Are Psychometric Tests Outdated?

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We are living in the age of ‘metrics.’

Everyone wants to find a way to measure their efficacy in every aspect of their business life, from the number of views they get on their LinkedIn Profile, to the number of steps it took to take the stairs rather than the escalator on the commute into work.

That said, the collection of certain ‘metrics’ has been around for much longer than wearable technology devices, and now experts are starting to wonder – do they really have any use in today’s world of Big Data?

One of the most common forms of testing comes in the form of psychometric testing. You may have undoubtedly been subjected to a battery of psychometric tests in the past that are designed to measure your individual mental capabilities and behavioural style. The idea behind these tests is that they can shed valuable light on who is best suited for specific roles or cultural fit.

 

Tools to explain, describe and predict human behaviour

While certain capacities, strengths and weaknesses might not become immediately apparent during a face to face interview, the additional administration of psychometric tests can help to shed light on hidden proficiencies (and deficiencies).

As Richard Mayson, Director & Executive Coach of Black Isle Group, says, “Certain personalities suit certain companies and roles more than others. Smart employment decisions are made by considering many factors, including personality.”

However, while the core tenets of personality assessment are strong and evidence based, the industry itself has what we refer to as a “reputation problem.” The industry of administering personality tests (often referred to as psychometric testing) is not regulated in any way.

 

Are psychometric tests outdated?

 

Despite the problematic flimsy tools available, there are still certain providers out there who administer powerful and accurate tests that assess (and predict) behaviour in far more reliable ways than purely conducting interviews alone. If you utilise reliable and time-tested assessment tools, they can detect regularities (and of course, irregularities) in a candidate’s thinking patterns and behaviour over time.

 

Rely exclusively on interviews and be prone to an incomplete understanding

The small slice of behaviour that you see during your interview can’t give you the same amount of important data that a properly administered psychometric test can provide.

While some people claim that psychometric tests are outdated and irrelevant, more businesses than ever are choosing to use them. Here are just a few of the main reasons that modern businesses are electing to administer psychometric tests to both internal and external candidates:

  • The business is growing fast, and they want to maintain a certain level of quality control during the hiring and promotion process.
  • They can reduce the problem of personal bias, or the halo effect (the experience of seeing someone initially in a positive light, and not being able to change that impression, no matter what happens next).
  • Psychometric testing can assist in risk management, helping HR to choose the best candidate for the job, and thus helping to reduce and minimise the high costs of staff turnover.

 

Do you have any experience with administering psychometric tests to potential candidates? In your experience, does this work better with new recruits, or those within the organisation who are looking to advance? Share your experiences in the comment section below.