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Using Psychometrics

Candy backgroundHow to maximise the value from these tools.

If you are using ability tests and/or personality questionnaires as part of your recruitment and selection process, you will need to be following some best practice steps.  These will ensure you both maintain the ethical and legal requirements surrounding the use of psychometrics, and you will gain more value from the process.

Our five best practice tips are:

  • Know what you’re looking for
  • Use tests as part of a wider process
  • Link test results to other parts of your assessment process
  • Tell candidates what they will be doing
  • Develop and follow a test policy

Know what you’re looking for

So often we are looking for a person for a job that has not been clearly defined.  This is not always in our direct control – the recruiting manager may not have the time to write a more detailed job description, or it may be a new role that lacks definition at the moment.

The problem is, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, everything else you do is a waste of time and money.  Job adverts, your time spent CV-sifting and interviewing – it is all a waste if you are not clear on the parameters of the role.

Totem Lollipops

So prioritise.  You do not need to know everything there is to know about the role, but you need to know the non-negotiables.  If you or the hiring manager does not have the time to write a job description, and even if they do, we would still recommend a little follow-up, just go through the following questions:

  • What are the key responsibilities of the role?
  • When typical ‘critical incidents’ occur, like complaints, key projects, tight deadlines etc – what have you seen (or if this is a new role, do you envisage) makes the greatest difference to a successful person in this role

Use tests as part of a wider process

Psychometric tests cannot tell you everything you need to know about a candidate.  Ability tests are often used as a first stage screening process, to limit the number of candidates you need to interview, but these cannot be used to make an overall decision on who to hire.

Your selection process needs to best reflect the needs of the role.  If the role involves practical, physical work, it is wise for you to include an assessment of physical fitness.  If the role involves influencing and communicating, you might include a presentation or role-play exercise to see how the candidate displays these skills.

Link test results to other parts of your assessment process

The way to get the best value from psychometric tests is to link them into the other aspects of your assessment.  For example, danger zoning, recommendations and interview questions.

Tell candidates what they will be doing and ask them to declare any disabilities

The more tests are used, particularly in the growing realm of online testing, the more we are learning about the fairness of adjusting administration times.  There is an ongoing debate on how best to address candidates with disabilities, but the one consistent response is, you must understand the nature of an individual’s needs in order to make the best judgement.

Totem Gummi Bears

So the best thing you can do is ensure that you know what your candidates need.  Then, if you don’t feel confident making a decision about adjustments to your process, give your test publisher a call

Develop and follow a test policy

Tests are frequently mis-used, varying in level of concern from a candidate not being offered test feedback to completely unethical use of tests resulting in a tribunal.

Having a policy in place for test use, then ensuring that policy is adhered to and regularly reviewed, is your way of protecting your prospective candidates and your organisation.

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