Stitch World - - TECH BYTE -

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

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