Recruitment and Psychometric Testing
If you applied for a job 20 years ago, chances are you would have been interviewed by the Hiring Manager and possibly someone from HR. Often, the interview would merely be an informal “chat”.
However, gradually employers “primarily multinationals” started to use psychometric profiling, and now it is a very widely and extensively used recruitment tool.
Primarily, they provide additional information for the hiring process and on occasions they are used to conduct an initial screening of candidates where there are many applicants.
What is driving the extensive growth in the use of such tests?
There is a large and growing body of evidence that psychometric tests and questionnaires are among the best recruitment tools you can use.
Unlike facets such as education, experience, and skills, the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate can be much harder to assess during an interview.
Tests of this nature are devised by occupational psychologists and their aim is to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants or candidates for promotion.
These tests are used to see what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how they match up with the particular job requirements.
It’s important to understand the nature of psychometric tests and the different tools available. There is a distinction between a psychometric test and a psychometric assessment. The main difference is that a test measures your maximum performance using tasks that have right or wrong answers. An assessment will typically use a questionnaire-format, asking you to rate your agreement levels with certain statements, or perhaps indicate how frequently you feel a certain way.
Tests can be essentially broken down into two groups; Aptitude and Ability Tests and Personality Profiling. All, at this stage, tend to be carried out online.
- Aptitude Tests tend to fall into three categories: Numerical, Verbal Reasoning and Logical Reasoning. These do have a “right or wrong” element to them and tend to be timed. Sometimes, in fact quite often, candidates run out of time while doing these. It is extremely rare that the tests are completed in the allotted time, so no need to panic if you don’t fully complete. It would be advisable to try some sample questions before you try the real thing. There are many websites that provide opportunities to practices these tests and take some of the mystery away from them.
- Personality Profiling is the other group of tests which are primarily designed to measure your typical way of behaving and assessing what drives you in the workplace. General personality tests tend to seek “cultural or organisational fit”; for senior positions. Sometimes candidates will be required to complete a “Leadership Profile”.
What to do if you’re required to complete a psychometric profile?
Tests are simply one way of assessing the competencies relevant to a specific job, and should ideally be designed with that type of work in mind.
There are numerous practice tests and website on line. Specific tests can have websites where they will explain what they are measuring and give you an opportunity to practice.
As the clear majority are conducted online, find a quiet place and where possible, do a quick preview if time allows. Like an exam, read the questions carefully. With personality type questions, just be yourself; never try to second guess the question.
On aptitude tests, the key thing is not to waste time on a question; if you’re unsure and revisit if time permits. As psychological profiling is now used quite extensively in the recruitment process, if you are an active job seeker, you will become familiar with them and the mystery and mystique will be removed.
Brian Flynn, Psychometric Testing