- Matt Stevens
Psychometric testing is a process that assesses people’s personality traits, intelligence, abilities, interests and aptitudes.
But did you know that these tests can help recruiters select the very best candidates to join their workforce?
Psychometric testing: A breakdown
Recruitment processes are tough for those recruiting, and added to this there is usually a lot of administration involved too.
Psychometric testing is used to establish a number of key traits and abilities to help make the process smoother and less draining on internal resources. This form of testing enables you to pinpoint specific areas and ensures that your selected candidate will fit seamlessly into your organisation.
Some examples of the types of testing available are:
- Numerical reasoning
- Critical thinking
- Situational judgement
- Personality traits and values
These can also be broken down and customised to the type of industry you are recruiting for, which is important as different traits and abilities are needed for different industries.
Some examples of the industries that can benefit from psychometric tests are:
- Managerial and professional
- Industrial and technical
- Call centres and customer service
- Sales and admin
Where did psychometric testing come from?
Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist, first proved classical conditioning and behaviourism applied to animals. Pavlov is most famous for his ‘Pavlov’s dogs’ experiment, in which he discovered an unconditioned response in dogs’ salivation associated with being fed.
Pavlov began to see how interaction and the environment around us are at the centre of our learning and behavioural habits. Dr John Watson and B.F. Skinner later proved Pavlov’s theories in humans in 1921. Of course, the study and use of behaviourism have developed dramatically over the last 100 years and, thanks to a number of psychologists, modern intelligence tests have been developed to find the ideal candidate during recruitment processes.
Recent figures show that 75% of FTSE 100 companies use psychometric testing and profiling when recruiting. This invaluable tool is clearly very valuable in the recruitment industry and key to helping recruiters find the perfect professionals.
Psychometric testing in today’s recruitment industry
With the vast array of laws and regulations surrounding employment here in the UK, more companies than ever are making sure that they employee people who are the right fit for their organisation.
Recruiting can be a very costly process, and testing aims to reduce long-term recruitment costs by making sure the right people fill the right roles the first time around, thus reducing the chance of making a bad hire.
With entry-level positions, and in particular graduate jobs, recruiters sometimes consider hundreds of applications for each role. Graduate schemes are huge investments for employers, and psychometric testing is a way of reducing the risk involved in making such a big investment, as well as cutting down the number of applications in an efficient manner.
How to use testing in the recruitment process
So, we’ve discussed psychometric testing in detail and delved into its beginnings, but how is this unique tool used for the purposes of recruitment?
An organisation needs to know exactly what type of candidate it wants to employ. Testing allows companies to measure how people differ in character traits, such as personal values, opinions, priorities, time management, personal motivations, intelligence, personality, reasoning and critical thinking. This is important because it highlights candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
As mentioned previously, testing needs to be customised to each business’s needs in order to get the best results, taking into account the culture of the business and the specific role that person is being recruited for.
However, psychometric test results should be used for guidance rather than taken entirely at face value. Other factors should also be taken into account before employing someone – and nothing beats the face-to-face interview process. Standard practice for most businesses is now first and second-stage interviews that take place after the testing.
Implementing testing on your current workforce
Not only is testing great for recruitment, it can also be used to show directors and senior management ways in which they can engage, motivate and retain their current workforce.
By testing employees, an organisation can discover how its staff work best, how they learn, how they adapt to change and ultimately how they can move forward with their own personal development. This in turn can help add value for the organisation without the need to recruit new talent. However, training can be a costly and timely activity, so it is important to be efficient when uncovering staff’s learning needs and styles.
Quite often, management look to hire internally before opening a job offering externally – especially for middle management and senior positions. Usually, a few internal candidates will want to progress in their job roles, so how does an organisation decide who gets promoted? Which candidate can handle the added workload? Who will be able to step into a leadership role without issue?
Testing using assessments, such as managerial reasoning and professional personality, will be key in helping reach a decision. As we have seen, psychometric testing is as important in the recruitment process today as it was when it was first introduced.
Matt Stevens is Commercial Manager at TalentLens
TalentLens is an international talent assessment business which uses psychometrics to help organisations select and develop high performers with high potential. For more information please visit www.talentlens.co.uk