Does Your Company Recruit By Psychometric Testing?


Really? Psychometric test?

If that's how a company really assesses the value of an employee (and me), is it really a company I want to work for?

I moved to Brisbane about 2 1/2 years ago and as I had been a passionate outdoors person and marketer for many years within the outdoor adventure sports, hospitality, tourism, wine and food sectors, I began searching for marketing roles in my chosen fields.

After finding what I thought was my perfect role with a brand I had a great deal of respect for, I was quite surprised to receive an "automated" email with a link to take a psychometric test, from a recruitment agent. I don't know specifically which test was set, as it did not seem to relate to the role I had applied for, I did do part of the test before taking objection (questionable content) and writing to the sender. Almost instantly I received yet another automated response that the recipient was away on leave and to please contact the HR department at the company that had appointed the "recruitment agent" to fill the role.

After contacting the HR department (full transcription of email conversation HERE) I did receive a response, again rather impersonal and bordering on a lecture as to what psychometric testing was.

I am not a fan of psychometric testing, though it does have its uses in specific situations, if not rehearsed or cheated on. When a company wants to check that the person they are considering for a job has the right level of skills in a certain area or has the personality and intelligence to meet the demands of the job or the culture of the organisation.

Self examination by a young person can be useful to give them a general sense of career direction, since they have little other information about their skills and career needs to go on.

BUT some career professionals use psychometric testing as a default, basing all subsequent work on the results of the test, and I take issue with this approach with respect to intelligent career professionals with years of experience under their belt.

Psychometric testing is a very broad brush approach to understanding the specific traits and skills of very complex human beings. Many career decisions are based on which company one should work in, rather than what career they should follow. I know of no psychometric test in the world that can discriminate between one company and another, the predictive ability of psychometric tests is very limited.

I would challenge any employer to ask themselves "What do you hope to achieve from the test and how the questions that you ask are likely to result in the conclusions that any applicant be suitable, or not, for this role?" I doubt any recruiter or perspective employer will be able to give a satisfactory answer, this one certainly wasn't.

Many HR personnel today seem intent on putting round pegs in square holes. In all I have had first hand experience that this form of assessment within a company I previously worked, who introduced psychometric testing name to determine staffing a restructure (I resigned and moved to Brisbane shortly after this process). The outcome was horrendously unworthy and I dispute the that interviews can be substituted for a test of box-ticking. You cannot underestimate the gut instinct of an interviewer or interviewee.

We are all a product of our environment and can be influenced by all sorts of factors, our brains after all, are very complex devices and assuming a person or situation is, in just a fraction of a second, who that person is? Would you as an employer really want to rely on something as impersonal as psycho-metrics to tell you that this person is not a fit for your organisation?