When to apply psychometric testing

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Posted By: admin Posted In: News Date Posted: October 23rd, 2012 Comments: Comments Off
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While we are obviously strong advocates of the benefits of psychometric testing, we are also open about when testing should be applied and perhaps of more relevance, when the benefits may not justify the time, effort or cost.
The most important aspect to understand in this discussion is what is meant by the term “testing” versus the terms “psychometric” or “personality typing”

When embarking on a hiring exercise, there is virtually no occupation where psychometric testing does not add value however as a general guide, they are best applied to white collar jobs. It can be argued that where a particular job is routine in nature or adds limited value to the organisation, that the value of psychometric testing is reduced.

To consider a real-world example, let’s look at a manual labouring position.

In these cases where the skill set is readily obtainable, an interview and very importantly reference checking, can substantially reduce the hiring risk to the organisation. It would also be true that candidates for a manual labouring position would not expect to undertake a psychometric test. It may however be worth applying a basic personality type test such as Myers-Briggs. Such a test might be valuable in predicting how the candidate would perform in a team environment. In addition, its greatly simplified question structure and effort requirement, might make it more acceptable to the candidate.

While such an obvious example is easy to appreciate, let’s consider a major employment sector such as engineering? What type of testing is worth conducting for engineers?
This brings us to the topic of applying IQ tests to a broad range of white-collar positions. A typical IQ test usually comprises the three components of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and finally abstract reasoning.

In our recruitment experience, it has been pointless conducting numerical testing for engineers – why?, – simply because engineers have strong numerical skills. Without them, they would not have been able to complete their degrees.

In addition, most perform at an average to above-average level for abstract reasoning. At the same time, a significant percentage of the engineers we recruited, possessed only average verbal reasoning skills.

Unless the engineer in question is being recruited for a research position, a high IQ may not be necessary.

In our opinion, IQ testing needs to have a purpose and a goal. We are not advocates of rejecting candidates based on IQ scores, unless you have clearly defined reasons as to why a certain IQ level is required (for the position in question).
Of far greater value (for engineers and everyone else) is the application of a psychometric test which measures the candidate against valuable, workplace-related attributes. The StaffMatcher® psychometric test has been designed to test for all the attributes that matter for on-the-job-success, and none of the attributes that are superfluous to these aims.

In summary, psychometric testing will add materially to your recruitment process, while IQ testing should be applied on a role specific basis. Personality profiling can have particular benefits as a ‘light” assessment, useful in job roles of a non-critical nature.


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