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The utility of psychometric assessments has been debated in the recruitment industry for a long time. Recruiters differ on psychometric strengths and weaknesses. While some acknowledge the benefits of psychometric testing, finding it an extremely valuable assessment method, the others point toward issues with psychometric testing.
When psychometric assessments were developed in the early 20th century, they were used in educational psychology. However, over the years, psychometric tests have also been employed in the workplace and are believed to be contributing positively.
Employers choose psychometric tests to evaluate the cultural and personality fitment of potential employees. Psychometric testing enables employers to select employees who would fit a particular job role and continue in the company for extended periods. It is one of the most pertinent challenges for recruiters to assess their domain skills and personality traits and tendencies. The benefits of psychometric testing are unquestionable, not just in recruitment but also in training and development, high-potential identification, leadership development, succession planning and other dimensions of workforce management.
Traditional interview processes don’t reveal a candidate’s inherent traits. When finding a candidate with the right fitment, various personality metrics must be measured and quantified as per the company’s defined competency framework. It is imprudent to use intuition or gut feeling during recruitment. Recruiters must have reliable insights and objective metrics to select a candidate.
It is one of the most significant reasons psychometric tests have gradually gained greater importance in the recruitment process. Any company’s recruitment process is a means to identify its future employees. It is also indispensable to gauge their strengths and weaknesses to deploy them in the most suitable roles. It is widely believed that an employee will stay with a company for a longer duration if their values are aligned with that of the organization. The analysis of the alignment of values is also one of the advantages of the psychometric test.
Psychometric tests offer insights into a potential employee’s mental abilities, skills, intelligence, personality traits, motivations and interests. Recruiters can ensure that only the fitting aspirants join the company by administering psychometric assessments on them. Psychometric tests are useful tools at every level of candidate assessment, also for judging their growth and development once they are part of an organization.
A reliable psychometric assessment can evaluate a candidate and objectively measure human characteristics. These tests have proven to offer an adequate estimate of candidate performance on the job during recruitment and selection.
Based on these two fundamental aspects of candidates, the HR department analyzes them in the early stage of the recruitment process – the idea is to make objective decisions about them based on reliable statistics.
Psychometric tests can predict the candidates, and these insights help the recruiters to deploy those selected in suitable job roles. Companies use psychometric tests in the initial stages of the selection process to gain a holistic view of the candidate’s likelihood of success at the job.
Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric tests measure 4 key aspects of human personality:
Other benefits of online psychometric tests include saving time and reducing the cost per hire. Psychometric assessments also indicate a considerable improvement in the quality of hire. Psychometric tests are gradually becoming intrinsic to the hiring process, reflecting its widely accepted stature.
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The effectiveness of psychometric testing has often been questioned because of a test-taker’s ability to answer in a socially desirable manner or not being entirely true to their knowledge. Such a practice can mask a candidate’s real personality. Some candidates may provide misleading answers because of anxiety or an incongruent test environment. These anxious responses may diminish their suitability. However, advancements in Machine learning (ML) and other technologies have lent greater accuracy and result-orientedness to these psychometric tests, making them more useful.
In 2014, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA) and National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) provided various standards for psychological testing, which describes the right criteria for the development of tests, evaluation and usage. It suggests various standards related to designing the tests and development. It also talks about the scores, scales, score linking, reporting, administration of tests, and also the rights and responsibilities for the test users.
The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation has provided various standards for evaluation. It provides various guidelines for implementation, assessment and other insights for perfect evaluation. These standards make the results more feasible, useful and accurate, ensuring that the tests’ results are reliable and don’t provide misleading information.
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The advantages and disadvantages of psychometric tests can be termed as all possible pros and cons of psychometric evaluations, which hiring managers should consider carefully while creating these assessments for making a sensible hiring decision. The vast majority of multinational companies use psychometric tests nowadays, but these tests come with factors that are also worth considering.
The advantages of psychometric assessments include an in-depth understanding of the candidate, an objective recruitment process, reduced time-to-hire, improved ROI, and a greater chance of landing the best-fit candidate.
Psychometric assessment’s standardization and objectivity help provide nearly accurate results when evaluating a candidate’s fitment for the role. Different positions require different combinations of skills and personality traits. For example, if a company wants to fill a sales or a business development vacancy, some of the desired qualities will be social astuteness, self-motivation and strategic thinking.
One of the benefits of psychometric testing is its ability to reveal beyond what is mentioned on a candidate’s resume to conservatively predict fitment. Psychometric tests are an efficient means to know the strengths and weaknesses of a potential employee. Psychometric assessments also help recruiters chart a career trajectory for candidates within the company to find the right deployment strategy. If a candidate is shy or introverted but possesses the qualities required for the job opening, these tests can offer a platform for them to be recognized. Conversely, recruiters will not be tricked by overconfident candidates who would only answer what their interviewers wish to hear.
The other advantages of psychometric tests are cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. What may take several months for an organization to know about a person, a reliable psychometric test can supply that information within hours. Psychometric assessments reduce or diminish your chances of bad hires, providing a good ROI. While a good fit candidate is an asset for an organization, a bad hire can prove too costly to the organization and impact other employees’ productivity and morale.
Psychometric tests make the recruitment process fair and unbiased. They can help an organization maintain standards in objectively measuring personality traits and aptitude. The test score checks upon various parameters of the candidates and provides transparent results to weigh different people on the same scale for recruitment. Once the recruiter has the test results, they can explore other concerns by conducting further interviews. This proves useful if one wants to evaluate the candidate further in specific areas, based on the test results.The nature of psychometric testing enables easy screening of candidates, out of the bulk applications. It can act as a strong filter, especially in organizations with a high focus on cultural fitment and vision alignment as screening criteria.
The advantages of psychometric tests are not limited to recruitment but span an employee’s entire career cycle. Psychometric assessments indicate future potential, leadership orientation and learning agility that can empower HR professionals to make important workforce management decisions.
The world of psychometric assessments is crowded with tests and questionnaires, most of which are not valid. An organization must ensure that it has trained professionals who can distinguish authentic tests from the incompetent ones. The disadvantages of a psychometric test are:
The absence of the right training can be a hindrance to making the most of psychometric tests. These tests are often being deployed by people who are not trained well to interpret and use them. Personality tests and instruments require adequate experience to be able to put them to advantage. The prospect of misjudgment of the test results is relatively high. So, companies have to incur additional costs to train people or hire third-party professionals.
Standard psychometric assessment is readily available, and there’s a great chance that a candidate who wants the job will do their homework before appearing for the test. They can alter their responses to bring out the results desired by the organization, misleading the entire experience for everyone involved.
Many job seekers fail to give their best during the test because of nervousness or undue pressure due to time limitations. Psychometric assessments often do not consider certain factors such as cultural background or language barriers, leading to missing out on valuable talent. When creating or seeking a psychometric assessment, these advantages and disadvantages of psychometric tests must be considered to drive the maximum value and best result.
Considering the pros and cons of psychometric testing and its varied applications, the best way to implement is to combine it with other recruitment assessments and processes for a holistic picture. Once other methods such as skill tests, interviews, or group discussions are combined with the results of a psychometric assessment, the recruiter can get a fair idea of a candidate’s role and organizational fitment. Purposefully engaging with the candidates gives companies a solid foundation to know them better.
The role and benefits of psychometric testing don’t just end at a candidate’s selection. It continues well into the succeeding steps of employee development and promotions. For example, companies can implement personal development programs according to different job levels of the employees. These learning and development programs can be designed as per the interest and motivations of individual employees. So, psychometric tests also help optimize strategies for making a sound talent base.
Many companies have improved their recruitment decisions by incorporating psychometric and competency-based tests.
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Mercer | Mettl’s suite of psychometric tests are designed to measure the important immeasurables. They have been designed to evaluate behavioral and cognitive skills accurately and in a result-oriented manner.
Our subject matter experts can also provide companies with customizable solutions to address their specific needs in the recruitment and development process. We make your assessment process scientific and reliable.
Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric tests can provide predictive insights for assessing various traits of the individuals. These traits include:
Originally published March 30 2018, Updated August 18 2021
Vipul Srivastav is a seasoned marketing professional with expertise in branding and communication. He writes on numerous web platforms to share his views and experiences on various topics. In his free time, he does photography, reads fiction, listens to U2, and stays curious about the outer space.
Psychometric tests measure an individual’s personality traits and behavioral tendencies to predict job performance. Psychometric assessments gauge cultural fitment, trainability, motivations, preferences, dark characteristics, etc., to hire and develop the right people.