Archive for June, 2009

Using psychometric testing for recruiting and developing staff

June 26th, 2009 No comments

by Kate Klease at Vantage Human Capital

Psychometric tests aim to measure attributes like intelligence, aptitude and personality. They are frequently used in recruitment (in conjunction with other methods) to determine how a candidate might perform in a given role. In general, psychometric tests (used for recruitment) do not analyse emotional or psychological stability and should not be confused with tests used in clinical psychology. Employers are reporting increased numbers of job applicants, psychometric testing can be a very effective tool in the selection process to determine the most suitable applicant. Given the cost of getting a hiring decision wrong it makes sense everything in your recruitment arsenal to make sure you get it right.

Psychometric testing is not just for big corporates or high level/technical roles. There are wide range of different testing methods and tools designed to measure, assess or analyse various factors, in fact there are so many tools that one of the most difficult steps is determining what, if any test would be most beneficial.

The first step you need to take before considering psychometric testing is to think about what the main purpose and key responsibilities of the role are, and how this person will need to fit in with the overall organisation and culture. Separate the essential, desirable and peripheral skills/attributes. Once you have a thorough understanding of what you need, you can determine what psychometric tools might be relevant. Remember that you don’t need to test everything, there are many factors that can be determined without the need for testing and you need to decide what is appropriate for your role. For example while it might be appropriate to test the basic technical and numeric skills of a graduate accountant, it is probably unnecessary to do so with an experienced Financial Controller. It is also important to understand the benefits and limitations of psychometric testing in general.

Psychometric testing allows you to measure and analyse specific information that may otherwise be very difficult, or time consuming to accurately gauge. For example, if you know from past experience that the most successful candidates for your role have been highly intelligent, it makes sense to consider intelligence as a fairly important selection criteria. An IQ test will accurately measure intelligence, although as an interviewer you may get a ‘feel’ for how intelligent a subject is your views are based upon your own perceptions and observations, there is a possibility that you could over, or underestimate a candidate’s intelligence. If you are using a credible testing method you can be assured that the results are an accurate indicator of the candidate’s ability or potential without relying on guesswork or intuition.

Candidates are putting their best foot forward during the interview process. They will provide referees they are confident will sing their praises, assure you that they are experts in all your selection criteria and convince you that they are a great fit for the role. Candidates are not stupid, they know what you are looking for (it was in the job ad!) and they are experts at telling you exactly what you want to hear. Unless you have spent time in a previous role perfecting your interrogation and lie detection skills it is wise to use other methods to validate their claims.

There are many psychometric tools that can be used, not only in recruitment but in the retention and development of staff as well. For example, personality or behavioural profiling can be used to gain an insight into particular traits, areas of strength, weakness, work style and preferences. We have all heard the saying that employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. I think the majority of employees would consider it a ‘career limiting move’ to criticise the boss’s management style; if you understand how individual employees might respond to different situations you can adapt your own style to bring out the best in your staff. Similarly, you can use profiling for internal promotions or reorganising work-flow. By reallocating tasks amongst staff members to suit their abilities and preferences you can increase job satisfaction and organisational efficiencies. We have worked with several client’s recently to re-organise their work-flow and task allocations based upon personality profiling and there has been a significant increase in morale and job satisfaction and also a marked (but smaller) improvement in productivity and output.
Although there is some argument that candidates can ‘fake’ answers to psychometric tests, well researched tests make it very difficult for a candidate to ‘cheat’. Credible testing will have significant research and validity studies to prove that it provides consistent and accurate results, however you should still use other methods during recruitment such as interviews and reference checks to provide you with the ‘bigger picture’.

Tools that rely on self assessment, such as personality profiling are generally accurate, however unlike methods such as IQ testing (where you either know the answer or you don’t) there is a greater chance of a participant being able to ‘fake’ a particular personality because they are ‘self reporting’ and may either have a poor self perception or believe that they need to answer the questions in a way that reinforces what they believe you are looking for (and not what they are actually like). You need to satisfy yourself (ususually through interviewing or reference checking) that the information presented is accurate and representative of the candidate.

I have come across many hiring managers who would reject a candidate based upon their psychometric testing without hesitation if they did not perfectly fit the ‘profile’ for the job. Dismissing a candidate based purely on their psychometric testing may be warranted in some unique cases, however it would be unwise to rely solely on the results of a subjective test in making an assessment on suitability. Factors such as high stress levels, mental illness, tragic events such as a death in the family or illness can potentially affect the results of a test; wherever possible, you should use multiple methods to reinforce results.

There are so many complexities to human beings and factors that influence who we are, it would be impossible to define a person through a series of tests and assessments, so while they can be useful, keep in mind that each individual test will have their own benefits and limitations. Putting some thought into what you really want to achieve out of testing will not only save you money but ensure that you are using the most appropriate tools to achieve your objective.


Categories: Human Resources

winHR & winOHS V4.8 Released

June 7th, 2009 No comments

Favour are pleased to announce V4.8 of winHR and winOHS.  The focus of this release of our popular Human Resource and Occupational Health & Safety software solution is on extended training/education and skill items and processes within the employee and positional functions.  This includes, as one of the options, the ability to quickly add training and skill items to an employee’s file based on their position.

There are other enhancements too, in particular, the further enhancement of integration between winHR/OHS and Attache.  winHR/OHS has the most advanced integration to Attache of any HR and/or OHS solution and is recommended by Attache.

Favour is now actively working on an enhanced recruitment function and also employee self-serve amongst other enhancements.  Favour aims to provide the most affordable self-service solution on the market, as this enhanced feature is currently beyond the affordability of many small to medium sized enterprises currently.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Categories: Product News