For years, HR managers everywhere have relied on psychometric testing when it comes to finding the best talent for their businesses, often failing to realize what little value these test offer to companies. Far too often, employment decisions have been made on the basis of incredibly flawed psychometric tests that disqualified legitimate candidates while boosting sketchy employees who, by skill or by luck, passed it with flying colors.
So, how can you find out the truth behind psychometric testing, and why should your company abandon it if it’s naively adopted it into its employment process? Brush up on the facts, and listen to the testimony of experts, and you’ll soon regret your embracing of psychometric tests.
Resisting the siren call
Let’s face it, there’s a reason many businesses utilize psychometric testing; they sound incredibly alluring, claiming to offer companies the ability to detect bad apples when it comes to interviewing a myriad of candidates for any given job. Which HR manager wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to measure a would-be worker’s intelligence levels, as well as their emotional state of mind and personal preferences? The reality behind psychometric testing, however, is that these tests confuse just as often as they clarify, and fail to paint an accurate picture when it comes to analyzing your potential employees.
In 2009, personality testing was an astonishingly valuable industry, raking in some $500-million globally. That mammoth figure has grown in recent years, too, despite a plethora of evidence that these tests are shaky at best, and entirely cheatable at their worst. Measuring a candidate’s personality is incredibly challenging, and even the most skilled psychologist will admit that it’s a shaky practice at best. If your HR department hopes to filter out the bad from the good, it certainly shouldn’t turn to these flawed tests.
If you’re still unconvinced that these tests are a bad idea, just consider how easy it is to cheat on them. Even if you believe in the accuracy of these test (and there are few reasons to do so), you should be concerned by how easily your potential workers can influence its results with a simple online search. Gaming these tests is incredibly easy, and is fast becoming a commonly-employed tactic by candidates hoping to leverage institutional barriers to employment for their own personal gain.
As countless psychologist will attest to, these psychometric tests are, at best, a brief snapshot that fails to capture the broader intricacies of the human mind. No person, not even the least-qualified candidate in history, is so simple or readable that a cohesive understanding of them can be formed from one minor test. If your HR department is considering employing psychometric tests, it should consider these other options first, both to save money and to save face as the shame of these tests becomes more widely known.
Retrofitting your HR department
It’s not easy feat to convince your superiors to abandon tests that have long been established as the industry standard, even in the light of the overwhelming evidence that’s mounting against them. Nonetheless, you wouldn’t be in HR if you gave up easily, and you’re likely committed to bringing aboard only the best workers when it comes to expanding your team. So where else should managers start, if not with these tests?
For company leaders especially, attracting the best talent often necessitates bringing out the best in yourself first. Rather than succumbing to the sham that countless other HR departments have, you can stand out by offering to your superiors solutions that are more focused on boosting internal morale and productivity in order to attract the best and brightest outside talent.
Of course, it won’t be smooth sailing for you; it’s never popular nor easy to go against the tide of public opinion, and many uninformed so-called “experts” still cling to the myth of psychometric testing as an accurate method for evaluating candidates. Relying on these flawed predictions will only harm your company in the long run, however, as they routinely fail to detect terrible flaws in candidates who go on to become full-time employees to the detriment of your company and the HR professionals who interviewed them.
Don’t allow yourself to paint with too broad a brush by relying on the hoaxes that surround the very idea of psychometric testing. Take your interviews slowly, even if you’re being pressured to fill a position as fast as possible, as a mistake in the hiring process can cost your company and your career prestige and advancement for years to come. Self-understanding is incredibly important, but the deceitful nature of these tests often fail to bring forward any valuable information. Rather than relying on psychometric testing, your company should ditch that failing practice, lest it fall behind its competition in the 21st century.
I'm a creative and passionate HR Director with 15 plus years proven experience up to board level in international and world-class organisations.
I have had the privilege of working on a wide range of projects that have enabled me to apply my leadership and technical skills and I have proven expertise in managing change, business integration and outsourcing, including TUPE/ARD. I am currently looking for my next intellectual and professional challenge.