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Why we believe psychometric testing identifies the best performers?

Recruitment can be a timely and costly process, so getting hiring decisions right and finding employees that will stay with your company for the long haul is key. In previous blogs, we have discussed how to attract the most suitable candidates and the importance of matching employee brand with employer brand. In this article, we will look at psychometric testing and its advantages for employers.

What is psychometric testing?

The word psychometric basically refers to the measurement of the mind. Unlike facets such as education, skills, experience, appearance and punctuality, the behavioural traits and personality of a candidate can be much more difficult to assess during an interview. The tests that we use are built around a competency framework, a competency being defined as ‘the repertoire of capabilities, activities, processes and responses available that enable a range of work demands to be met more effectively by some people than others.’ The framework was developed through an in-depth study of job performance, employee and leadership behaviour as well as an extensive review of other competency models.

Some employers choose to use psychometric testing during their recruitment process to help give a better overall evaluation of a candidate and hopefully secure the best fit for the role. Proving a link between job performance and psychometric assessment is complex, but those who use it believe that it can give a more objective overview of a candidate’s character, strengths, weaknesses and working style. Typically, a psychometric test will never be used in isolation, but as one component of a wider, integrated evaluation strategy.

For employers, psychometric testing could help to gauge the future performance of a candidate and hopefully improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions.

How psychometric testing aids recruitment decisions

Psychometric testing can measure a number of attributes including intelligence, critical reasoning, motivation and personality profile. An interview process can be fairly subjective and although employers will normally assess skills and experience fairly accurately, much can still be left to gut instinct regarding aligned values.

A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can give you a better all-round view of a candidate’s suitability. It could be argued that psychometric testing offers some ‘scientific’ credibility and objectivity to the process of recruiting. It perhaps provides a more fair and accurate way of assessing a candidate, as all applicants will be given a standardised test.

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

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

Types of psychometric tests

Making sure you hire the right Applicant for your organisation is critical in improving business performance. 80% of the Fortune 500 and 75% of the FTSE 100 now use Psychometric Assessment as part of their recruitment and selection process. Newman Stewart is thorough in their assessment of potential applicants and fully recommends a Psychometric Assessment as part of the overall selection criteria.

Psychometric Assessment falls into 2 main areas:

  1. Personality Profiling
  2. Ability/ Aptitude testing

Personality Profiling

The way that you are likely to perform in a job depends very much on your personality.

Personality questionnaires are used in conjunction with interviews to provide a useful insight into an individual’s personal style and to see how they are likely to behave in different circumstances. This allows the employer to judge as part of an overall process whether or not an individual may be culturally suitable and their potential development areas.

Aptitude and Ability Testing

Measures of aptitude and ability are often used as part of the selection process as they provide a more objective measure of an applicant’s potential than just an interview alone.

Verbal Ability Tests

Verbal Ability Tests are widely used to ensure applicants ability in understanding and making decisions based on verbal or written information, or to correctly pass this information to other third parties.

The questions test an applicant’s ability to spell words correctly, use correct grammar, understand analogies and follow detailed written instructions.

Numeric Ability Tests

Numeric Ability Tests are directly applicable to many middle and senior managerial jobs.

They include questions on basic mathematics. Often information is provided that requires interpretation and the application of appropriate logic. These questions are often similar to the type of reasoning required in the workplace.

Does psychometric testing identify the best candidates?

Newman Stewart use Psychometric Assessment tools as part of their selection process where requested to do so, and also for internal recruitment needs. With many years’ experience interviewing and screening candidates, we have a firm belief and evidence to prove that there is a correlation between psychometric test scores and performance in the workplace.
Some of the metrics that a business can use to assess the business impact of using psychometric testing as part of their recruitment strategy are:

  • Successful candidate job performance
  • Employee turnover
  • Time to competence
  • Improved levels of individual performance and engagement
  • Savings on training costs
  • Increased talent pools?

In a real world example, this could look something like this:

High scoring contact centre agents at a cable and communications provider handled more than 500,000 additional calls than low-scoring agents over a year. They also generated £167 in additional revenue per month on average which translates to £807,000 annual sales.

No test can be 100% accurate, but what psychometric tests do is allow you to compare a candidate against a norm, therefore highlighting those likely to perform above average. Defining the desired skills and behaviours needed to perform a role well are crucial for effective measurement.

For more information on psychometric assessment and other career advancement tools, visit the SHL website.

If you lack the expertise and resources to carry out effective candidate screening and assessment, we can help you. Call us on 01937 541395.

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