The benefits of psychometric assessments

The benefits of psychometric assessments

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Psychometric assessments are a scientific method used to measure psychological constructs. Psychometric assessments are used by Dynamic Talent during the recruitment process but also have other applications. The assessments currently used at Dynamic Talent focus on cognitive ability, cognitive capability, personality, emotional intelligence, team styles, career interests and counterproductive work behaviours.

In South Africa, the use of psychometric assessments is highly governed and has to meet rigorous standards, as determined by the Health Professions Council of South Africa, and legislation. In the selection process, the Employment Equity Act highlights that any assessment used must be (1) scientifically reliable and valid; (2) able to be applied fairly; and (3) not biased against any employee or group. These requirements have been put in place to ensure job applicants are not unfairly discriminated against and govern the use of any assessments used in the process of selection or for purposes other than recruitment.

Only Registered Psychologists and Psychometrists are legally allowed to administer, interpret, and provide feedback on psychometric assessments in South Africa, and in general Psychologists must complete specialised training on every psychometric assessment they wish to administer. This post-graduate training is done through the various psychometric houses that develop and own the different psychometric assessments that are available

Psychometric assessment in the recruitment process

Psychometric assessments can be used at any point in the recruitment process. At Dynamic Talent, usually the top two or three shortlisted candidates are sent for a psychometric assessment, which marks the first objective evaluation of the candidate’s emotional and intellectual fit for the role (other than technical assessments). Up to this point, every method used in the application and interview process has a degree of subjectivity, allowing for unconscious bias to take place

These assessments are administered to evaluate the suitability of individuals for a role. The results are interpreted by Miri Williamson, Dynamic Talent’s in-house Industrial Psychologist, who compiles the reports for the candidate and the client.

Reports provided to managers/ employers and candidates/ employees – although drawing on the same results – differ slightly in terms of what is included. For example, a candidate’s report might detail some personal information or insights that might not be appropriate to disclose to the prospective employer; while a report prepared for managers/ employers would typically include more information about the candidate’s cognitive and emotional abilities, which might not be appropriate to disclose to the candidate. Finally, the client and / or candidate have their report presented to them during a feedback session (if required by the client).

The benefits of psychometric assessments for employers / recruiters

  • Objective and scientific evaluation – up to the point where psychometric assessments are introduced, the interview and recruitment process is often highly subjective
  • Determine aspects of a candidate’s fit for the role, which cannot be determined by other assessments (i.e., screening, interviews, technical assessments)
  • To see where the candidate will be most effective in the organisation, and how to develop their potential and benefit from their strengths
  • Create an awareness of any possible red flags that may have negative consequences for the organisation or other employees
  • Provide insight into how best to onboard and manage the selected candidate.

Managers can make the most of a candidate’s psychometric assessments by actively incorporating the insights into the onboarding and development plan for the prospective employee.

The benefits of psychometric assessments for candidates

  • Provide the opportunity for self-reflection
  • Increasing self-awareness of strengths and development areas and point out “blind spots”
  • Provide insights to tap into personal motivators in terms of work ethic and productivity
  • Help to identify possible triggers and likely behaviours when under major stress and pressure
  • Give insight into how to get along better with other personality types, and one’s likely personality and behavioural styles in the workplace.

Candidates can make the most of their psychometric tests by approaching the results with a growth mindset and being open to feedback, which will allow personal and career goals to be set for their own personal development.

Other applications of psychometric assessments in the workplace

Although psychometric assessments are most commonly used in the recruitment process, they can also be used in the workplace for the ongoing development of individuals, teams and organizations:

  • Organizational development. The understanding gained through conversations brought about by the results of psychometric assessments can help companies create and develop interventions to bring about improvements at various levels of an organisation.
  • Career-pathing. For the individual employee, a psychometric assessment can assist in guiding their growth strategy and setting realistic goals through identifying areas in which they may need training or coaching. In general, psychometrics are beneficial for coaching for both personal and professional goals and betterment.
  • Conflict resolution. Psychometric assessments can be used to open conversations about why employees might have trouble getting along or are getting frustrated by particular things in the workplace. Ultimately, this serves to improve teamwork and therefore efficiency and productivity.

But is it really worth the money?

Yes! Psychometric assessments are an additional cost, and some companies have reservations as to whether the cost outweighs the benefit. Williamson mentions that Dynamic Talent recommends the use of psychometric assessments in the recruitment process, especially for developers: “We provide cost-effective psychometrics that bring many benefits to companies and candidates because of the emphasis on the importance of feedback. If you compare the cost of using psychometric assessments to what you are paying the candidate for that role, and how much a wrong hire will cost you and the costs involved to rehire for that position, then it really is worth the initial cost. You have a better chance of getting the right person the first time round and understanding how to manage the candidate to get the best out of them. Having candidates that are productive, happy and well-suited for the job provides companies with competitive advantage and thus in my opinion, the benefits of psychometrics definitely outweigh the cost.”

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