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Psychometric Tests – Accurate Portrayal or Creator of Doubt?

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The psychometric test has made its mark on the recruitment process across a range of sectors up and down the UK. 

The most interesting increase has been at the professional level where there is a real labour shortage. It raises the question, are these tests enhancing the recruitment process or reducing chances of making a successful hire?

Team fit is undoubtedly a crucial element in the recruitment process. Given how subjective this element is, it is widely recognised as a potential flaw in assessing prospective employees. A variety of external (and irrelevant) factors could have an influence on the process. The introduction of the psychometric test aims to provide a defined, clear and more importantly 'fair' assessment of team fit and personality.

However, imagine that you have been searching for the ideal candidate for the last 6 months and suddenly that perfect CV lands on your desk, you meet them, you're hugely impressed and they appear the perfect fit… only for a psychometric test result to lead to the rejection of what you believe to be the perfect candidate. You could be creating an opportunity for your competitors to gain an advantage.   

Confidence in such tests has risen with the increased development of technology and E-recruitment. Out of the companies that used psychometric testing, 81% said that they expected to make more reliable and less risky decisions, compared to only 67% who said the same thing in 2010. The percentage of employers who believed that psychometric testing can predict future performance rose from under half (49%) in 2010 to 57% in recent years.

The majority (94%) of organisations who used psychometric assessment did so during the hiring stage. The largest rise in the use of testing was in employee development activities, where 63% of companies now utilise them compared with only 43% in 2010. However, asking staff to take a test as they leave the firm has remained uncommon compared to the more personal exit interview.

Psychometric tests undoubtedly have their benefits and their rise in popularity amongst a range of sectors clearly shows they have a place in the recruitment process. How are they effectively used though?

Experience suggests a case by case basis. Having seen both sides where my clients have missed out on candidates by treating these results as gospel and others where it has significantly improved the hiring process. It should be an additional consideration to an interview process which is where it adds value, not the defining factor where it becomes a hindrance.



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