Are psychometric assessments actually helping your organization hire better at all levels?

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A lot of large scale organizations have started using psychometric assessments for shortlisting candidates while hiring. A 2013 HBR article stated that 18% of companies had already adopted psychometrics assessments and that the rate of adoption was grow at the rate of 10 to 15% a year. Citigroup, Ford Motor, Procter & Gamble, JPMorgan and Deloitte are among the many prominent organizations that have invested themselves in to psychometric assessments. So why are organizations depending on something like psychometry to understand whom to hire and why? Pexitics conducted a webinar about PexiScore Assessments recently and as was expected, this subject cropped up.

On July 1st, a webinar hosted by Pexitics on scoring models for hiring. This the second article in the series talking about the key take-aways from the webinar. The discussion highlighted the importance of understanding that, any instrument or tool, is developed for a specific purpose and should only measure what it is supposed to measure. Within this assertion lies the problem with applying psychometric assessments to hiring. While psychologists over time have developed various tests to ascertain personality types; these tests are not meant to be used for hiring. The afore mentioned HBR article gives the relevant example of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which many organizations like to use. However, this was not developed for personnel evaluation, as perfectly clarified by the test’s publisher. With each organization having its own unique culture, a one size fits all solution can never produce reliable results, and the solution that is being implemented should have been tested thoroughly for reliability.

Are psychometric assessments reliable?

The webinar leader Subhashini Tripathi and the founder of Pexitics.com talked about the importance of differentiating between general personality type and professional personality type. While hiring, organizations need to understand that they are going to be building professional relationships with people. The focus of any good personality test for hiring should be to understand what motivates a person to work, what motivates him/her to perform at the optimum level and to understand his/her ethics in the workplace. These motivations could be entirely opposite when it comes to the same person’s motivations to make decisions and perform actions in his/her personal life. If the psychometric assessment is built for measuring the professional personality and motivations for work, and it has been tested to measure this successfully, it is a reliable tool. If not, it is merely a way of inefficiently screening candidates and maybe even losing some very good hires.

Can psychometric assessments be used for all levels of hiring?

Shashank Shekhar of Agora Analytics raised an important point about the validity of psychometric testing for hiring at different levels. He said that using psychometric assessments in hiring at inter-level is often perceived as untrustworthy. At the senior level, however, the same test is perceived to be more effective. This is because inter-level candidates are assumed to be susceptible to game the test and give answers by guessing the personality type that is required for that particular job. He also mentioned that in inter level cases, where the candidate did not game the system, the results could still turn out to be unpredictable. However, the fault actually lies in the type of test administered.  Subhashini explained this further and said that, in the USA, market research was mostly conducted online, with participants actually being paid to participate in the survey. Marketing is also a very people focussed function and if research is faulty, it can be very bad news for business. This is why, market research systems of the west have developed safeguards against misuse. These safeguards or techniques have inspired and been integrated into the behavioural assessment component of the PexiScore assessments. Subhashini continues saying, “When organizations come to us and say, we want to use our psychometry instead of yours, we say no. Ours is proven to work and built to work. If organizations want, they can add their psychometric component to the test but not replace it. So, if you actually want scoring done for Job Fit at all levels including Personality, PexiScore is built for that.”

Why are personality/psychometric assessments good to have?

Quite simply put, because they increase productivity. Like Subhashini mentioned, if a good personality assessment tool is used and motivations for work are accurately understood, it enables recruiters to eliminate bad hires. For e.g. if an organization’s culture and the job role and compensation is entirely incentive based, hiring someone who is not monetarily motivated would lead to failure. However, if this motivation is clearly understood, then you end up hiring people whose productivity will improve in the long term with additional incentives. Additionally, psychometric assessments have become important because jobs have become complex. Organizations often look for people who have one core competency while having some functional knowledge about adjoining functions. These candidates can take these functions up too if required and thus add value to their role in the organization. So, while building a team it is important to hire people who will bring in this level of continuity with an overlapping set of skills and competencies.  A good assessment is built to deal with this complexity.

Santosh Mishra also pointed out that now hiring is also very compliance driven. For e.g. while hiring someone for a sales role, you are giving that person access to customer data, revenue data and other sensitive information. Personality tests therefore, have become important to understand the values and ethics of an individual before s/he is hired.

It is therefore clear that psychometric assessments that tend to invite a lot of scepticism can actually be very useful and even necessary while building the workforce of the future. A workforce that is as dynamic as the organization it belongs to. The key point to remember while administering psychometric assessments is to use instruments or tools that have been built to measure Job Fit and not for any other purpose.

If you want to learn more about PexiScore visit https://pexiscore.com/and request a demo. You can also connect with Subhashini at https://www.linkedin.com/in/subhashinitripathi/ and Reuben Ray at https://www.linkedin.com/in/reubenray/

Stay tuned for the next article in this series and subscribe to get notified every time a new article is published. We will also be hosting more Webinars. Please follow us at https://www.linkedin.com/company/pexitics.com to get updates regarding this.

Read the other articles in the series:

Watch the webinar recording below:

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