How Psychometrics can assist your Hiring Practices

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The question on every recruiter’s lips is becoming a more globally asked question:

How will I know if the person is the suitable candidate for the job?

In today’s high competitive marketplace and constant change in legal environments, employers face the challenge of attracting, developing, and retaining the best employees for their businesses. Each employer wants to have as little as possible input, but the effect of recruiting that person should have a massive impact on the business

The word psychometric basically refers to a test which is paper and pencil based or alternatively computer based. It has the potential to deliver useful information about the person and assists the company with the measurement of the applicants mind. Aspects such as skills, experience, and punctuality at work, can be assessed much easier and through the means of less complex systems, but on the other side of the coin lies the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate which is much more difficult to assess during an interview or otherwise.

Within the working environment some employers choose to use psychometric tests during the recruitment process of the company. Their reasoning behind this is to assist them in obtaining a better overall evaluation of an applicant and hopefully secure the best fit for the role. There’s some debate over the value of psychometric testing and individuals who don’t implement and assess the test outcomes correctly form part of this status quo. Psychometric tests can be used to give you, as an employer, a more objective overview of a candidate’s character, strengths, weaknesses and working style. For an employer, psychometric testing can assist them to gauge the future performance of a candidate and hopefully improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions. It is constantly said that skills are seen as a useful characteristic that you don’t want to lose within the working environment.

It is important to note that a psychometric test should never be used in isolation, but as one component of a wider, integrated evaluation strategy that assists the employer with their hiring decisions.

During the interview process employers would engage by asking more behavioural and situational questions in order to assess the person fit with historical situations within the company. It is thus important to note that the interviewing process may be subjective to a large extent and although employers would assess skills and attributes fairly accurately, the candidate would only rely on past situations experienced by himself/herself. Hence, the conclusion would be made that if you as a candidate don’t answer according to the company scaling system, you would not be appointed in the position.

A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can provide a better all-round view of a candidate’s suitability in the position or team. Psychometric testing thus makes use of a more objective and scientific process. Taking the high unemployment rate of today, the answer to all recruitment companies would be to implement psychometric testing and to deliver results more efficiently.

Traditionally, these tests have taken the form of pen and paper, multiple choice questionnaires, and face-to-face testing, but increasingly they’re moving into a digital realm. This means they can be quick and easy to integrate into any stage of the recruitment process.

Some organisations often favour psychometric testing as a way of screening and to a large extent eliminating large amounts of candidates at the start of a recruitment drive. In this case, psychometric testing could help to drastically reduce the recruitment department’s workload, as it helps to quickly identify a smaller pool of suitable applicants who have the potential to perform well in the later stages of the interview process.

The benefits of such a process are always an important factor to take into account and as a business imperative, one would always seek a method that can deliver quicker results than your competitor’s. Thus taking the above into account the benefits of psychometric testing can be listed as follows, and in no particular order:

  • It provides a process that does not discriminate and is not biased against any specific group or person

  • It assists companies to identify individuals for a company-position fit, as well as a good cultural fit

  • Demonstrating consistency over time by using reliable and valid assessments

  • Improves the motivation and morale of the employees that have been tested (organisational development)

  • would be able to meet their job demandsAssists companies to identify high performers and individuals who

  • Reduce costs resulting from mismatches in recruitment and selection and the residual expenses of re-selection

  • Identify employee strengths and weaknesses and therefore mentorship programmes can be introduced in order to make the process more effective

  • Ideal for any position on any level of the organisation

As the benefits of psychometric testing have been covered, one needs to keep in mind that there are very specific limitations to using psychometric testing as well

  • Psychometric testing can never be used as a sole means of recruitment and selection, it would always be used together with the interview process in order to identify the best suitable candidate for the position

  • Ability, skills and even personality are not the only components of a successful worker and it may be difficult to identify the ‘x-factor’ without the interviewing process taking place

  • All tests are subject to some level of error, and can never be 100% accurate. The applicant may have been in an accident or had a situation at home and this can have an influence on the test results. A neutral testing environment is always suggested but the human factor still needs to be taken into consideration

  • A registered psychometric or authorised person (career psychologist etc.), registered with the HPCSA is only allowed to assist you in this process

Zig Ziglar once said…

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude

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