Psychometrics in assessing executives

Posted on 18th November 2022

Companies are increasingly using psychometric tests to assess and ensure they recruit the right executives to bring positive change to their businesses. It brings a scientific element to executive recruitment that utilises data and brings added validation to business decisions at uppermost-levels.

Good recruitment practices demand that choosing new employees has to be undertaken with care and due diligence. Today, expertise and talent have become a vital constituent of business strategy, where any good business will seek to attract the best to lead them. It has in essence become a ‘talent battle’.

The talent battle of the executives

When it comes to hiring executives, companies want the process to be as speedy and efficient as possible. It has become much more multifaceted over the years due to having similarly become a vital constituent of business strategy. It has consequently led to new methods, many quite advanced, of recruiting and selecting executive staff.

Executive recruiters and employment consultants are now used extensively to seek and attract potential higher-level employee, even more so for the hiring of senior leaders. If this is not done efficiently and correctly, it can be expensive.

Recruitment screening still relies on the CV, an interview for those initially deemed suitable, sometimes or often a second interview and a psychometric test.

Psychometric tests are increasing in popularity

Psychometric tests have been around since the early 20th century. More recently, they have increased in popularity as a valued tool for business recruitment. These tests are becoming a valued tool by recruiters in measuring candidates competing for executive-level positions where almost every single decision at the top end of the business has to be justified and backed up by data.

It used to be contingent on instinct and communication between the business management team and those recruiting on their behalf for important recruitment decisions. However, psychometric assessment tests are becoming more prevalent as a tool to ensure the right seniors are employed. Ones who will bring added value and a positive change to the business.

The scientific art of recruitment

Some three-quarters of businesses now use psychometric assessment tests during recruitment:

Provides quantifiable results

How humans behave and the impact this has on a company’s profitability is the single biggest challenge they face. With the arrival of Big Data (sets of data that are too large or complex for traditional data-processing application software) the psychometric test is not only a simple, but a very cost-effective method of a quantifiable, employee-related return on investment. Recruitment people play a pivotal role in this assessment.

More reliable that intuition alone

Psychometric tests take away many elements of pure subjectivity and unconscious bias in recruitment and replaces them with a more consistent objectivity and impartiality. Research has shown that psychometric assessments can improve recruitment results by up to one quarter times better than recruitment that does not use them.

Demonstrates a positive business attitude

When business processes are consistent and appear fair and unbiased, this gives a very positive first impression of an employer. Where candidates recognise an objective approach to the recruitment process, they in turn are more satisfied, and if subsequently employed, start their career with the company in a very positive frame of mind.

Being judged primarily on merit is not only equitable, but totally levels the recruitment process.

There are three categories of psychometric test

·        The aptitude test

These include include numerical, verbal, and abstract intellectual tests. It is not unusual for these tests to be completed on line and in advance of any interview.

·        The personality test

These are usually set on a work-based situation and very often based on real situations that may arise within the company and how the candidate might in turn respond.

·        The interest test

This compares, as the title suggests, the interest and motivation the candidate has for the position they are competing for. It is usually compared with a control group response from within the company.

Advantages of the psychometric test

Psychometric evaluations are more often than not carried out before interview, thus helping the interview process. The psychometric test can help recognise those most suitable for executive vacancies.

They can measure employee performance as well as identify the essential collective skills that empower employees and boost company morale.

The psychometric test helps promote impartiality and uniformity in recruitment. All candidates’ abilities are appraised using equivalent standards of difficulty. 

The psychometric test can clearly differentiate between overqualified and underqualified candidates, helping the company to recruit not only talent, but those who can add extra value to the company.

Psychometric test results reveal specialist skills and allow for further development of employees as they settle into their new role.

Disadvantages of the psychometric test

Only trained evaluators should perform and assess tests. Employers themselves can make decisions that in essence can be unintentionally biased based on their own perceptions.

Psychometric tests can only be used on their own, and not with other skill tests.

Certain tests have questions that are identical but opposite (page seven “do you like”; page 14 “do you not like”) where candidates with good retention abilities will remember both questions and provide an answer based on that retention rather than on the spontaneous response required.

The sole decision of employing a candidate cannot be the psychometric test as it only otherwise provides background information not identifiable from either the CV or interview.

For businesses new to psychometric tests there can be the possibility the tests can provide unstructured outcomes. In these cases, recruitment specialists with the appropriate training should be used.

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