Psychometric testing: Time for a reality check

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The reliance of employers on psychometric testing as a primary recruitment method is growing, as the results of the tests are believed to determine the candidate chosen 60% of the time.

In reality, this should be lower than 50%, according to Paul Barbaro, executive general manager for recruitment firm Lloyd Morgan.

Barbaro says that the diminishment of hiring opportunities has resulted in employers over-analyzing their candidates in fear of making the wrong hire, and are falling back on the results of psychometric tests.

“One of the biggest challenges facing recruitment firms today,” he said, “is to convince employers about the need to place considerable value on applicant’s resumes, interviews and references to substantially increase the chances of the right fit between job expectation and candidate placed.”

Barbaro warned that while psychometric tests have been proven to reduce new recruitment turnover (by “about 47%”), the results are often misunderstood or interpreted, which leads to poor hires in the long run.

The tests may cover aptitude, personality and skills, varying in complexity and depth – but they are unable to measure the ability to perform in a chosen role. As such, these tests – while useful – should be balanced against the traditional methods of assessing experience, interview performance and reference checks.

Barabaro recommends a balance between psychometric testing and traditional recruitment. Following the tried-and-true method of determining the abilities, interests, traits, skills and experience necessary before starting the search is important. Psychometric testing should enter the process between the first and second interview.

“After the first interview, the testing will then measure an individual’s ‘fit’ to the role, identifies areas of potential concern, including any barriers to success, and provides customized behavioural interview questions to assist the interviewers to make better hiring decisions,” he stated.


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