Psychometric tools for selection and recruitment (psychometric testing)
Psychometric tools, tests or instruments are all the same. Using psychometric tests in an objective way is an excellent way to assess how well candidates will perform in a role. For recruiters and employers it is essential to recognise which applicants not only meet the job specification and have the abilities to carry out the job but also fit into the company and work well within a team.
Psychometric testing can help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
‘A psychological test is any procedure on the basis of which inferences are made concerning a person’s capacity, propensity or liability to act, react, experience, or to structure or order thought or behaviour in particular ways.’ The British Psychological Society
From the employer and recruiter’s perspective it’s important to ensure that the candidates’ results are used in conjunction with other information collected around the recruitment project to base the selection decision. The results of psychometric testing should not be used as a standalone tool for recruitment; remember that the CV and interview are also part of the assessment process.
What type of psychometric testing should you use?
Firstly it’s essential and critical to ensure that you know what you are wanting to assess. So what’s the position? What are the competencies and behaviours required in the job description and person specification? Once you have identified these then you are able to select the right test/s.
Next, you need to find a qualified practitioner who is licensed and able to administer and interpret the tests. Remember too that is good practice to give robust feedback to all applicants that complete the exercises.
Working with your professional you can then decide if you are going to measure ability or personality or indeed both. A combination of exercises is the most thorough way to measure elements of aptitude, personality, intelligence, motivation or behaviours.
Psychometric testing for aptitude and ability
- Numerical reasoning – basic numerical data is presented in various forms, such as tables, graphs, problems and number sequences. Questions rely on basic arithmetic and evaluate the candidate’s mathematical intuition
- Verbal reasoning / Critical thinking – text passages are presented and candidates need to respond commonly with a “True/False/Cannot Say”. These tests require critical reasoning, firm grasp of English and good argumentation skills. They may include vocabulary questions and sentence completion exercises.
- Abstract reasoning / Inductive reasoning / Diagrammatic reasoning – candidates will be asked to recognise logical patterns through sets of shapes
- Accuracy and speed tests – demanding both accuracy and speed, these exercises look for the candidate to identify differences and mistakes in data.
Psychometric testing for identifying personality, discovering motivation and measuring potential
There are a wide range of personality questionnaires which offer recruiters the opportunity to discover behaviours, traits and motivation alongside potential and personality. Once again it is imperative to find a qualified consultant to administer, interpret and feedback.
These tools are specifically called questionnaires since there is no right or wrong answer. However from the profiles it is possible for you to identify how well the candidate will fit in your company; what their attitude is to risk; how they relate and communicate with others; what their preferred style of working is and other such important character traits.
- Personality & Motivation questionnaires – untimed exercises which have a long list of questions with a choice of 2 or more answers; often the questions are repeated with similar wording looking at consistency
- Situational judgement – these are often role specific exercises that are designed to identify how candidates would react or respond to real life work-like situations
Use psychometric tests with interviews
Again, it is not advisable to make a decision on selecting a candidate from their profile however using the results in conjunction with a tailored interview will give you a good deal more background and build your objective data so you can formulate a sound decision.
Psychometric tools are a quick, effective and often automated way to help sift and select the best candidates. More often than not your candidates can complete them through an online portal which is easily accessed. The tests themselves should be from reputable publishers and be valid and relevant for the purpose. Results will be given back to you and the candidates as a normed score and relative to a comparison group.
For example: If a test had 10 questions and the candidate got 8 correct; it would not necessarily mean that they had scored 80%. It would depend on the overall results of the comparison group. This reported scoring means that candidates can be compared fairly and equitably.
Alongside selection and recruitment, there are other workplace and personal solutions for using psychometric tools and these would be:
- Talent management and promotion
- Team development
- Personal development
- Career counselling and development
Lynn Tulip is a BPS level 2 accredited career management & HR specialist, highly experienced in the administration, interpretation and feedback of a wide range of published psychometric tools. She is author of Get That Job and Can’t Get That Job.