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The Ins and Outs of Psychometric Testing

Employers Professional & Managerial

I’m sure you are aware of the significant financial and time costs that arise from making the wrong hire. Some credible calculations estimate the cost to be 1.5 times the salary of the role, not to mention the negative impact on morale, and business culture.

Using psychometric assessments during your recruitment process can help to eliminate hiring risks. Testing provides you with an unbiased view, helping you build a complete picture of the candidate. Profiling adds more objectivity, improves efficiency and allows for more informed decision making. You gain untapped insights into a candidate’s behavioural style, and his or her potential, beyond hard skills.

In my role as National Consulting Manager, I have come across a wide range of candidate testing options—some excellent, some not so great, and many that resemble horoscopes!

Recently, I have been asked about how to choose and use psych assessments, so I thought I’d shed a little light on my experience, and my thoughts on these tests.

What are the options?

There are two main types of psychometric tests:  Ability-based and Personality-based. I recommend using these tests together in order to build a comprehensive picture of your candidate. You can use these tests to measure situational judgement, skills, interests, values, team-fit, motivation and preferences, all of which have proven to be powerful tools for on-boarding, developing, managing and retaining employees. Want to hire the best fit for your needs? Need to improve your employer value proposition? Ability and personality based tests are your go-to resource.

What should I consider before choosing a test?

1.Find your norm

Make sure the test you are considering compares its data with NZ norm groups or at a minimum, New Zealand and Australia, as opposed to other countries. While of course we have similarities with other western nations, we enjoy a particular blend of diverse cultures, and a distinct set of values that make us uniquely ‘Kiwi’. The risk with using more international norm groups is the possibility of screening out candidates who actually may be a great fit for your business—or the reverse.

2.Credentials matter

Choose wisely. Find a credible supplier and determine their ability to interpret results using best practice methodologies. Credibility comes from the research behind the testing, its reliability and validity. Ask about what training and qualifications the organisation have to administer, interpret and deliver feedback. Lastly, you want a supplier that can work at pace, and turn testing and feedback around quickly as to not hinder your recruitment process.

3.Beware DIY

Interpreting psychometric reports requires specialist knowledge. Make sure you only interpret the reports yourself, if you have the relevant qualifications and experience to do so.

4.Look for a user friendly platform

There is an increasing number of candidates fully relying on their phones, many do not even have a laptop. For the best candidate experience, consider providers who ensure tests can be accessible from any platform; desktop, laptop, or tablet.

5.Feedback opportunities

Providing feedback to candidates who have taken a test is one of the best ways to keep candidates engaged during a recruitment and selection process. Finding a testing partner who guarantees feedback to all candidates within a timely manner is extremely important.

6.Value pricing

The cost of running psychometric testing should not be prohibitive in 2019. If you are unsure what you should be paying, please email me on Kelly.dillon@madison.co.nz, I’d be happy to advise you.

7.Beyond recruitment

I like to think of psych testing as the gift that keeps giving. Testing doesn’t have to be just about selecting the right candidate.For maximum positive impact for your business and employees, use the results as development tool. As an overview; you use the information provided by psych tests to create personalised development plans for new hires. This approach is currently very underutilised in New Zealand.

 

I hope the above points have given you a decent overview of what to consider and look for, should you be in the market for testing services. And of course, I strongly recommend that if you don’t currently use psychometric tests in your recruitment process (and beyond) that you consider doing so. When used properly, the value provided to the business and the individual is incredible. And finally, I know we all love freebies, but if you find free psych tests on the internet, sadly, they’re probably not worth the ‘paper’ they’re written on.

If you have any questions about psychometric testing, I’d love to help. Give me a call on 09 303 4455 or email me at Kelly.dillon@madison.co.nz


Madison offers consulting services to strengthen and support your organisational development, providing expert assistance throughout the talent life cycle. Whether the challenge is obtaining an external, independent view, or supplementing in-house knowledge, Madison’s Consulting Services can either integrate seamlessly into your own recruitment and HR practices, or standalone to serve a specific need. By getting involved in the big picture, we can help you to achieve your key recruitment and talent management goals.