Using psychometric testing
Why you should use a psychometric test for recruitment
Hiring can be a taxing and difficult process for you and your organisation to go through. One of the key issues that stems from this process is the doubt of whether the person you are considering hiring is truly the right fit, concerns often range from simply whether they possess a personality that will fit in with your workplace culture, to if they have the right cognitive ability to be successful in the position. This is where psychometric testing comes into the recruitment process.
Psychometric testing is designed for employers to better understand aspects of a person’s character that often can’t be deciphered from a resume or standard one-on-one interview. Generally, these assessments are not used in isolation but can be helpful when evaluating three general characteristics that a person displays. Psychometric tests measure the skills, personality and competency of a potential candidate.
When using psychometric testing, start with defining the specific requirements of the role. Evaluations should be completed against a list of criteria or benchmarks so you can identify the capabilities the right person might possess. Next, a structured, competency-based interview (asking for specific examples of relevant behaviour in previous jobs) is recognised as having the broadest usefulness in the selection process.
There are aptitude tests – how people are likely to perform; intelligence – critical reasoning and thinking; and personality traits – measuring characteristics and tendencies. Some of these tests take a long time to conduct and require a psychologist to administer them and therefore can require significant investment. This is where you need to make decisions on how to invest in this process. You can focus the process on more highly skilled positions, instead of testing for all roles, or you can perform mass assessments, so you aren’t investing in multiple sessions that only have one or two participants involved at a time. While psychometric tests offer valuable insights, these tests should only be used as a part of the overall hiring process – as they can be somewhat skewed if the candidate knows how to answer – particularly for personality tests. Although most tests can actually detect if a candidate is doing this, it is not failsafe. So, to be really effective the tests must be used in conjunction with interviews and other checking mechanisms.
Complementary techniques used with psychometric testing
Assessment centre – typically used in a junior management or high-volume recruitment campaign, assessment centres involve role plays of specific scenarios, group activities, as well as interviews. These can also include a testing element and are ideal for achieving economies of scale.
Background checking – many prospective employers will only take time out of their busy schedules to look over written references. But you can’t just rely on a written reference to provide you with a personality report. Most written references will only go as far as to confirm previous employment. Check into professional qualifications by contacting the association that issued it, and create time to call references to gain a deeper understanding of the applicant.
Numerical reasoning tests - If it's relevant to your industry, adding numerical reasoning assessments to your application process can provide reliable indicators of the future job performance of your new job applicant. They are used to assess an individual's ability to deal with numbers and data. This is especially useful for a job role that requires the handling of large amounts of numerical information on a daily basis, such as in accounts or finance.
Logical reasoning tests - This sort of aptitude test measures how well the applicant can think through problems. They will often take the form of a series of puzzles or pattern recognition exercises, and usually have a time limit to add pressure. This is useful for roles that require specific skills in on-the-spot decision-making such as in customer service or sales.
Skills testing – there are a range of different tests that target literacy, numeracy, coding and data entry available on the market to ensure prospective candidates meet your technical skill requirements. Simply run a Google search to see what is available.
Commonly asked questions about psychometric testing
What are the three types of psychometric assessments?
What is a good psychometric test score?
As an employer, you are free to set your own standards for psychometric test results. Depending on the role, you may only require a 40 per cent for verbal tests, but a 70 per cent for numerical tests.
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