Psychometric testing has become a powerful aid for managers in recent years. It assesses people on their motivation, their potential growth and the ‘role vs fit’ requirement. That means people aren’t selected and promoted based just on their CV and experience.
But in the age of digital disruption, why exactly is it so important? Why isn’t enough to look at someone’s CV and undertake a traditional interview anymore?
Hudson’s Head of UK Talent Management Tim Drake explains.
“The most common and costly mistake made by an organisation is when they’re looking to make a decision on someone”, he says.
“They have little evidence to suggest that they can perform to the level they say they will. How do you know if they can become a leader? How much of a development plan will you need to help them become the finished article? It’s very rare that someone is on point.
“Psychometrics offer a way of validating a decision. It gives you additional data points to confirm that person would be a good fit.
“You have to tackle the flaws in traditional processes, too. Hiring managers hire in their own image, which might be a problem. Psychometrics are a way of mitigating that risk, basically so you don’t end up with a group of clones.”
So how exactly does the testing work?
“Well first of all it’s important to note that ‘testing’ is a bit of a misnomer. That implies a right and wrong. What psychometrics look for is a preference and a style.
“There is no right or wrong here. They’re assessing a fit, if you’re not a good fit it’s never going to work. Besides, we can tell if you're giving us an answer you think we want to hear.
“But it doesn’t just offer you a yes or no answer on a candidate. What they find in the assessment can be used to build a development plan.”
But where’s the best place to deploy psychometrics? Does one model work for everyone?
“There's an appropriate level for everyone. You can use it for shortlisting or you can use it higher up the pyramid. At a higher level, there are even more objective methods which use business simulations.
“They become more advanced as you go up through a business. At most management levels, you have to think about the cost of failure. The consequences of hiring a poor manager can be very serious. This is a way of mitigating risk.”
So what are psychometrics looking for in a person?
“The key here is mindset and skillset in balance, that's what you're trying to get to the heart of.
“Mindset could be something like the desire to tackle abstract ideas, how someone responds to failure, how someone works in a team.
“Skillset meanwhile is about the competencies required to perform the role. Either strengths, development areas or derailers.
“Psychometrics can’t make a decision perfect, but thanks to those key data points, it can make the decision much better informed. It can even help hiring managers prepare for an interview.
“Identifying and developing the right mindsets for your business is going to be crucial to the workplace of the future. Psychometric assessment is key to that because at its core, it’s about future-proofing.