Should You Hire Using Psychometric Testing?

April 8, 2024 thehorbserver-hrobserver-testing-hiring

In what areas of HR-service work is it useful to apply psychometric tests? How can their results be used for employee development? Let’s delve into this article that explains several pscyhometric techniques and examples of their implementation.

As we all know, HR objectives cover a wide range of activities:

  • Personnel Search
  • Personnel selection
  • Personnel adjustment
  • Employee motivation
  • Career and Rotation
  • Development and Training
  • Commitment
  • Safety and risks related to the “human factor”
  • Building an individual development path

And in all these activities, we want to have objective criteria with predictable results. We work with people who are people. This means that we are subject to various cognitive biases that lead to subjectivity. But as professionals, we want to and should be as objective and unbiased as possible.

In this article, I want to tell you how to develop your analytical skills in all areas of HR. Let’s start with the easiest way: add a little objectivity with psychological tests that are simple enough to be administered and interpreted without a psychologist.

This way, you can try it tomorrow, evaluate the results in a week or two, and decide whether to continue in this direction or use other approaches.

Overview of traditional psychometric analysis tools

When it comes to popular psychometric tests, my opinion is mixed. Consider, for example, the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). This test categorizes personalities on four basic dimensions, and while it’s easy to use and helps you understand communication preferences, I think it may be too simplistic for complex personalities. It’s like trying to fit all of human diversity into four boxes.

I have similar thoughts about DISC, which categorizes personalities into four types. It is certainly useful for understanding behavioral styles and managing conflict, but it sometimes seems too simplistic. I’m always surprised when I see other professionals actively using these techniques, even though I often find myself criticizing these approaches in current research.

Yes, you can play with Jung’s classifications, but it is similar to using only SWOT analysis to write a business strategy.

Speaking of leadership, there are tests that assess the potential of leaders too. They can be useful for recruiting and developing leaders, but they require additional interpretation and are not always objective. I prefer a more balanced approach, looking not so much for leaders, but for harmony within the team — like a boat that needs a helmsman, rowers, and navigator.

In the area of cognitive assessment, tests that evaluate logical thinking and analytical skills are important in determining an employee’s ability to handle complex tasks. But it is important to remember that a low score in one area does not make a person less valuable — it simply means that he or she may need more time or effort to learn.

360-degree feedback is less a psychometric test than a framework. Many consider it difficult to implement and interpret, but in my opinion, it is simply a necessity to create a feedback culture in an organisation. It takes time and effort, but the results are worth it.

Finally, the Big Five personality assessment methodology provides a pretty good insight into personality, although it requires more sophisticated testing and analysis. Despite its complexity, I find it very useful, although I recognise that the length of the questionnaire and the need for professional interpretation may deter some candidates.

How to get an employee interested in taking a test?

Why do you even need a user interface with custom reporting? To “sell” the employee on taking the test.

This is critical to building a system and practicing psychometrics to keep the employee interested in taking the tests. There are a number of techniques that can help. First, you can tie psychometrics to growth: career, income level. A ritual that ends with a nice bonus.

It’s a good practice to share the test results with the person. Most good systems have a report for the client (company) and a report for the employee. This allows you to share the value of the test and give the employee feedback differently.

The hardest part is creating a culture of feedback where everyone understands exactly why testing is done in the company and gets value from it. The main thing is to make sure it doesn’t turn into an experiment with monkeys who were watered down for trying to eat a banana. It’s been a long time since there were monkeys in the cage being doused with water, but the tradition of not touching a banana continues.

Psychometrics is a tool to be used and adapted to your tasks.

Where can Psychometrics be used tomorrow?

Search. Based on the job description, we can use psychological tests to understand what kind of preferred behavior (temperament) we need. Knowing their leading motivational orientations, we design the job description with these orientations in mind. This will increase the response of candidates with the required skills and abilities.

Selection. Once we have the job description, we use the respondent’s test results to obtain data on the degree of fit between the job profile and the candidate. On this basis we can predict the candidate’s speed of adaptation to new conditions in the company, the risk of early professional burnout, the occurrence of psychosomatic diseases.

Motivation. With the help of tests, we determine internal drivers of motivation and hidden motivation. Based on this data, an individual incentive model is created.

Career and human resources reserve. Building the company’s long-term potential based on the potential of all employees.

Development and training. Personality analysis allows determining the predominant type of behavior, perception, and processing of information, as well as the level of development of cognitive abilities of a person. Based on this information, it is possible to form:

— Training materials according to the preferred type of perception and information processing, taking into account three levels of development of learning abilities (low, medium, and high);

— Learning groups according to the predominant type of perception and information processing, also taking into account the three levels of development of learning abilities.

Engagement. By combining psychometrics with the quality management system, we are able to increase employee involvement. And this is not “stated engagement” as measured by employee questionnaires, but actual engagement. 

Safety and risks related to the “human factor”

Here I use the Stress Response Style Assessment and the Moral Qualities Assessment. The system of these tests makes it possible to assess the latent motivation of the respondents and the dynamics of loyalty. The dynamics of changes in the loyalty of the personnel in the organisation and its decrease allow the security officers to prevent security risks in time.

It is worth reading tips on the relationship between business and psychometrics:

Article Schmidt, F.L.. The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research / F.L. Schmidt. Schmidt, J.E. Hunter // Psychological Bulletin. – 1998. – Vol. 124, No. 2. – P. 262-274. Determining the validity of the test depending on the company’s profit.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that it is important not only to conduct psychological tests, but also to use their results for personnel development. We always discuss the results with employees so that they can better understand themselves and their place in the team. This approach not only increases job satisfaction, but also contributes to each employee’s personal and professional growth.

It’s important to use these tools wisely and to think critically about their results, because there is no one-size-fits-all way to understand and evaluate a person. And our best hope is to try to make selection more objective and repeatable.

Cyril Morozov

Teal HR

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