Psychometric testing in the recruitment process

Psychometric testing in the recruitment process

When recruiting is not well-aimed or well-run it’s highly likely to lead to the wrong hire; a person that is not suitable for the specific role or one that is not a fit for the particular company. One way to prevent that and, thus, reduce the cost of employee turnover is to leverage psychometric testing.

What do we mean by psychometric testing?

Psychometric testing refers to the usage of a series of standardized and scientifically-designed tests that were built to assess a person’s cognitive ability; and their personality traits. To elaborate, such tests provide a reliable method of evaluating an individual’s intelligence, skills and aptitude; along with personality attributes, values and preferences.  

Psychometric profiling helps assess — and fairly predict — a person’s behavior; along with the capabilities and effectiveness they’re highly likely to demonstrate within a specific context. Given that, psychometric tests are not put into practice solely by psychologists or psychometrics experts that use them as a mental health assessment tool. They also apply in various real-life scenarios. For example, they may serve as a valuable exploration tool in a career counselor’s arsenal, to effectively assist and support students in planning their career paths. In a similar fashion, psychometric testing is also applicable in human resources management, assessing an individual’s potential to succeed within a company; or an organization. 

Let’s find out more.

Psychometric testing in human resources management

Psychometric tests support human resource managers in making more appropriate and more knowledgeable decisions on various occasions. In particular, depending on the nature and the philosophy of the organization, the HR department may apply psychometric testing, in order to decide upon transferring employees to a new job position; or promoting others to leading positions. Also, though legally risky, there may be companies that use psychometric testing prior to terminations. In a similar fashion, evaluations produced with the help of psychometric tests may be helpful in decisions related to business-critical job assignments. Last but not least, psychometric testing is helpful during hiring, to minimize the potential risks.

Improving the recruitment process with the help of psychometric testing 

Companies, nowadays, use psychometric testing to achieve competency-based hiring. In particular, they focus on evaluating not only candidates’ hard skills — as traditional hiring would suggest; but also on identifying sought-out behavioral characteristics, personality attributes and individual aptitudes. And, by sought-out parameters, we refer to the ones that are highly likely to contribute to candidates’ success, in each particular role.

By thoroughly assessing a candidate against all aforementioned dimensions, recruiters are able to navigate through uncertainty; and, thus, eliminate the risk of hiring a person that will not be the right fit for the job. But how’s that feasible, in practice?

Psychometric tests in practice 

Having or not a clearly-defined selection procedure in place, the majority of companies out there won’t use psychometric tests on their own. That is to say, they’ll use tests together with interview sessions — one or more per case — or in combination with other types of inputs, such as reference checks etc. Selection and classification of candidates usually comes into the following sequence of steps:

  • Application forms 
  • Preliminary screening 
  • Reference checking 
  • Interview with human resources department representative 
  • Interview with line manager

To be hired, candidates must successfully pass, not only all the above screening steps; but also the psychometric test involved, through the recruitment process. Psychometric testing usually comes right before or after the preliminary screening; or they may use it as part of the final hiring process, to size up the final shortlist. But, generally, there’s no rule of thumb.

And, companies evaluate candidates against success-critical competences, with the help of assessment centers or by conducting psychometric testing, in-house. Outsourced or not, psychometric testing comes with the following advantages. 

Benefits of using psychometric testing in hiring

Psychometric tests help recruiters adapt to uncertainty and instability — ingrained in hiring — while working towards attracting, developing and retaining talent. And all these objectives are supported in the following ways:  

Shortlist a long list of candidates 

Most of the time recruiters have to deal with mountains of application forms, CVs and cover letters. With the help of psychometric tests, they may ask candidates to first take the test; and, thus, reduce the time spent in evaluating all the candidates from scratch.

Make better hiring decisions by giving prominence to soft skills 

As stressed earlier, interviews alone cannot help entirely evaluate personality aspects critical for a given role. To elaborate, it’s not only the job-related knowledge and abilities that are critical when hiring; soft skills are equally important. And, psychometric testing helps identify them.  

Get holistic value when hiring 

Except for role mismatch it is equally risky to stumble on cultural mismatch right after you have already hired an employee. Psychometric testing helps prevent that — or at least minimize the risk involved. How? It gives recruiters the leeway to focus on each employee, as a whole. To elaborate, by evaluating personality traits and values it is easier to ensure compatibility; selecting personality types that match the given role and given company culture.

Standardized results blend in recruitment process 

Psychometric testing helps eliminate the unconscious bias inherent to the interviewing process. 

Using science-based tests, recruiters are able to weigh all candidates on the same scale; and, thus, be more objective with regard to their final decisions. 

Enjoy long-term, post-hiring benefits 

When candidate filtering is based on a process that provides data-rich tests, recruiters are highly likely to make more well-informed decisions. To elaborate, tests not only increase the chances of hiring employees that will fit with the rest of the group, as stressed above; they also ensure staff consistency and improve quality, at the same time. In a similar fashion, they are also able to assess candidates as to whether they value career longevity; filtering out job hoppers and reducing employee turnover in the long run. A win-win situation, for both parties. 

Challenges in using psychometric testing in hiring

While assigning candidate evaluation to external assessment centers is time-consuming and expensive, psychometric testing is not necessarily something only big-budgeted corporations do. In similar fashion, it is not a requirement for smaller companies to have well-trained personnel on premise, to conduct psychometric tests. Contrary to that, there are many psychometric test providers, such as TraitForward, that also give smaller companies the opportunity to independently assess their candidates; with the help of online digital tests. Evaluation output comes in the form of reports that provide in-depth analysis of candidates; and serve as a foundation for additional discussion, with suggested interview questions and so forth.

Summing it up 

Using psychometric testing in human resources management and, more specifically, in hiring, helps bring soft skills into focus, in a standardized way. This science-based assessment method helps eliminate unconscious bias; enabling recruiters to select employees with compatible personality types that match both the given roles and the company culture.