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How Psychometrics Enhance People & Talent Decisions


Psychometric testing is the science of measuring psychological constructs, such as personality, emotional intelligence, and aptitude. Psychometric tests are used to assess psychological constructs and to make predictions about future employee behaviour. They can be very valuable for Human Resource (HR) Managers making HR and Talent decisions. In fact, they are a key tool for all people managers and seasoned specialists in organisational behaviour. In this post I will unpack the basics of psychometrics and their use in your organisation and human resources.



Psychometrics can make your talent management cycle in your organisation more robust in a number of ways. According to Big5Assessments Fortune 500 companies now use psychometric testing as part of their recruitment process, in order to inject some much needed objectivity into the process. Of those companies that are already using psychometric testing, 81% believed it helps them to make better choices during recruitment and 57% believed that psychometric testing could accurately predict candidates’ potential future performance.


Specifically, for Talent Selection, psychometric tests can help to identify candidates who have the skills and abilities that are required for the job. This can help to reduce the risk of hiring a candidate who is not qualified for the role. Psychometric tests help you analyze the abilities and skills you're looking for without solely relying on candidate resumes and interviews. In fact research indicated that Psychometrics can improve selection and hiring decisions by at least 24%, removing any guess work


Second, psychometric tests can help HR or managers making human capital decisions such as hiring decisions or promotions to identify candidates who are likely to be successful in the role. This is because psychometric tests measure constructs that are related to job performance, such as intelligence, personality, and motivation They also allow insights into the organisational culture fit of a candidate and their ideal work environment.


Third, psychometric tests can help to reduce bias in the selection process. This is because psychometric tests are designed to be objective and fair. They are not influenced by the candidate's race, gender, age, or other personal characteristics. It is important to use valid and accredited psychometrics, as described in the National Labour Law. It is also important that the service provider or hr partner be accredited in interpreting the tests they use. It is also good to know if you use accredited providers, such as Psychology360 to administer your assessments, you are better protected in Labour court should a candidate dispute the outcomes of your talent process and decisions.


The psychometric battery or set of tests used, depends on the client budget, the role, level of work and goals of the process. When used for talent decisions, the following psychometrics can be used to enhance your talent management cycle:


  • Cognitive ability tests: These tests measure general intelligence and problem-solving skills. They can be used to assess a candidate's ability to learn new information and to solve problems. These generally give a view of the candidate’s ability to reason and work with verbal, numerical, inductive or deductive problems against a norm group.

  • Personality tests or personality inventories: These tests measure personality traits, such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. They can also indicate the candidates preferred behaviours in thinking, influence, social settings or work delivery. They can be used to assess a candidate's behavioural fit for a particular role or workplace culture.

  • Attitude tests: These tests measure a candidate's values, beliefs, and attitudes. They can be used to assess a candidate's alignment with the organization's values. These generally look at candidate’s motives, values and preferences in the work context.

  • Cognitive Profile tests: These tests assess and seek to understand a candidate’s cognitive reasoning and preferred problem solving approach. They generally give insights into the candidates preferred and potential level of work according to job or role complexity. They can also give insight into a candidates learning orientation.

  • Learning Agility tests: These tests assess a candidates learning potential and ability to solve new, unknown problems. It also looks at the candidate’s orientation towards learning new things.

  • Emotional Intelligence tests: These tests assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence to give insights into things such as self-regulation, motivations and empathy. In today's world of work EQ has become one of the most important intelligences for an employee to thrive.

  • Leadership strengths and risks tests: These tests give insights into a candidate’s leadership strengths as well as red flags or risk behaviours when they are under stress.

By using psychometric tests in the talent selection process and in hiring decisions or promotion decisions, organizations can make more informed decisions about who to hire and advance in the company. This can help to improve the quality of the workforce and to increase the chances of success. They also allow hiring managers and hr in the organisation to be intentional about the culture they are building through organisational culture fit screening. and the type of leadership they desire.


However, it is important to note that psychometric tests are not perfect. Psychometric tests should be used in conjunction with other selection or development methods, such as interviews, feedbacks and reference checks.




There are many advantages to using psychometrics for all your talent decisions. Here I give you a brief summary of some of the most im


portant:

  • Improved decision-making: Psychometric tests can help organizations and human resources specialists to make more informed decisions about who to hire, promote, and develop. This is because psychometric tests measure constructs that are related to job performance, such as intelligence, personality, and motivation.

  • Reduced bias: Psychometric tests are designed to be objective and fair. They can thus improve the diversity and inclusion practices of human resources professionals and hiring managers. They are not influenced by the candidate's race, gender, age, or other personal characteristics. This can help to reduce bias in the selection process.

  • Improve validity of decisions: Psychometrics will remove the guesswork from talent decisions allowing more sound people practices and processes. They also assure candidates that you take your people and culture seriously.

  • Increased efficiency: Psychometric tests can help to streamline the talent selection process. This is because psychometric tests can be administered online and they can be scored quickly and easily. They give fast, valid insights into the better candidates or bigger development needs in employees.

  • Improved employee engagement: Psychometric tests can help to improve employee engagement by providing employees with feedback about their strengths and weaknesses. This feedback can help employees to develop their skills and to improve their performance. Employees who feel their employer is invested in their development are more likely to be engaged and loyal to the organisation.

  • Improved retention: Psychometric tests can help to improve retention by helping organizations to identify employees who are likely to be successful in the role. This can help to reduce turnover and to save costs. They can also ensure candidates are a good organisational culture fit.



In closing here are some final, quick tips for you, if you are considering using psychometrics for talent decisions:

  • Only use accredited tests and providers, you can check this on the HPCSA website.

  • Know the whole context and consider all factors

  • Choose the right tests: There are many different psychometric tests available. It is important to choose the right tests for the specific needs of the organization. An industrial psychologist or psychometrist can help you select the correct test battery.

  • Administer the tests correctly: Psychometric tests should be administered correctly to ensure that the results are accurate.

  • Choose the right norm group to compare the candidate to. Again the specialist will assist you with this.

  • Interpret the results correctly: Psychometric test results should be interpreted correctly to ensure that the right decisions are made. Here it is important that the consultant or human resources business partner ordering and administering the tests is accredited.

  • Use the results to improve decision-making: Psychometric test results should be used to improve decision-making about who to hire, promote, and develop.

  • Use a multiple hurdle approach or triangulation to increase validity of decisions, this means not using the tests in isolation.


I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on experiencing with using psychometrics and anything I should add to this post. If you are considering using psychometrics in your organisation, please contact us at Psychology360 for a free advisory session and needs analysis.


Thanks for reading!


Jessica I The Humble Humanologist

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