An interview is always going to be an effective method of candidate assessment, allowing employers to assess skills and experience with much accuracy. However, it can still be a fairly subjective tool as much of the assessment is based on the interviewer’s instinct and interpretation.
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Psychometric tests can infuse the recruitment and selection process with much objectivity. They have been statistically correlated with high performance. It comes as no surprise that the market is flooded with great online assessment software and recruitment software that come with psychometric testing capabilities.
What Are Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric testing can provide organizations with measurable and objective data that gives them a comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s personality and abilities. This enables them to secure the best fit for a role.
It makes the recruitment process fairer and more accurate. A psychometric test, however, can never be used as a sole candidate assessment technique. It must form a part of an integrated evaluation strategy.
When you have a pool of candidates with a similar technical skillset and experience, it can help identify a smaller pool who could be a better fit for the role.
It serves as an effective filter during the early stages of the interview process, ensuring that only the candidates who have the potential to perform better in the final rounds of interviews make it through. In some cases, these tests may also be administered in the final stages of the interview process.
Psychometric tests are designed to measure various attributes such as intelligence, critical reasoning, motivation, and personality profile. There are personality tests, and then there are logical reasoning, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, mechanical reasoning, abstract reasoning, and such other tests to measure ability.
Who is Using Psychometric Testing for Recruitment and Selection?
The biggest companies around the globe, such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, KPMG, and McDonald’s are known to evaluate candidates using types of psychometric tests, to name a few.
Used more commonly in IT companies, it is also being used by management consultancies, local authorities, banking, and financial institutions, the civil services, and even the armed forces to recruit and select resources.
A survey by Network HR found that over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US, in addition to 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK are now using different types of psychometric tests.
India too is slowly but surely catching up. A 2016 survey found that about 18% of Indian companies used different types of psychometric tests as a part of their hiring process. This percentage is growing at the rate of 10-15% per annum.
How Are Psychometric Tests Conducted?
There are various ways in which these tests can be administered. Some organizations make it a part of their telephonic interviews. Traditionally, there were pen and paper tests and multiple-choice questionnaires.
Now, however, with digitization, Human Resource Professionals use standalone online assessment software or recruitment software that comes with this feature.
Types of Psychometric Tests
Here are some of the most prevalent types of psychometric tests that organizations across the globe are using for their selection and recruitment process:
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The MBTI tests a candidate’s natural inclination based on four different dichotomies- sensing or intuition, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. The combination of these dichotomies creates 16 different personality types.
The MBTI is often regarded as an interesting tool for self-discovery. It has not been proven to be a valid form of selection. Choosing employees based on results from MBTI may lead organizations to miss out on actual talent. However, it is easily available and hence used more commonly by smaller organizations.
Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
Devised in 1949 by psychologist Raymond Cattell, it is more commonly known as 16PF. The psychologist identified 16 traits that are possessed by people in varying degrees.
There are 170 questions in the test. It seeks to inquire how an individual is likely to react to on-the-job situations. It can provide insight into whether an individual can be relied upon to finish tasks, perform under high-pressure situations, among other such things. It is considered as one of the more reliable types of psychometric tests because it is based on practical situations as opposed to general personality traits.
A behavior assessment tool, DISC, was developed by the industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke. He built it on the basis of a theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston. It assesses candidates on four different behavioral traits – dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.
Based on these behavioral traits, it determines whether a candidate is more task-oriented or people-oriented. More and more companies are using the DISC assessment to identify a candidate’s suitability for certain jobs and positions. There are more specific versions of DISC available to understand how an individual would react in a management or leadership role.
Verbal Reasoning Assessment
Widely used, Verbal Reasoning tests are used to evaluate a candidate’s understanding and comprehension skills. Some Verbal Reasoning tests are simpler based on sentence completion and analogies to test the candidate’s ability to use the English language in a business environment.
Some are more complex and difficult. They include short passages of text that require a candidate to choose from “True,” False,” or “Cannot Say.” This test attempts to evaluate a candidate’s ability to think in a constructive manner, draw logical conclusions, produce written reports, and convey information.
With the help of Verbal Reasoning Tests, employers can identify how an individual might understand critical business-related situations.
It helps them determine whether the individual is capable of drawing logical conclusions from company manuals and reports. It also tests a candidate’s ability to develop clear and articulate organizational reports and documents.
Numerical Reasoning Assessment
While the Verbal Reasoning test is based on a candidate’s language skills, the Numerical Reasoning test evaluates a candidate’s ability to interpret, analyze, and draw logical conclusions from numerical data that may be presented in graphs and tables.
It is not meant to test an individual’s mathematical ability but the ability to use numerical data in order to make well-reasoned decisions and solve issues.
Employers use statistics, ratios, percentages, and graphs as a part of the Numerical Reasoning test to learn the extent to which an individual is capable of identifying critical business-related issues from numerical data performance figures, financial results, and analysis reports, and logically drawing conclusions from them.
The candidate is required to answer multiple-choice questions based on the numerical information. Organizations use this test to learn whether an individual can effectively use numerical data to drive results, monitor progress, and achieve business goals.
Situational Judgement Test
Situational Judgement Test (SJT) presents candidates with about 16-20 short work-related scenarios with 4-8 possible responses. Candidates must use their judgment and rate each response on a scale ranging from strongly undesirable to strongly desirable and records the responses to these scenarios.
This test is designed to assess the quality of a candidate’s judgment calls in solving problems at work. It can help organizations understand the typical thought process of an individual in critical business situations. The test can be tailored to suit functions related to sales, customer service and IT and job levels such as that of a manager or team leader.
Logical Reasoning Assessment
Logical Reasoning tests are used to assess a candidate’s inductive and deductive reasoning abilities. It also takes into account an individual’s ability to use critical thinking in order to draw conclusions and recognize important facts.
Candidates are required to interpret and manipulate non-verbal content such as numerical data and pastoral patterns. It takes the form of an argument and candidates must draw a conclusion based on the evidence.
Different types of Psychometric tests can provide an objective overview of a candidate’s character, strengths, weaknesses, and working style when the results of the psychometric analysis are analyzed and interpreted correctly by trained professionals.
They can make the recruitment process sharper and smoother as long as they are used to assist and not drive the recruitment process.