Have you heard about psychometric test? Do you conduct a psychometric test on the applicants while recruiting? What does a psychometric test result indicate about a candidate? Should a psychometric test be conducted for only management employees or for all levels of workers including sewing machine operators? Does psychometric score reflect any personality trait? What would you do if a candidate with a very good subject understanding is found to be weak in psychometric score? Yes, ever since I started my professional career, I have been associated with conducting psychometric tests. We are a recruitment firm and 50 per cent of our clients conduct psychometric tests before confirming any new hires. Since I am long associated with this, I have noticed that it doesn’t have to do with the size of the company or the level of the position, rather it has more to do with how people-driven and processdriven are the company’s ethos. The first thing a psychometric test tells us is the consistency in thought process that a candidate possesses. Specifically, it points out to the ability to take risks and to be proactive at work. It clearly identifies leadership skills and the type of leader an individual will make. More often, it reveals the natural traits of a candidate, so that the company can do a good fitment analysis. And yes, psychometric tests should be done for all employees. However, there are some restrictions due to which the same test structure cannot be followed for all employees. Different tests will check for different things, thus there is always a need to customise tests according to employee groups. An overall score cannot be treated as a cut-off or a good or bad score. We have to analyse the test to note, if the candidate has scored well on the personality traits that are critical to the job in question. While conducting these tests, I will not look at overall score of the person. His/her subject matter understanding should be supported by some additional, positive personality traits, like stability or ability to work hard or team play to succeed in the job. If the person passes these parameters, only then I will hire him/her.
Principal, Human Capital, New Delhi (India)
Yes, I have heard of psychometric test and in fact, I had to take one for my interview with IKEA. This is a technique used by companies in conjunction with a face-to-face interview. It is used to measure knowledge, abilities, attitude, and personal traits of the employees to be hired. The test helps to see if the candidate can fit into the role. Also, it studies differences between individuals and enables them to get a deeper insight into personality traits, style of working, what motivates them etc. It is also an objective way to test candidates against each other. I feel psychometric test should be used for higher levels of management at leadership levels. Domain skills and experience cannot be replaced by the test, especially in our garment industry. It should be used as a guideline only. There is always a debate on what to do if the candidate is low on psychometric but good at the subject. I would rather select such a candidate as, in my field of quality, subject knowledge and experience are more important.
Apparel Industry Consultant, India
There has been a proliferation in the usage of psychometric instruments in the corporate world in recent times. Each of these instruments
have their own ‘scientific theory’with lots of data to back their ‘reliability’, ‘validity’ and their established ethnic norms. Almost all the instruments attempt to describe the person in terms of his or her behavioural preferences, as though the person taking the instrument can be described objectively. The reliability, and validity of data is only indicative of the accuracy of this objective prediction. Most organisations use these psychometric instruments either as part of their recruitment process, or as part of their leadership/people development efforts. Some organisations also use these to profile the team composition as part of their team development efforts. In these applications, an implicit expectation of the organisation is an objective prediction of the individual's behavioural preferences/propensities. However, it is important to note that irrespective of established reliability and validity, the behavioural profile presented is only a probability, and one need not assign any certainty to that. Approaching the psychometric instrument output with certain probability allows one to explore and learn more about the person; deterministic view towards these instruments (taking the profile presented by the instrument to be a true reflection of the individual) closes the door for these explorations, and ends up only in affirmations, negations and explanations. Use of psychometric instruments in the recruitment process involves mapping the ‘competencies’ required for the role for which the candidate is being considered; and using the result from the instrument to assess the extent of fit between the required competencies for the role and the innate preference that the candidate shows for these from his instrument profile data. This approach requires that the role competencies are well mapped, and that the organisation has developed the potential for understanding and mapping competencies for the various roles. Most instruments would caution against using the result from the instrument and its comparison with competency requirement as a basis for any direct recruitment decision. Instead, they encourage the organisations to use the output from the instrument as an input to validate and confirm coherence and disconnects that the instrument offers in relation to other data sources such as CV, reference checks, interviews etc. Often this is done as part of a last stage interview process. Thus, the profile data from the instrument is at best used as a preparatory tool prior to the interview, for identifying aspects that need to be probed for clarifications. From my experience of using the psychometric instruments, I have found that these instruments provide additional data for consideration of decisions rather than aiding in ‘objective’ decisions. The use of these instruments in people/leadership development interventions is also quite similar to the recruitment application, except that here, it is not used as data for recruitment decision process but as data for coaching and other such developmental interventions. GANESH CHIDAMBARAKRISHNAN Associate Consultant, Flame TAO Knoware, India