Psychometric testing is used primarily by recruiters as a very broad brush approach to measuring a candidate’s relevant strengths and weaknesses. The results are then used to assess the candidate’s employment suitability and company-candidate fit. These tests are widely used but can we rely on these predictions?
What if the candidate is a perfect fit for the job because the test says they have the right level of skill and personality to suit the demands of the position but in reality, the candidate’s true interests and values don’t align? This is when we have people who are perfect on paper, they have the skills to do the job, but it’s not what they would really do best. What people do best is working in jobs that they love, where they are inspired, challenged and feel valued. Unfortunately, most of our career decisions are based on which company we should work in, rather than what career we should follow.
Psychometric testing shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Human beings are complicated. Our interests change, our priorities change and what we look for in a job changes – constantly. As you can guess, I’m not a big fan of these tests but they can be useful in certain situations. They can help a recruiter determine if the candidate has the right level of skill and they can also give job seekers a general sense of career direction. Where they fall down is that they give job seekers little information about their skills and career needs and don’t give the recruiters a whole picture of the candidate.
The best assessments available are the Myers Briggs Indicator and Kolbe Instinct Test which consider learning styles, personality types and a person’s natural instincts. Surely tapping into this information would give recruiters a better indication on how a person would perform on the job, rather than relying on the fact that they have the skills to do the job? For instance, you may have the skills to lead a team, but do you enjoy doing it and does it come naturally to you?
In saying this, at some stage, you’ll probably have to sit for one of these tests if you’re going through a recruitment agency so here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Although I can’t be 100% sure what tests you’ll be given, it’s likely you’ll be doing a combination of ability and personality tests to determine if you’re the right candidate. Employers want a behavioural profile of you which will be a combination of your skills, intelligence, personality and cultural perspective.
- Recruiters will let you know in advance what tests you will be taking during the initial screening process. Before you take the test, read through the job description and contact the recruiter directly to talk about the role and to find clues about what attributes the right candidate is expected to have. You can also find some free online psychometric tests to practice on before the big day.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t answer the questions in the way you think they want them to be answered. You’re only cheating yourself in the long run.
Recruiters – what do you hope to achieve from these tests and how do the questions you ask result in the conclusions the test will reach. I would love for someone to clear this up for me. Job seekers – what good/bad experiences have you had with psychometric testing? I’d love to hear about them.