We could go back in time and talk about the greatest minds in psychological testing like Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, and James McKeen Cattel who were keen on measuring individual differences. Or, the pioneers of the other school of thought like Herbert, Weber, Fechner, and Wundt who weighed psychophysical measures of similar construct. In fact, they laid the stones of modern-day experimental psychology and standardised testing. But, our topic of discussion today is how experimental psychology and psychometric assessments drive and influence hiring decisions, and why HR professionals and interviewing panels rely on these assessments.
What are hiring managers looking for?
A Cubics (now Talogy) study states that 84% of hiring managers reported that a culture fit is a key driver in hiring a candidate. A Deloitte study shows that for every job seeker, there are two openings, even with automation taking over some critical manual roles.
The recent pandemic brought the world to a standstill, yet it created a gig economy that millennials are now chasing and thriving in. In light of these recent and ongoing developments, the criteria for candidates in accepting or considering an employment offer is seeing a tectonic shift. There was a time when an attractive yearly package incentivised candidates to jump at seemingly lucrative offers but now many in the workforce are actively looking for workplaces that champion employee-centric benefits.
Besides being skilful in a particular role, hiring managers and HR teams look for passionate candidates with a willingness to learn, how prepared they are, and how resourceful they could be in real or hypothetical situations. To assess these parameters, psychometric assessments and tests can be a game-changer in revealing aspects of the candidate that may not be transparent outwardly.
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What are psychometric assessments?
Psychometric assessments or tests are conducted to gather insights and to evaluate a candidate’s performance based on their skill set, abilities, knowledge, intelligence, behaviour patterns, and personality traits, and to unearth any hidden potential that may not be visible at first glance.
Types of psychometric assessments
Psychometric assessments are primarily of two types:
1. Personality tests: Organisations now look for well-rounded candidates with equal parts intelligent quotient, emotional quotient, social quotient, and adversity quotient. Popular personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire, and Caliper Profile tests are often utilised during hiring for a smoother recruitment process. Personality tests help assess different traits of a candidate such as their degree of introversion and extraversion, their judgement skills, how they perceive a task or a situation, and how intuitive they are at handling a tricky situation. Tests like these can also shed light on what sort of employee or leader the candidate would potentially be.
2. Aptitude tests: Unlike aptitude tests that analyse emotions, behaviours, values, and personal interests, aptitude tests evaluate a candidate’s cognitive abilities and reasoning. It’s also a measure of intelligence across various parameters, and a candidate should ideally pass to get through to another round of interviews or bag the job. Some common aptitude tests include error finding, diagrammatic reasoning, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, and verbal reasoning. Some candidates may also be asked to take an abstract reasoning test. When performed well, it is an excellent opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate how quickly they can think on their feet.
Why organisations should leverage psychometric assessments while recruiting
Helps fight bias: Gender-based discrimination is still rampant in the workplace, and there aren’t enough opportunities created for women. The International Labour Organisation’s ACT/EMP Report Research Note, Breaking Barriers: Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace finds that men and women are never given equal access to leadership development programs, even though it is equally important for women to go higher up the rung.
In fact, only 51% of women reported interactions with a company leader once a week in comparison to 62% of men. As most senior leadership roles are held by men, it further perpetuates the notion of why men should continue to hold such positions. Psychometric assessments are fair as they present facts and help remove bias and judgement when hiring.
For valuable data and insights: Psychometric assessments when compared with those of other candidates help managers gather valuable insights into their psyche and working styles. It is a systematic way to categorise a person’s strengths and weaknesses according to the job profile. It paves the way for recruiters to ask follow-up questions to understand the gaps in skill and how the candidate may be helped to progress further.
Improves employee engagement: Psychometric assessments aren’t a one-time solution and are often used throughout an employee’s stint with the company. While it may be first used to decipher how good a fit the candidate is for the company culture, tests such as these can also be leveraged in gathering more data to enhance the employee experience. It helps track employee progress and supports the company in creating opportunities after analysing their potential for more leadership roles. It also trails an employee’s learning speed and can help in career development.
On the flip side, many organisations shy away from conducting psychometric assessments as they can be expensive. Since they are also too many to choose from, hiring teams may have a tough time deciding on which test to settle on. Evaluating psychometric tests may also pose a problem in the wrong hands. If HR teams and hiring panels aren’t well-trained to interpret or use them, it may bring about prejudices and misjudgement with the results. So, local HR teams often hire experts to conduct the assessments. However, psychometric assessments are an excellent tool to leverage when hiring and making hiring decisions. It will help you find the perfect yet unique fit and make the selection process easier.
- A brief history and introduction to Psychometrics | LinkedIn | December 13, 2015
- ‘Hire for culture, train for skill’. Recruiters reject candidates based on their lack of cultural fit | Talogy
- Government can win the talent race—Here’s how | Deloitte | May 23, 2022
- What is a Psychometric Test? Your 2022 Beginner’s Guide | JobTestPrep
- ACT/EMP Report Research Note, Breaking Barriers: Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace | International Labour Organization | August, 2017
- Why & How to Use Psychometric Testing to Better your Hiring | Polyglot Group | January 23, 2022
- Leveraging Psychometric Assessments For Better Hiring Decisions | Glider
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