Psychometric Test Design. People having colour fight.


Rob Williams Assessment Ltd specialises in custom psychometric test design services. We believe that a bespoke psychometric test offers significant benefits from improved face validity, predictive validity and improved ROI.     I     +44 (0)77915 06395

Headed up by Rob Williams – the highly experienced author of five books on psychometric testing. Our organisation prides itself on client satisfaction. We have many positive LinkedIn reviews from our big client projects.

Psychometric Sift Designs

Many of the UK’s and US’s leading test publishers have used Rob Williams Assessment’s to calculate and prove the reliability of their newly developed psychometric tests.

Rather than using traditional personality tests, we design much more cost-effective personality fit tools. The scoring algorithms can be enhanced over time using artificial intelligence. With training companies and consultancies, Rob Williams Assessment Ltd build coaching and employability profiling tools. With recruitment agencies we also design culture and role fit personality-based assessments to improve the efficiency of matching clients to the best-fitting jobs.

Culture Fit Designs

This reflects a growing recognition of the need to match individual applicants to organisational culture. Typically graduates favoured corporate cultures but now often find the culture of SME’s/start-ups to be more engaging and ‘meaningful’.

In fact, an increasing number of recruitment agencies use Rob Williams Assessment Ltd’s bespoke algorithms for culture fit to improve their shortlisting process for key clients. More accurate shortlisting created efficiencies for both the agency and for their clients. Shortlisted candidates are also happier; knowing that the agency is only putting their details forward to the jobs and companies that are the best fit for them, personally.

Key Steps to Bespoke Personality Test Design

Next, and in consultation with our client, Rob Williams Assessment Ltd, used similar process for designing both the Talent Window and the Hire Window personality tests. The client then arranged for online trials with in excess of 100 members of the target graduate audience.

Custom assessment outcomes

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd successfully applied the British Psychological Society’s best practice in personality questionnaire design.

Both bespoke personality questionnaire met the client’s aim of measuring the most commonly sought graduate personality traits.

Employers are increasingly using bespoke situational judgement tests (where the candidate is presented with scenarios and asked to select the best and the worst thing to do next) as a way to learn more about their character and attitudes to work.

Rob Williams Assessment also design gamified personality assessments for Hire Vue. Increasingly, these form a highly engaging component of HireVue’s video-based assessments.

Psychometric Test Design. Man at desk working at laptop, picture taken from the top

Branching situational judgement tests 

As psychometric tests have become more commonplace, the bigger users have commissioned their own bespoke situational judgement tests. Rob Williams Assessment has worked on several such projects for High Street banks and for the European Union. Another recent innovation of test developers has been online adaptive tests. With these tests, if you are doing well, you will find that the questions get progressively harder. That can feel like a challenge since you are pushed until you reach the most challenging level you can. This is the level at which you – just like other candidates with your level of verbal reasoning – start to get questions wrong.

The innovative design of shorter and more efficient tests was driven by an increasingly aware of the immediacy of the Internet and our increasing use of emails and social media, in short, sharp bursts.  This discourages test takers from spending 30-40 minutes online doing the same questionnaire. It’s better for everyone to keep test takers engaged when being tested – not bored!

So what will adaptive tests mean for you as a prospective test taker?  The biggest difference is the shortness of the test. The second major difference is that you will find an adaptive test more challenging. Without getting into their highly technical make-up, the test adapts to your ability level. More specifically it adapts to find the most challenging question that you can answer correctly.

In the past, you may have found questions on a test fluctuating in difficulty or generally becoming more and more difficult the further on you get in the test. Consider a test of twenty questions with the first the easiest and the twentieth the most difficult.

Knowledge-based situational judgement tests 

Some or all of the scenarios presented in an SJT can test specific job knowledge. For example, a retail marketing SJT may ask questions about the 3Ps (price, position, promotion) of product marketing. Alternatively, both an SJT measuring generic decision-making skills may be used alongside a knowledge-based test.

Video-based Situational judgment tests 

Simulated situational judgement tests are increasingly common as recruitment sifts. Adding 2D or 3D workplace scenario graphics brings the situational judgment test scenarios to life. This can only promote the company brand and make employers using simulated situational judgment tests more desirable employers.

UK and US psychometric test publishers have produced both video-based and animated SJT scenarios. Animated SJTs are easier – and therefore cheaper – for global companies to develop.

Bespoke situational judgement test design

Situational judgement test design clients include BUPA, Citibank, British Airways and Boots.

Bespoke aptitude test sifts

  • Verbal reasoning test design.
  • Numerical reasoning test design.
  • Abstract reasoning test design.

Aptitude test design clients include EPSO, Kenexa IBM and HireWindow.

Psychometrically Sound Tests

To be psychometrically sound a test must be:

  • Objective – the results obtained are not influenced by the administrator’s personal characteristics or irrelevant factors such as the colour of a test taker’s socks.
  • Standardised – the test is administered and scored according to standard procedures and people’s scores are compared to known standards.
  • Reliable – the test measures in a consistent way. The potential error is small and is quantifiable.
  • Valid – the test measures the characteristics which it set out to measure. A test used to select a job applicant should predict job performance. A test of verbal ability should predict this area and not some other skill.
  • Discriminating – the test should show clear differences between individuals on the behaviour being tested. It should not be discriminatory I.e. unfairly discriminating against minority groups on the basis of irrelevant characteristics

Example Psychometric Test Projects 

Rob Williams has over twenty years of experience of bespoke psychometric test design. Plus ten years prior to this spent working for several of the UK’s leading test publishers. These include IBM, OPP, SHL and HireVue.

British Airways 

Blended assessment project:

  • Situational judgment test design;
  • Numerical reasoning test design;
  • Verbal reasoning test design
  • Personality questionnaire design.

For these two British Airways roles:

– Cabin crew assessment; and

– Customer service representative assessment.


  • Best practice was followed throughout the design process in SJT design.
  • An SJT was produced which successfully incorporated a range of care home-specific scenarios.
  • The most suitable set of scenarios could be hand-picked at the SME panel meeting, as well as gaining buy-in and discussing implementation.
  • Providing some scenarios for telephone interview sifts.
  • Setting a suitable cut-off and validating the tool.

EPSO Test Design

  • Development of project management test.
  • Design of IT skills-based aptitude tests.

Psychometric test design

Work Styles assessment design

We will work with you to design the most suitable work styles tool to suit your needs. Our Bespoke Personality Questionnaire design process aims to:

  • Firstly, include key role dimensions.
  • Secondly, reflect the personality, attitudinal and motivational aspects of the role-specific dimensions.
  • Thirdly, have face valid questions.
  • Also, to be capable of completion in 20 minutes approx.
  • And to adopt a single-stimulus question format (Likert scale)
  • Plus, adopting a normative format of scoring utilising a sten look-up table (for each personality scale)
  • And finally, using a Social Desirability scale to deal with the issue of faking or extreme scoring patterns

Psychometric test design

Assessment Interview Questions Example – for Data Scientist

  • Firstly, is there a trade-off between bias and variance?
  • Secondly, how can gradient descent be a problem?
  • Thirdly, when have you used Exploratory Data Analysis?
  • Fourthly, what steps do you take when choosing a Machine Learning model?
  • Next, are convolutions best for images?
  • Then, are Residual Networks important? 
  • Also, how does batch normalization work? 
  • And have you ever worked with an imbalanced dataset?
  • Next, what are the highlights of your MSc research? What didn’t work? What else could you have done? 
  • Then, how have you overcome over/ underfitting your data model?
  • What are dimensionality’s dangers?
  • Next, how would you run a Principal Component Analysis (PCA)?
  • What is data normalization?
  • Also, why is dimensionality reduction important?

Next, the School Entrance Tests 11+ Verbal
Reasoning Practice

Our book on Passing Verbal
Reasoning Tests book


Firstly, to improve your literacy skills.


Firstly, our top Maths
test tips. And here are some useful mental Maths practice.

Also, we hope you enjoy
our top tips to improve your literacy


You will find this to be
a useful mental Maths practice.

Also, here’s some
extra practice to improve your literacy
 and your Spelling and Grammar.

Our Practice assessment books 

Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests and Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests.

Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests gif

Numerical Reasoning book reviews

Buy this book to pass!

Brilliant book. Read it from cover to cover. Don’t skip the chapters. I know it can seem patronising, the way he breaks it down, but I’d recommend reading it through.

Brilliantly practical and informative

What a great practical book. It starts from what is a numerical reasoning test, covers why numerical reasoning tests are used, who/how we use numerical reasoning, tips for test day and even helps you brush up on your Maths skills – yes all those little shortcuts you wish you remembered. More than 3/4 of the book is dedicated to actual practice test and not only the answers are provided, but also an easy to follow explanation of each. Definitely a worthwhile buy.

Very clear layout to follow, questions advance over the …

Very clear layout to follow, questions advance over the chapters and it sets a steady pace. This book helped me immensely to get all the practice I needed within 3 days.

A really useful book 

Numerical Reasoning book reviews

Another really useful book by Rob. I will be recommending this to my delegates on interviewing/assessment techniques training; clear, concise and, if you are applying for jobs with a strong numerical focus, the best £10 you will spend! I heartily recommend.

Five Stars

Great book and pretty hard numerical exercises.

Useful, informative and good value

A very user-friendly and easy to read guide. Really focuses your mind on brushing up on your Maths skills. The author explains clearly how you can prepare to give your best for a test. Very useful and highly recommended.

Five Stars

Great book, tons of info and test to help you understand.

Great to get some practical help on how to succeed … at this stage of selection. I will recommend to anyone who needs to get through a numerical reasoning test.

Passing Verbal Reasoning book reviews

Brilliantly practical advice

The advice and practical examples will answer all your questions about an impending assessment. The book is easy to read and covers preparation, practical examples and an overview of the usual proceedings on test day.

The author also highlights questions to be asked before test day and (I was very pleased to see) encourages feedback after assessment. The recaps at the end of every chapter are great for a quick overview before test day. Definitely a worthwhile investment and sure to put you at ease before an assessment of this kind.

A MUST BUY for anyone attempting to pass any verbal reasoning test.

Verbal Book reviews

An informative yet easy to read book which helped me get through graduate-level tests to the next stages of application. Would highly recommend.

Excellent sample tests and explanations

Passed the VRT for HMRC Legal Trainee Scheme this year after reading this book. Helpful.

Very useful and good practice

The book has a good range of tests that reflect what comes up in real tests – so pretty good practice for the real thing

Highly recommended

Just what I needed to further my career. Now I’ve tried the tests I feel more confident.

Good quality and light reading!

An excellent guide to performing well in verbal reasoning tests.

This book is an extremely well written and helpful guide for anyone needing guidance in how to perform well in verbal reasoning tests. There are plenty of examples of different levels of tests. Clear explanations of the correct responses are given. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is facing taking verbal reasoning tests in pursuit of a new job or promotion.

Psychometric test design

Additional assessment practice

Registered Office: Rob Williams, 31 Bruton Way, Ealing, London, W13 0BY

Companies House Registration No: 6572976