Originally published on TalentCode HR
Let me ask you, would you ever buy a car, laptop or mobile phone without researching the performance specifications first to make sure it matches your needs? Well then why wouldn’t you do this same research when employing someone new into your business? Using reliable psychometric tests during the recruitment process can be incredibly beneficial for virtually any business to better understand their candidates. Read on to understand why!
Psychometric testing as a part of the recruitment process, aims to provide you with an accurate, unbiased insight into a person’s strengths and weaknesses. When integrated into your recruitment strategy, these tests can make it easy to assess and compare candidates, allowing you to feel confident when shortlisting applicants and making an offer of employment. Let me reassure you that the key advantage of using psychometric testing is that it’s developed and validated by qualified psychologists, which makes the results far more reliable than any test you might find by searching ‘personality quiz’ on Google.
But before you jump into using psychometric assessments, there are a few things you need to know:
Thing One: Not All Psychometric Tests are the Same
There are three key types of tests:
Personality or Work Style – These describe everything from personality types through to work style and at the high-end leadership style and potential.
Cognitive Ability – These measure learning ability and the ability to work with complexity. They come in various forms, with numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning tests the most commonly accepted measure of “smarts”.
Skills and Ability – These measure everything from attention to detail, typing skills, and proficiency on Word, Excel and Power Point.
It is critical that the right tests are selected for the role – which means that the “one-size-fits-all” approach is often not that effective.
Thing Two: Not All Psychometric Tests are Made Equal
To keep it simple, there are two classifications of Psych Tests – Those that predict job performance and those that don’t!
Buyer beware when it comes to selecting tests and a provider. Some tests are highly effective at “describing personalities” such as if someone is more introverted or extroverted. However, this has nothing to do with on the job performance. In fact, many of the best sales people are introverts (contrary to public perception) because they are really great at one thing most extraverts are not – listening!
The best tests are those that are backed by research to be predictive of job performance and include cognitive ability and work style assessments that must be mapped back to the team and company culture and requirements of the role.
These tests can be used in volume as highly effective “screening” tools or in smaller volumes for short listed candidates
Thing Three: Cognitive Ability is the Single Best Predictor of Job Performance
Despite how fashionable Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) became 10 years ago, the evidence remains that for jobs that require a level of complexity, intellectual grunt is the single best predictor of job performance.
This is not to say that to be effective we all need to be rocket scientist’s, but a minimum standard of intellectual capacity is required to firstly – deal with complexity and secondly, learn quickly.
For roles that require fast learning, independent thought, dealing with smart clients or numerous first-time situations, an assessment that measures cognitive ability is a must have as part of your recruitment tool kit.
Thing Four: The Cost of a Bad Hire can be up to 3x their Base Salary
Think about what goes into hiring a person into your team;
§ Recruitment fees and the time taken in interviews to get to the point of providing an offer
§ Preparing for them to start and completing the administration tasks to set them up
§ Induction, Onboarding and Training them into the role & business
And then double all of the above, when you need to hire a replacement for the original bad hire.
Considering that the cost of a bad hire is up to three times their base salary (and more if you are in client facing or sales roles) at what point is it worth investing into psychometric testing?
My personal view of this is that all roles should use psych testing no matter how junior. However, there are a few things needed in order to get this right:
1) Make sure you are using the right tests for the role
2) More senior or high-risk roles should always have the support of an Organisational Psychologist to explain the nuances around the interpretation. It is the expert interpretation of the data that makes a difference – reading a computer-generated report will not provide a high level of predictability.
3) The cost should be reflective of the level of role and hence the impact of making a poor hiring decision.
If the right choices are made, psychometric testing will provide you with a wealth of information on how to motivate and manage a new hire, their probability of success in the role and how well they will fit your desired company culture. Much of this information can’t be gleaned from an interview – just ask anyone who has ever made a hiring mistake!
The topic of psychometric assessment can be overwhelming and knowing where to start in designing your assessment protocol can be difficult. The team at TalentCode HR can assist you and provide you with advice to get you started in the right direction.
About the author: Trudy MacDonald
TalentCode HR is a human resource consultancy transforming businesses all over Australia, focused on helping leaders unlock the performance potential of their people to drive business performance.
Founder and Managing Director Trudy MacDonald is a TEC speaker and member. Trudy has partnered with many of the Fortune 500 and ASX 100 to drive business performance through strategic people initiatives. She has cofounded or played a key executive role in 4 start-up technology and human resource consulting businesses, 3 of which have been acquired by international companies.