Psychometric Testing - to use or not to use?


There has been much talk about the use of psychometric testing recently. See the following article:

Most of the commentary has been around whether psychometric testing is being over-used in the public sector and whether it is a fair way to discriminate between candidates in the change process.

In our view, certainly as far as some departments are concerned, testing is being over-used in the Public Service.  One could ask whether this ‘overuse’ is generated by a desire to ‘cover butt’, or if it demonstrates a fundamental lack of ability by the people doing the hiring to read, understand and evaluate.  Probably a bit of both we suspect!


We do believe ‘testing and assessment’ is a fundamental tool to understand how people may fit into the culture of the team, how they think under pressure, deal with ambiguity, and to test resilience levels.  Put it this way – would you buy a car without an AA check? These assessments penetrate the outward veil of the individual – the impressive CV + the ‘gift of the gab’ in an interview.  Used wisely they are a great aid to your investment decision - which is what you are making when you hire someone these days!

In a change process, when the team is being slimmed down, it is vital that the team remaining is the ‘best fit’ for the organisational phase that is about to be embarked upon. Assessment tools provide insight into not only what gets done on the job, but how it gets done, which is now equally important if a company has a clear set of values.

The feedback from these tests can often be profoundly influential in changing self perceptions.  This feedback needs to be professionally managed and delivered with empathy. Used strategically and in a prudent way, psychometric assessments are very powerful tools to understand organisational fit, candidate potential and the real ability of individuals to perform within different environments.

by Paul Bell

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