Psychometric Testing – a hindrance or a facilitator?

Psychometric testing as a tool in the recruitment process – a hindrance or a facilitator?

Nowadays, several organizations are using psychometric testing to aid the recruitment process. Although the traditional face to face interview remains an important tool in the selection process, psychometric testing is becoming increasingly popular amongst both small and larger companies. Psychometric testing is usually employed to measure ability and personality and help recruiters gain an overall assessment of the candidates. It can also be seen as offering a quantitative assessment of a psychology attribute of a prospective employee.

Which are the various types of psychometric tests?

Psychometric testing can be divided into 2 main categories: cognitive ability tests and personality measures. The cognitive ability tests measure verbal reasoning ability, general intelligence, spatial ability and numerical ability.  On the other hand, personality tests measure the intrinsic and extrinsic behaviour of a person.

Why are psychometric tests beneficial in the recruitment process?

First and foremost, they are standardised tests which make them objective. This means that each candidate receives the same instructions, completes questions of the same difficulty and uses standardized test materials.  Secondly, they provide employers with a full character profile of the employee. When seeking job opportunities, prospective employees sometimes try to display the best version of themselves, choosing to hide certain traits. Through psychometric testing, these traits may come to the fore and help the recruitment process to be more transparent.

What are the disadvantages of psychometric testing?

Although psychometric testing may be beneficial and can facilitate the recruitment process, it has some limitations that may be difficult to bypass. One of the main disadvantages is that savvy job applicants can study such tests and find out the right answers.  Psychometric tests may also instil anxiety in prospective employees and thus the results of such tests may not be a true reflection of the person’s potential.  Last but not least, psychometric tests contain biases that may disadvantage people who have different cultural backgrounds and language barriers. Therefore, one must tread carefully when using such tests.

Having evaluating both the pros and cons, psychometric tests should not be seen in isolation but as one component of a wider evaluation process. The use of psychometric testing in conjunction with face to face interviews may serve to strengthen the recruitment and hiring process of organizations.

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