Psychometric assessment is nothing new to the world of HR. In fact, it has been used since the 19th century. You may have come across it yourself as well. Regardless of whether it was through the employer or employee front, many of you may have heard of, used, or gone through psychometric assessment. For some, it may be an intimidating topic, for others, it may be somewhat of a hassle and for most, a question of what the benefits are.

Over the years, the use of various assessments for the purposes of recruitment and selection has increased immensely. Latest studies show that 68% of organisations and 75% of the leading companies actively use various forms of psychometric assessment in the recruitment process. In Australia companies such as IBM, Telstra, KPMG, EY and BHP undertake psychometric assessment for hiring purposes.

From the outside looking in, you might wonder what all the fuss is about psychometric assessment. I’m here to simplify it and shine some light on the topic.

To begin with, what is Psychometric Assessment? It is defined as a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style. In simplified terms, for recruitment and selection, it is used as a gauge of current, and a predictor of future performance. Generally psychometric assessment is used in conjunction with other selection tools such as structured interviews, work samples and reference checking. It is broadly classified into two classes: 1. Aptitude Tests and 2. Ability Tests

Types of psychometric assessment

The two broad classifications include various types of psychometric assessment. Here at Optimum we have a wide range of tests that we can administer depending on the role and its requirements. It can range from clerical to technical tests. For the purposes of simplicity, the tests that are administered most of the time through Optimum are laid out below.

1. Cognitive ability – measures general mental ability through questions focusing on verbal, numerical and abstract skills.

2. Personality – measures personality characteristics of candidates that are pertinent to the role.

3. Values and motives – assists in understanding a person’s energies and drives which helps identify where they are likely to gain most satisfaction and make the biggest contribution at work.

There is no shortage of psychometric assessment and its providers for the purposes of recruitment and selection.  However, it is important that you don’t engage in the process “for the sake of it”. After all it is a significant investment of time, money and effort both from a company and candidate perspective.

So, what are the true advantages of undertaking psychometric assessment?

Here are my top 3:

1. Predictor of performance

Predicting future performance should be high on the agenda. If so, a cognitive ability test ranks well (Figure 1). This in combination with a personality test and structured behavioural interview would provide strong tools that will predict future performance.

2. Organisational fit

Attracting the right people is crucial for any organisation and personality tests offer a strong tool for this purpose. Through this, complimentary personalities could be added to the team and core values of an organisation could be upheld.

3. Room for growth, higher engagement and performance

Attracting the right candidate to an organisation is not the end of the process. For long term benefits, it is also crucial that you engage, retain and develop employees. For this goal, psychometric testing is a strong tool.

In addition to this, the work we have done with clients has also shown that the use of psychometric assessment has led to greater levels of retention in the long run.

As is always the case, there is a flip side to this. Here are two points to look out for and avoid.

1. There is more to the process

Psychometric assessment should not be used a sole decision-making tool. It is one part of the process in candidate selection and must be used in conjunction with other tools to make an informed decision.

2. Don’t over analyse, this is a support tool.

There is always a risk that the results of psychometric assessment may be over-interpreted, and this runs the risk of nullifying the purposes of its administration. To overcome this, a qualified individual within the space could be used to interpret the results.

Through this article,  I have hopefully simplified psychometric assessments for you or have gotten you thinking about your own selection process. It might be time to re-evaluate your selection process and/or incorporate psychometric testing into it. If so, let us know.  We can seamlessly incorporate organisation specific psychometric testing into your hiring process.

Chaanya Fernando


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