Psychometric testing for Airline Pilots

Psychometric testing in the workplace has been around for some time now, and is employed by many businesses and Airlines across the public and private sectors. With a number of providers offering psychometric testing at various price points it is easily accessible and increasingly used by businesses and hiring managers around the world.

There is plenty of debate around the value of psychometric testing but those who use it may find it helpful in adding another piece of information about the individuals they are seeking to recruit. It is typically used as an additional component in the wider evaluation strategy, rather than as a screening tool.

So what are psychometric tests?

Psychometric tests are standardised assessments that are used to find out more about an individual. They are usually carried out online and participants asked questions with multiple choice answers. There are two main types of test. The personality test assesses your motivation and temperament and the cognitive or ability test assesses your thinking abilities through logic and problem solving.

Cognitive tests

Cognitive assessments are designed to test an individual’s mental ability or aptitude. These are usually timed and may cover questions on numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning. The questions in this test are designed to estimate the individual’s capacity to solve problems and acquire new knowledge.

An individual’s results for each category (numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning) are compared across norm groups for the role that they are applying for.

Within the pilot norm group, a pilot who scores at the low end of the cognitive scale may have more difficulty adapting to changing work conditions than a pilot who scores at the higher end. In an aircraft environment the stakes are high. A changing work condition might be an emergency that could lead to a significant loss of life if the pilot struggles to solve unexpected issues.

Personality tests

Personality assessments are designed to measure an individual’s temperament, morals, ideologies and motivation. Participants are often asked questions that do not have a right or wrong answer. You might be asked to agree or disagree with a statement or to rank the given answer choices. There may be a time limit imposed.

These tests seek to predict your ability to perform in the role based on your personality and might highlight certain risk factors. The reporting metrics can rate things such as your level of sociability, conscientiousness and behavior under pressure on a scale.

Any personality type can perform any role but in a pilot position where adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) is vital for the safe operation of the aircraft, a low level of conscientiousness might be construed as a risk factor.

How to pass a psychometric test

Generally, each assessment will provide a short practice before you begin the actual test. This will allow you to get familiar with how that particular test is administered.

Like anything practice makes perfect. Many of the tests tend to reuse similar formats for the questions they use. You can search online for practice personality and cognitive tests to try out.

Cognitive testing typically covers numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning so you might like to focus on practice exercises that challenge your weaker areas.

Personality tests often test the same metric several times by asking different questions. If you answer the questions based on what you think the employer wants to hear rather than honestly, it can skew the results.

The most important thing is to ensure you complete the test in a distraction-free environment and that you are feeling well rested and focused.

Need some advice?

If you are an Airline looking for a recruitment partner with extensive pilot recruitment experience register with us now. We can provide our expertise on psychometric testing and all facets of the recruitment process for permanent and contract pilots.

Find out more about WINGS Recruitment:

By Anna Milne

Anna Milne of Wings RecruitmentAnna is the Recruitment Manager at WINGS Recruitment. She has been involved in the recruitment of pilots and other flight crew for a number of years and has seen psychometric testing in action as part of the wider recruitment process.

Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.