Are Employer Assessment Tests Used Correctly?

I for one have never taken psychometric testing as part of an application process until recently, hence hint for the article. However, in the past I have taken personality based testing employed within an organization for team building workshops. With my recent experience I have learned that as a “mature” candidate with college being a long time ago, taking a numerical reasoning psychometric test was a wake up call. It also helped me realize that at my lovely age of 43, I should suck it up and get bifocal eyewear. But, before I get thrown to the wolves about Psychometric testing, please note that the purpose for which I am writing this article is for testing feedback, awareness and hopefully a tiny voice for all who at sometime in their life will have to go through some type of application testing process. Also because I have been brainstorming about this for the whole week and have questions which I am hoping to gain meaningful feedback.

So, if you are an expert of psychometric testing you would know that not all situations and employers use the same psychometric tests and or execute them in the same manner. And if you are like me new to the whole entire process you are probably confused and wanting to learn more? I for one was left wondering if employers who use these tests, properly assign them or even know how to properly use them in collaboration with a job role and or responsibilities? I have heard of them being used for the Military, Police, Firemen and financial roles (stock brokers, financial advisors etc) but not much more. I was not fully familiar that there are several types of psychometric tests usually separated in two categories;

  • Aptitude and Ability tests which include; Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Spatial Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Mechanical Reasoning, Data Checking and Work Sampling
  • Personality Tests which include; Skills/Experience, Enthusiasm/Motivation and Personality/Attitude.

Currently there are over 5000 styles of tests and or styles in both these categories and limited vendors who provide testing services to employers. Some of the key players which I found to be are SHL or CEB Global (which I took), Kenexa and Talent Q to start with. Now, the most SEO results for trying to find out information on these was via JobTestPrep.com who offers an extensive variety of study prep packages for these tests, however a little pricey. So as you can see with all of the stuff out there my brain spiraled into information overload and even more concerned on how are companies really using these tests?

So with I have shared so far here are some of my thoughts;

In addition to these tests what is the percentage of technicality or non-technicality weighted to actually perform in the job role? Are companies practicing feasibility and or analyses so that the proper tests is assigned for each role based on the percentages of these? For example you would not want to solely assign a numerical portion for a customer based role if the higher percentage of the role is seeking someone who will need strong communication and or personable skills to build customer relations? Based on the role, a test seeking personality traits or cognitive abilities matching the roles would be best suited or assigned to the applicant. Right? or am I wrong?

When using psychometric tests, are companies solely relying on automated or partially automated candidate profiling for each role to ensure unbiased screening of each candidate and roles?

Are companies just buying psychometric software and or platforms solely relying on these to weed out profiles and then letting them burn in the back burner, becoming archaic and allowing them to be wrongfully assigned for a role and or candidate.

In addition are companies performing their own measure of success and or performance analysis for these tests? What is the ROI on candidate satisfaction, candidate job performance and retention if a psychometric tests had a higher percentage factor for hiring and or profiling these?

How much is the percentage of candidates rejected vs not rejected based solely on psychometric tests, if a psychometric tests outweighs CVs profile and other factors? Has anyone thought of the impacts on candidate experience and or satisfaction for the process, forget about psychological effect of rejection. Was the experience positive/negative for the candidate that although he/she feels not suitable at the moment of application; would he/she later feel inclined to better prepare or re-try in the future?

Fortunate for me I have been through so much stuff that nothing really negatively impacts me anymore and so I am at a stage in my life that all I can do is accept criticism, learn from the experience, teach myself how to do better and try for the next run. But after further thinking about this experience and reading some of the comments during my research and reading on how some employers still handle the application process, I had to write.

In doing some internet research I found various articles which state that currently about 18-20% of companies use some form of psychometric testing with numbers growing. I have also read about the success of using assessment testing for employers, thus helping companies avoid the painstaking mistake of a wrong hire which can be detrimental to team morale and costly. But I have also found articles where too many companies still use psychometric testing the wrong way running into roadblocks and or legal scandals because of improper use of such tests. Not using psychometric/personality assessment style testing without proper knowledge of hiring laws can get a company into a big mess; companies must follow proper disability, civil and equal rights laws when building their tests platforms to avoid such legal setbacks and scandals.

In addition, as an experienced PM I always ask my customer – Why do we need this, what is the true business need and what will this ultimately help the company with- what is our measure of SUCCESS? So naturally when companies who take on assessments tests for their hiring process, do they really know or have established job performance statistics or matching for each role and which tests to assign? A company who is seeking a candidate should assign tests accordingly to the real-world based need along with personal traits for each candidate. Nixing a candidate based solely on variables when it itself has not computed solid measures for job performance and or statistics can also be costly. Want to have the right candidate for the job a company must also invest on time and effort in making the selection process fair and current along with performance measures on how your current process is helping or not helping.

It baffles me on how large and powerful corporations who can provide world class technology, tools and software always seem to have archaic and not user friendly platforms for their internal recruiting process. It also baffles me on how when doing such assessments companies do not take the time to share results with their candidates. Sharing the knowledge is not only beneficial for the candidates so he/she may use for future learning purposes but also positive PR for the company as well. If a candidate did not have a first successful attempt, applying for a company who takes their time and consideration in providing feedback – even if it’s automated test results can mean a ton for that candidate. This can increase and or re-boot their morale to try again and or provide feedback to others to not give up. In my opinion when an organization takes the time to continuously look into their processes and for the purpose of this article – we are are discussing assessments testing and recruiting- I am pretty sure the ROI will be of greater value and positive PR and views when it comes to recruitment.

In summary based from my recent experience, learning more about assessments and better preparing for them is at hand, especially with my current search for new opportunities across Europe and Global organizations. But not everyone has the same outlook and so I am curious and would love to know about other experiences and how you were able to manage the process? If you missed the first attempt where you able to recover and try again with the same company and succeed? Or do you feel that once it was done, that was it and never attempted again? Your thoughts, experiences, feedback I look forward to and now I am ready for the wolves…. 😉

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Annabella!

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