Recruitment is always a two-way street. Organisations are looking for the ideal candidate to fit the role and the company culture. The candidate is looking for a position that suits their values and skills and where they can best utilise their strengths.
We sat down with Clevry's Head of Psychology, Laura Harrison, to discuss the benefits of using psychometric assessments in the hiring process, both for the employer and candidates.
What do we talk about when we talk about psychometrics?
Harrison says the scientific part is critical to remember; that distinguishes a psychometric personality questionnaire from a personality quiz you might see at the back of a magazine or on Social media. Other types of psychometric tests include different ability tests and situational judgement tests. Psychometrics refers to a scientific measure of a psychological attribute. That attribute could be knowledge, skills, behaviour, values, attitude or personality.
"Our personality is our preferred or typical approach that we are likely to take. If this doesn't align with the performance required in the role, it is unlikely that it will be a good fit for us in the long run."
How are psychometric assessments beneficial for recruitment?
As human beings, we are not very good at making judgements about people due to various cognitive biases. These biases likely skew our judgement of someone's ability or personality. Therefore, many companies use psychometric assessments to measure these attributes since they offer an objective measurement devoid of bias. Harrison says it all starts with a clear definition of what you're looking for. What are the attributes, abilities and soft skills needed for someone to be successful in this role? Then it is a case of understanding the most objective, fair and effective way to measure these things.
"Having multiple forms of assessment is good practice to ensure your decision is never based solely on one result. These two things can help a business ensure they get the right person, doing the right job."
What is the catch?
Still, some feel uncomfortable using psychometric assessments and think, "there must be a catch". Now and then, Harrison meets people with concerns over whether assessments work, whether candidates can fake them, or if they do not accurately represent the individual.
"As psychometric test publishers, we are held to high standards for managing these risks. I believe some people are not aware of this."
However, misinterpreting a result could be a potential risk during the evaluation if the evaluator interprets a personality scale preference to indicate ability. In other words, you must know how to make accurate interpretations if you evaluate a person's responses. Harrison continues by emphasising one of the most crucial parts of psychometric test design: to ensure the assessment has "validity", i.e. ensuring the assessment is fit for the purpose for which it is being used.
"The more closely linked the assessment is to the actual demands of the role, the more valid it will be. Customising the test design is one of the simplest and most effective ways of achieving high levels of validity within your assessments."
The landscape is changing rapidly – how does this affect recruitment processes?
Changes in the job market mean changes in the hiring process. The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted working life, and many have reevaluated their priorities. Employers look for candidates whose values and attitudes match their company and want to find a workplace that suits their personality, feels meaningful, and enables better work-life balance. Harrison says that finding a role that suits your personality, values, and interests can significantly impact your well-being and happiness. She considers that the core purpose of delivering psychometric assessments and creating bespoke solutions for clients is to help individuals and organisations find joy at work.
"We spend a large portion of our life in the workplace, so finding a role that suits our personality, values, and interests can significantly impact our well-being and happiness."
With new methods to find the most suitable candidates with the right qualities, does this mean that traditional job applications such as cover letters will no longer be relevant? According to Harrison, cover letters will still have a part in the recruitment process. Still, how we use them and the emphasis on them in the recruitment process will continue to reduce dramatically.
"I think people believe CVs help them see candidates as human beings, rather than just a "score". The problem is that there isn't enough information on a CV for us to get to know that person. But there's a lot of information that might trigger our biases and create misperceptions."
Being an expert at developing and implementing psychometrics, Harrison knows that soft skills are far more indicative of future job performance than hard skills. She believes the importance of soft skills will continue to grow and that these attributes will always remain crucial, even in those jobs where hard skills might seem more desirable.
"Having an appetite for learning, a motivation to develop, and adaptability to change are soft skills that will affect performance in any role. As employers start to prioritise soft skills, it will be challenging for recruiters and organisations still taking a more hard skills-focused approach. The changing landscape requires recruiters to understand their candidates better."
If you're interested in finding out more about how you can implement psychometric assessments in your hiring process, get in touch with us. Our experts are happy to assist you.