Can psychometric tests reduce hiring bias?

As organisations, both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, look for ways to enhance diversity and eliminate hiring bias from the recruitment process, more and more businesses are adopting psychometric tests in the pre-employment stage to eliminate the challenge.

Psychometric tests measure a candidate’s cognitive abilities and workplace personality through logical reasoning, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and personality questionnaires. Each test gives a unique perspective on how a person can demonstrate a specific skill or ability. Traditionally, these tests have been expensive to administer in terms of the duration and time needed to train staff, administer, and interpret. Luckily nowadays, the barrier to using the tests is lower, as there are modern tools and online platforms available on the market that are easy to implement, administer and use at scale.

While employers can view a candidate’s educational background through their resumes, those that appear perfect for the job on paper are not always successful when workplace realities come to play. While hard skills such as technical skills play an important part, it is the soft skills i.e. personality traits, approach to work, and communication skills that ultimately drive success and help predict how a candidate will fit into their role and organisational culture.

The base case for psychometrics

The idea behind using  psychometric tests  in the hiring process is to make an objective effort to assess individuals more thoughtfully, beyond the traditional skills and educational background. With hundreds of employees applying for a single position, employers can reduce the large pool of applicants through psychometrics tests. Furthermore, they can gain a deeper understanding of an individual’s thinking styles, attitudes, and motivations.

Traditionally, Fortune 500 companies have relied on psychometric tests in their recruitment processes. However, with the changing dynamics of hybrid work models and the need for diversity, the number of companies using tests is growing by  10-15%  annually. As a result, businesses must respond with agile and flexible recruitment processes to avoid missing out on a significant portion of the potential global workforce.

Organisations are faced with the challenge of identifying and shortlisting candidates and progress selection which, when coupled with the possibility of making poor hiring decisions, makes psychometrics essential in the recruitment process. In addition, as organisations move toward improving their talent acquisition strategies, psychometrics testing has become an essential component of HR strategy.

Companies are using personality testing to supplement interviews and identify the right candidates, helping them to build and maintain a thriving employee base. Although this is a good start, it is easy to risk using the wrong methods to assess potential talent. Many traditional assessments have been debunked, including the infamous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, as they no longer serve the skills required in today’s organisational cultures. Instead, modern and mainstream psychometrics have been integrated with science-based personality testing to embrace talent leader workflows like SMS messaging and chatbots.

Why integrate psychometrics in recruitment?

1. Standardising the recruitment process

Psychometric tests reveal inherent abilities rather than learned knowledge. This gives insight into how easily employees acquire new skills, process information and how they will perform in the job role. When you have multiple candidates with similar qualifications, psychometrics helps you differentiate between candidates that will fit your organisation. Test also helps eliminate halo and horn bias, which leads recruiters to treat candidates less or more favourable based on a positive or negative first impression.

2. Predictive insights

Psychometric tests reveal a candidate’s qualifications on their resume. Tests help to predict a match into the organisational culture conservatively. As a result, employers are able to chart a career trajectory for candidates within the company to find the right deployment strategy. For instance, if a candidate is introverted but possesses the qualities required for the position, these tests can offer a platform for employers to recognise them. Conversely, recruiters will not be tricked by overconfident candidates who would only answer questions the interviewers wish to hear or steer the conversation to what suits the employer.

3. Objective and efficient recruitment

Psychometric tests make the recruitment process fair and unbiased, as they help an organisation maintain standards objectively by measuring personality traits and capabilities. You can choose tests that align with your core values as an employer. A candidate’s score will be checked upon various parameters and provide transparent results to weigh different people on the same scale. With the results, you can explore other concerns through follow-up interviews where you assess if the score matches the candidate’s personality in real life.

View the output from our psychometric assessments by downloading sample reports below.

Do psychometrics always eliminate hiring bias?

While psychometrics are the most reliable and objective way to assess candidates’ suitability for a role, they’re not a silver bullet. Hiring decisions should never be made solely based on assessment results but used in conjunction with other selection methods, such as structured interviews.

It is also vital to keep in mind that some candidates you may wish to bring onboard for increased diversity and business growth may perform the psychometric tests in a way that does not adapt to the norm. Although  neurodiverse minds  are essential in your team, this fundamental difference in how these people perceive the world and process information can set them at odds with psychometric tests.

Candidates you may wish to bring on board for increased diversity and business growth may perform the psychometric tests in a way that does not adapt to the norm.

Many neurodiverse people struggle to complete psychometric tests effectively due to anxiety and executive function challenges. When a candidate loses interest or has limited time trying to understand the intent of a question, they are less likely to finish the test. Make sure that the assessment considers neurodiverse people and has reasonable adjustments like increased time limits.

Combined tests for the win

Rather than focusing on a single mechanism to evaluate employees, organisations should focus on assessing employees through multiple. Ideally, depending on the role, you can combine psychometrics with in-person or online interviews, presentations, on-the-spot problem solving, and consultations with fellow team members during the hiring process. 

If you’re looking to implement psychometric assessments in your recruitment process and start hiring bias-free, get in touch with us, we’re happy to help you.


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