Part one of this blog post introduced the use of personality testing for evaluating new talent. It examined the goals of testing as well as the legal ramifications of using tests for this purpose. This post will continue this topic and explore different types of tests, as well as other factors to consider if you choose to use a test in your hiring process.

Choosing a Test

Although there are seemingly an endless number of psychometric tests available in the marketplace, all tests are not created equal. A company should conduct careful research before deciding whether to implement psychometric testing into its hiring process and also in selecting a particular test. The management team should ask test providers about the development and research that went into the creation of the test. If a test provider is unwilling to provide any information, that is probably a good indication of the quality (or lack thereof) of that particular test.

The questions on the test should also be carefully reviewed. Many psychometric tests were not developed for use in a workplace setting. Therefore, those tests will be of little to no value, and some could violate the ADA if they could reveal mental illness. Before giving a particular test to candidates, it should be administered to the existing management team to gain a better understanding of the type of information that will be generated. Also, after a particular test has been implemented into the hiring process, management should periodically evaluate whether the test is providing the type of information sought. Management should also evaluate whether that information has been useful in the hiring process and whether there is a more cost effective method to obtain the same information.

Not the Sole Factor

Psychometric tests do remove some of the biases that may be present in other portions of the hiring process. Personality tests can provide insight into a candidate’s potential leadership ability and work habits. However, the “results” of a psychometric test should not be weighted too heavily when selecting a candidate for a position. Many industrial psychologists question the validity of the tests in predicting success. Others question whether results are reliable, because test takers may answer the questions in a manner that they think will be viewed most favorably.

Some companies use psychometric tests as screening mechanisms, which is a mistake, because candidates who have the necessary experience and accomplishments might never be considered. Just because a candidate is naturally an introvert or an extrovert does not necessarily mean that she cannot enjoy success in a particular role, nor does it necessarily mean that she will enjoy success. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that psychometric tests attempt to quantify very subjective qualities and traits. Experience and actual accomplishments should not be ignored as predictors of future success. Nothing replaces a face to face meeting. Interviews allow the hiring team to get more of “a feel” for a person rather than reading the results of a personality test.

Evaluating New Talent

Psychometric tests may not be able to find the “perfect match,” but there is no one method or tool that can. If there were, the hiring process would be easy, and everyone knows that is not the case. Making hiring decisions is still more of an art than a science. If integrated into the hiring process, results from psychometric tests should be one of many factors that are considered. At the end of the process, the decision makers must review all of the information gathered and use their best judgment to select the candidate that they believe will generate the best results for the company.

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