Keeping recruitment bias out of your hiring process is key to a successful strategy, helping you to hire the best candidate based on their skills and suitability for the role. But sometimes the information on a CV, and what you find out about a candidate by interviewing them, doesn’t give you the full picture. Psychometric testing can give you deeper insights into what someone is really like and how well they might perform if given the job. This type of testing can strengthen your decision-making abilities when it comes to selection; by having a better understanding of a candidate’s character and behaviour, you’ll be able to select someone who is more likely to succeed and stay in a new role, helping to reduce turnover.
It sounds pretty technical and heavy-going, but the good news is that it’s relatively straight forward to introduce it into your recruitment process. There are two aspects to this form of testing: to determine personality traits, which are defined as the characteristics which stay constant regardless of the environment or circumstances (such as being open or conscientious); and behavioural traits, which are habitual actions that form predictable patterns (what people tend to say and do, and how they do it).
The tests cover a broad range of areas, from personality questionnaires to testing key skills such as reasoning, judgement and problem solving. The specific types of assessment that you use will vary depending on your industry and the job requirements, so it’s important to research what each psychometric test provider has on offer and ensure that it suits your needs. There are plenty of free and paid options, and many providers will offer free trials and demos, so you can see the user interface for yourself and check that it sends out the right message about your brand and business to potential candidates.
Delving into candidates’ behaviour and personality is important to understand how they will work under pressure, how much of a team player they are, and what their overall temperament is really like – aspects that aren’t always obvious from a CV or short interview. The majority of candidates will claim (either written, verbally, or both) that they are reliable, can handle a fast-paced and pressurised environment, and work well both independently and as part of a team; these are all valuable soft skills which every employer wants to see. But saying something doesn’t automatically make it true – by using psychometric tests, you can start seeing whether the candidate’s claims are well-founded.
Psychometric tests are particularly useful for more senior roles, when there is more potential for risk and loss if they don’t perform or end up making poor decisions which could damage the business. This is one reason why the military uses this type of testing, due to people having to make life or death decisions every day.
A final benefit to using these tests is that it can speed up selection; by using the tests early on in the hiring process to shortlist candidates for interview, you can reduce hiring time and costs.
As with any form of assessment, psychometric tests shouldn’t be solely relied on – they should be considered as a useful tool for helping you to make objective decisions about whether a candidate is right for a role, in conjunction with other selection methods like interviews and practical assessments. They should help your judgement, not dictate a decision: weigh up all the evidence from various sources before drawing conclusions, and don’t dismiss the importance of your instincts – sometimes there is no rational answer for choosing one candidate over another equally skilled and suitable candidate, and you have to go with what your gut says!