The use of psychometric tests to support the selection process is widespread and there are good reasons for this.
These tests allow accurate measurement of the applicants’ abilities in areas such as verbal, numerical and conceptual thinking and thus help to match people’s skills to role requirements. Assessing whether a candidate fits the organisation is not only beneficial for the business in terms of higher productivity, long term retention and reduced rates of employee turnover, but is also important in relation to job satisfaction and well-being of the employees.
Key features of psychometric tests
Standardised: everyone completes equivalent (but not the same) tests under the same conditions
Objective: reduced degree of bias and subjectivity
Reliable: results are consistent over time and are fairly resistant to outside factors
Valid: psychometric tests measure job relevant factors that can predict future job performance
Ability tests are standardised meaning that every applicant is required to complete items of the same difficulty under the same conditions ensuring a fair assessment. This is a distinct advantage over interviews, which are subject to bias. Psychometric tests are reliable, which means that a person’s scores are unlikely to vary over time. Thus, we can be sufficiently certain that differences in candidates’ scores reflect real differences and are not artefacts of the testing situation.
Candidates’ scores can be easily compared to one another by using comparison group data (which detail how well people have done who have taken the test previously). Furthermore, online tests allow candidates to complete the tests at any location and at a convenient time. If they are invited to the next face-to-face stage, a second testing session can occur to ensure they were the ones who filled out the original test.
Online testing is also beneficial to the organisation, as there are no associated costs with administration such as supervision, hiring a venue or compensation for the applicants’ travel expenses. Having a comprehensive selection process that relies on information drawn from multiple sources (e.g. interview, references, tests) demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to fair and professional testing processes and will pay dividends in terms of the quality of people they hire.