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5 min read

Can psychometric tests reduce hiring bias?

Apr 1, 2022 10:46:29 AM

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. 

Can psychometric tests reduce hiring bias

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 use 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 predicting 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 these 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. 

To supplement interviews and help find the right candidate, companies are geared towards personality testing for building and maintaining a successful 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 which candidates will fit in your organisation while eliminating 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 conservatively predict a match into the organisational culture. 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. As an employer, you can choose tests that align with your core values. 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. 


Do psychometrics always eliminate hiring bias?

Though psychometric testing is widely considered a reliable assessment strategy, you have to be mindful when looking at the results. The timed conditions under which the tests are administered, along with the pressure of the application process, can lead some participants to underperform in their tests. While testing personality traits, applicants might provide answers they believe suit the employers, thus creating a false image of their personality. While psychometrics are the most reliable and objective way to assess candidates' suitability for a role, they're not a silver bullet. You need to conduct interviews to assess whether the results are a right match for the organisation.

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 very fundamental difference in the way these people perceive the world and process information can set them at odds with psychometric tests. Many neurodiverse people tend to 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 questions, they are less likely to finish the test. Make sure that the assessment you are using takes into consideration neurodiverse people and have 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, you can combine psychometrics with regular oral and online interviews, presentations, on-the-spot problem solving, and consultations with fellow team members during the hiring process. Incorporating technology in the recruitment process alongside psychometrics and traditional interviews will eliminate hiring bias and bring the right candidates on board.

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

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Written by Clevry