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Why use psychometric testing in recruitment?
The word psychometric basically refers to the measurement of the mind. Unlike facets such as education, skills, experience, appearance and punctuality, the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate can be much more difficult to assess during an interview.
Some employers choose to use psychometric testing during their recruitment process to help give a better overall evaluation of a candidate and hopefully secure the best fit for the role. There’s some debate over the value of psychometric testing, but those who use it believe that it can give a more objective overview of a candidate’s character, strengths, weaknesses and working style. Typically, a psychometric test will never be used in isolation, but as one component of a wider, integrated evaluation strategy.
For employers, psychometric testing could help to gauge the future performance of a candidate and hopefully improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions.
How psychometric testing aids recruitment decisions
Psychometric testing can measure a number of attributes including intelligence, critical reasoning, motivation and personality profile. An interview process can be fairly subjective and although employers will normally assess skills and experience fairly accurately, much can still be left to gut instinct regarding aligned values.
A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can provide a better all-round view of a candidate’s suitability. It could be argued that psychometric testing offers some ‘scientific’ credibility and objectivity to the process of recruiting. It perhaps provides a more fair and accurate way of assessing a candidate, as all applicants will be given a standardised test.
Traditionally, these tests have taken the form of pen and paper, multiple choice questionnaires, but increasingly they’re moving into a digital realm. This means they can be quick and easy to integrate into any stage of the recruitment process.
Some organisations often favour psychometric testing as a way of screening (and subsequently eliminating) large amounts of candidates at the start of a recruitment drive. In this case, psychometric testing could help to drastically reduce the hiring manager’s workload, as it helps to swiftly identify a smaller pool of suitable applicants who have the potential to perform well in the later stages of the interview process.
Verbal and numerical testing
This method is used to give an indication of a candidate’s ability to process both verbal and numerical information while working to a time limit. These tests are conducted either prior to or on the assessment day, on or offline.
What do they measure?
There are different types of tests, but generally they’ll be used to measure how people differ in their motivation, values, priorities and opinions with regard to different tasks and situations. In terms of personality, the tests can give an indication of the working style favoured by a candidate and how they interact with both their environment and fellow workers.
The tests are helpful at analysing the more ‘hidden’ traits of an individual. Formal education and past experience will not always provide a clear, up-to-date assessment of these personal skills. Aptitude tests, for example, could help to provide a better, more realistic and current view of a candidate’s abilities than a formal certificate of education.
Appropriate allowances would be applied for those candidates requiring reasonable adjustments or for whom English is not their first language.
At Michael Page we have 40 years of recruitment experience, with offices in 35 countries and expert recruiters working across 25 disciplines; We have a long, successful history of matching organisations with top talent. View our recruitment process here.