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The Assessment Series Topic I: The Benefits of Utilizing Psychometric Assessment

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The use of well-designed, competency-based, psychometric assessments in the hiring process helps to ensure that the organization and the candidate have a shared view of the core behaviours and skills required for the role as well as the extent to which a candidate has the strengths and development potential needed for the role. Candidates who take part in assessments and debriefs of their results during the hiring process consistently report how valuable, personally and professionally, they find the insights. Selection committees are better equipped to make informed selection decisions and effectively support the integration and onboarding process.

The aim of psychometric assessment is to evaluate behavioural traits and performance and to better assess the likelihood of a person succeeding in a particular role. They add quantitative measurement to the selection process to reduce the risk around decision-making. In other words, they measure the science behind our opinions.

Psychometric assessment is utilized by about 80% of US Fortune 500 and 75% of UK Times 100 companies. They offer an added layer of security or another lens with which to view an individual. Psychometric assessment combined with structured interviews is the simplest, most reliable and efficient way to predict how someone is going to perform once they’re hired. They also offer a fair and equal assessment of candidates and employees, giving the employers and management teams an impartial and unbiased view of the person’s work-related behaviour and style.

Benefits of Psychometric Testing

Provides Reliable Results

Valid and reliable tests make it difficult for applicants to provide untruthful or misleading answers in the hope of looking more qualified or suitable. Their design ensures that the test-taker can see no apparent pattern and hence, is forced to answer honestly. Any effort to rig the assessment is quickly spotted and will flag a closer look into the validity of the test-taking process and results. Trained assessors can also look for indications of faking or impression management through one-on-one interactions with candidates.

Saves Time in the Recruitment Process

The selection committee’s time often comes at a premium. An assessor-written report that provides a practical but thorough overview of a candidate’s results relative to the job profile can provide significant insight. During the interview process, the selection committee can quickly glean information from the report to frame relevant, probing questions around both strengths and areas of development, significantly reducing interview time.

Uncovers Potential

We are not always able to see a candidate’s potential beyond their experience and credentials. Psychometric assessments are designed to uncover an individual’s potential for growth, allowing the selection committee to consider the full scope of a candidate’s background and possible contributions.  

Reduces Common Hiring Pitfalls

  • Subjectivity: Interviews, especially unstructured ones, are among the least valid of all screening methods. The interviewer’s ‘gut-feeling’ about candidates is only as reliable as the roll of the dice. In succession situations, previous performance and manager ratings are also unreliable indicators of potential as they measure role-specific skills and past behaviours and can suffer from subjectivity and rater bias. Psychometric assessment can add objective data to reduce mistakes by supplementing subjective information with valid instruments.
  • Lack of alignment on what the selection committee is looking for. The process of integrating assessment into the hiring process requires having critical conversations to prioritize the essential competencies for the role so that these can be evaluated. We find that rich discussion about what is needed also emerges while comparing the assessment results of two or more candidates.
  • “Failure to thrive” occurs for a variety of reasons and is characterized by employee underperformance and disengagement. The insights gained through the assessment process reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person – both from the candidate’s perspective and the organization’s. Furthermore, having deep knowledge of the strengths and limitations of a candidate can allow for a customized onboarding and integration process – shortening the ramp-up period and helping the new hire feel understood and supported in their role.

Increases Objectivity and Avoids Biases 

While it is easy to verify hard facts of professional qualifications and experiences, analyzing softer elements such as motivation, conflict resolution capacity, and leadership skills is another matter. When a person is asked to assess these qualities, personal biases creep in unconsciously informing the evaluation of the candidate. Psychometric assessments address this bias. A test does not care what an individual looks like or what school they went to, nor does it consider attributes such as gender, race, or sexual orientation. Psychometric tests allow an employer to focus on what constitutes the ‘ideal candidate’ and all applicants can then be compared to it.

Odgers Berndtson’s Leadership Advisory Practice uses assessment across a number of key areas. These include some elements which will be discussed in future issues of The Assessment Series.

  • Understand the strengths and potential blind spots of leadership teams.
  • Determine whether your leaders have the capacity to execute against growth plans or strategy.

Click here to download the PDF.

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