Use of Psychometric Tests in the Process of Recruitment

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According to a poll performed by the Society for Human Resource Management, over 18 percent of employers use personality tests in the hiring process. According to numerous industrial and organisational psychologists, as well as the Association for Test Publishers, this number is increasing at a pace of 10-15% per year. The structure of today’s organisations has evolved as a result of the industrial revolution, necessitating continuous adjustments in procedures. The demand for competent talent has increased as a result of the more specialised workforce and skilled nature of job. Employers have long struggled to find qualified individuals, and a variety of tactics have been used to attract, screen, train, and retain skilled workers. Psychometrics is one of the most recent developments in the recruitment of qualified people.

Psychometric testing techniques attempt to screen candidates by identifying desired characteristics. Such testing procedures have existed in various forms for millennia, and they have been employed to varying degrees of effectiveness. Unfortunately, far too many businesses apply the wrong psychometric evaluations in the wrong situations. Here’s what businesses should know to reduce potential dangers and improve the prediction accuracy of these testing.

Understand the law. When adding psychometric tests to their pre-employment screening system, organisations, hiring managers, and HR must keep regulatory compliance in mind. Assessment instruments (particularly cognitive ability tests) must be job-relevant and well-validated according to anti-discrimination regulations. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, testing in the United States must typically respect privacy and not attempt to “diagnose” candidates in any way.

Recognize your company’s requirements. If you don’t have well-established measurements of work performance, psychometric testing won’t help you. Organizations frequently place a greater emphasis on the predictors, or “independent variables,” than on the outcomes, or “dependent variables.” There is no basis for statistical correlations of how effectively psychometric exams (or any other kind of candidate evaluation for that matter) predict performance if a firm does not have quantitative measures of employee performance on the job. Once you’ve figured out what your company requires, make sure you select a test that will really evaluate those qualities. While there are rules prohibiting firms from discriminating against candidates or breaching their privacy, there are no regulations prohibiting companies from employing unusual or flawed assessment methods.

Reduce your chances of being caught cheating. Organizations should “proctor” assessment tests, either by having candidates take the assessments in their offices or by monitoring candidates via video conference if they are remote, to avoid the possibility that candidates will ask others to take tests on their behalf, particularly cognitive ability tests.

Remember that some candidates may feel compelled to “game” the system. To see if the candidate’s references and interview evaluations are consistent, compare them to their outcomes. If a sales candidate appears shy and understated in interviews and her references describe her as quiet and introspective, but tests as a people person who needs to be in the spotlight all of the time, this discrepancy may raise the question of whether the applicant is attempting to engage in “impression management” in order to appear as a more ideal candidate.

Some psychometric tests have built-in measures to determine whether a candidate’s pattern of responses reflects an attempt to appear a certain way or if the candidate’s answers are inconsistent. Organizations can receive a more consistent picture by using various psychometric tests. But don’t go overboard. Even a well-designed, legally sound, and predictive assessment battery will be ineffective if candidates perceive it to be excessively time-consuming or intrusive.

Candidates should be informed of the test results. While “informed consent” allows candidates the right to examine their results in most psychological research, few organisations give applicants access to the reports based on the psychometric tests they take. Candidates are frequently asked to sign a form renouncing their right to examine their findings. Regardless of whether a candidate receives or accepts an offer of employment, there are ethical and practical reasons to share results. 

A well-validated, job-relevant psychometric test report can be beneficial to any candidate. Candidates who receive and accept offers will see the reports as a useful starting point for discussions regarding their “onboarding,” while those who do not receive or accept an offer will value the organization’s professional politeness in sharing the feedback with them.

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