How and when to use psychometric assessments

Psychometric assessment can be used to provide an overall snapshot of a candidate’s ability and aptitude, but when is the best time to utilise it and what results can psychometric assessments provide?

What is psychometric assessment?

Psychometric assessment, also known as psychometric testing, is usually used as part of a thorough recruitment or selection process. Psychometric assessment assists hirers with additional information about candidates that may not be able to be gleaned from an interview or their resume.

The assessments are typically either self-report questionnaires, which explore behaviour, attitudes, preferences, motives or values, or performance-based ability tests that assess candidates’ ability to solve numerical, graphical or verbal challenges.

“These days psychometric assessments usually involve candidates completing assessments online,” says Sue Lawson from Psychometric Solutions and Innovations.  “Personality assessments aim to provide insights into behaviour or how candidates are most likely to act at work. Aptitude tests aim to assess a candidate’s ability to learn, deal with complexity and can also be a useful indicator for stress tolerance.”

Lawson says that good assessments will be thorough, and this can help with the reliability of the results. “Candidates may feel like it’s a bit time consuming,” she says, “but it’s worth it.”

What psychometric assessment offers

“Psychometric assessment conducted during the recruitment or selection process provides insights into candidates that are difficult to accurately assess using other methods, such as an interview alone,” says Lawson. “It can also provide insights to assist with tailoring on boarding, ongoing management and development.”

Psychometric assessments at Australian Real Estate Investment Trust, Dexus, are used to guide recruitment, succession, promotion and career development decisions. “All psychometric assessments are administered and reported on by a registered organisational psychologist and focus on our Dexus values, job fit and specific behaviours relevant to the role that an individual is being considered for,” says Brooke Shaw, Senior Manager, People and Culture. “The data provided within the assessments is used to complement other data available attained from interviews, talent and performance reviews, business requirements and workforce capability plans.”

When and how psychometric assessment can be used

Psychometric assessment is ideally used as part of a robust and comprehensive selection process. “It is best conducted after the first interview and prior to any subsequent interviews, presentations or reference checking,” says Lawson. “This perspective and timing allows further interactions to be more tailored and subsequently, a more informed selection decision can be made.”

At Dexus, psychometric assessment is not a hurdle that candidates have to clear with a pass or fail outcome. “Assessment results are never used in isolation,” says Shaw. “Information gathered is used in conjunction with information specific to the role, obtained from subject matter experts, via interviews and reference checking and with an understanding of the individual’s work history.”

Is psychometric assessment right for all recruitment processes?

“There is definitely a place for considering conducting psychometric assessment for most roles,” says Lawson. “Every hire is important and the risk of getting it wrong is costly.”

It’s important for businesses and organisations that are going to use psychometric assessment to know that reputable providers should be available to discuss results and provide feedback to candidates. “It’s a really useful undertaking to assist with setting up a new employee for success in the organisation,” says Lawson.

At Dexus, candidates that have undertaken a psychometric assessment as part of the recruitment process are offered an opportunity to debrief with a registered psychologist on their results. “The aim is to support development and set them up for success once they have commenced in their role,” says Shaw. “Unsuccessful candidates are also offered the opportunity for a debrief.”

The unique benefit of psychometric assessment

Psychometric assessment reports assist businesses and organisations in a unique way in that they help remove potential bias from the selection process.

“The cognitive results for each candidate are measured against the same, agreed norm group and level of role, providing a consistent indicator of likely performance,” says Shaw. “We have also found reports to present strengths and potential development areas that may not have otherwise been found through other recruitment processes.”

According to Shaw, these insights have enabled further interview questions and helped to round out the recruiters’ understanding of the capabilities of each candidate, making psychometric testing an invaluable asset to Dexus’ recruitment processes.

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