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Psychometric testing within an organisation - a value-added step in the recruitment process

by Candice Smith | Dec 09, 2014
"Psychological assessment is a process-orientated activity aimed at gathering a wide array of information by using assessment measures (tests) and information from many other sources (e.g. interviews, a person's history, collateral sources). We then evaluate and integrate all this information to reach a conclusion or make a decision. Seen from this perspective, testing (i.e. the use of tests, measures, etc.), which involves the measurement of behaviour, is one of the key elements of the much broader evaluative process known as psychological testing." (Foxcroft & Roodt, 2007)
Within most organisations, employees determine the success of the company. For this reason, it is vital for the company to select the right candidate for a particular position in the recruitment process. Not only should the company select the right candidate fit for their environment but also retain and develop their current talent.

Says Candice Smith, account manager at The Recruitgroup: "The benefit of Psychometric Testing in the selection process is immense, but only if these psychometric assessments are used properly and in a professional and informed manner."

Psychometric assessments are tailored to suit the organisation's specific needs and requirements. These assessments can be used for varying reasons which could include selection, promotion, training or career counselling.

The benefits of psychometric testing include:

1. Cost-saving

Your company will save by hiring the right person the first time.

In the current employment market with fewer good candidates to select from, it can be easy to select candidates that do not meet all of the role requirements but may be the best potential candidate in your pool. Although this allows you to fill the position in the short term, the long-term effects of decreasing the quality of your employees cannot be underestimated. Some of the undesirable consequences of bad hires include lowered employee morale, decreased productivity, lost customers and market share, and higher training, severance, and recruitment costs (Right Management Consultants, 2006).

2. Time Savings

The use of psychometric assessments help to screen out unsuitable candidates earlier in the process allowing the time to focus on the more suitable candidates. Some organisations often favour psychometric testing as a way of screening (and consequently eliminating) large amounts of candidates at the start of a recruitment process. In this case, psychometric testing could help to radically reduce the 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 interview.

3. Ensures Objectivity

The evaluation of candidates using objective information results in everyone being treated equally and therefore fairly. Employers use assessments as they are believed to offer greater objectivity, reliability and validity than interviews. The tests are standardised which means that all applicants sit the same assessment and are scored according to the same criteria, no matter where or when the test is completed. A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can give you 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.

4. Identifies strengths and development needs

The organisation can initiate development and training plans for their staff which results in maximisation of potential and retention of employees. Psychometric testing is designed to provide insight into an individual's personality, and can indicate things like leadership potential, decision-making ability, and general temperament.

5. Predicts behaviour

Most importantly, the use of psychometric assessments in an organisation has the potential to assess what all the other selection processes and information may not be able to, which is potential future behaviour. Organisations are realising the need to assess future employee's ethical stand and their intrinsic qualities, which guides an individual's decisions in respect to everyday problems and values that relate to personal beliefs and attitudes. Due to an increase in theft, fraud, drug use, alcohol problems and violence; psychometric testing is becoming an increasingly important predictor of potential future behaviour to rule out future high-risk employees. Although a résumé can give a strong indication of your skills and abilities, your level of education and work experience, it cannot stipulate your character traits, and traditionally it has been the job of the interviewer to assess these, through the interview itself and by asking questions about character when undertaking reference checks. The psychometric test is intended to give an unprejudiced assessment of these traits.

One cannot believe everything that is written in a résumé , nor can one trust everything that is said in an interview. Candidates will always try and present themselves in a favourably light and a select few will lie just to get the position. The benefit of using psychometric assessments is that the assessments can pick up how the candidate responds by using a specific style or response set that might show any false or misleading information.

Some employers choose to use psychometric testing during their recruitment process to help give a better overall evaluation of a candidate and optimistically secure the best fit for the role. There's some debate over the worth of psychometric testing, but those who use it believe that it can give a more objective impression 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 process.

Says Candice: "By choosing to use psychometric assessments in your recruitment process, you will not only be saving on recruitment costs by selecting the right candidate in an objective manner that will lessen your workload but also with the combination of other sources, you will be able to obtain information on past, present and most importantly potential future working behaviour."