric assessments go beyond competencies and can be utilized as a predictor of a candidate’s behavior to achieving organisational outcomes. For example, some of the assessments offered by Cedar Africa Group are used to match a candidate to their leadership styles. They explore the candidate’s strengths and limitations in various leadership impact areas which are interpreted against key work requirements. The assessments can also give an indication of the workplace situations where an individual is likely to be more or less effective as a leader.

  1. Identify employees’ development areas

In performance management, psychometrics can be used to identify an individual’s areas for growth. Assessments can be used to determine a candidate’s strengths and areas for development, based on their preferences, motives and talents in critical work areas, . The tools can also give an indication of possible overplayed strengths and recommend development activities. This assessment can be used by a performance reviewer to lead the conversation on development priorities.

  1. Effectively Manage change   

In as much as psychometrics have been widely used as tools for recruitment, they can be useful tools for managing change. The assessments can provide valuable insights about people in teams in areas like their personality, preferred work environments and how they may react in the face of change. Armed with this information, a change leader will have an understanding of the strengths, limitations and untapped potential of the team, and how these can work together to ensure successful change.

Also Read: Organisational Change- A Current Necessity


Psychometric assessments provide objective data on an individual’s personality traits, workplace behaviors, culture fit, leadership potential and development areas. They are best used in combination with interviews by hiring managers to facilitate recruitment decision making, or as part of a coaching process to help an individual become more self-aware thus encouraging development and maximizing performance.

Written By Joseph Waruiru

Joseph is a Talent and Change Consultant. He is skilled at developing change strategies and plans, creating change management plans and interventions. He is also a Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner, a Strengths Scope Coach and a holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.


Interested in psychometric assessments reach out to us at [email protected]