How are Psychometrics Used in Business?

Monday, 7 July 2013

Psychometrics can be used within organisations to help better understand and assess individuals and plan professional development. Psychometric testing is increasingly used in recruitment, performance measurement, goal setting and staff development.

Business success is not only down to the knowledge and skills of individuals, but also their beliefs and attitudes. Smart managers acknowledge that their staff are more than just employees and that personality has a large part to play when it comes to building a great team and performing well. Psychometrics provide the tools for measuring psychological traits in order to build a more successful team.

Psychometric testing for recruitment

Aptitude tests and personality profiling are being increasingly used in recruitment, either to narrow down a large pool of job applicants or to select the best applicants based on team fit and personality traits.

The standard interview is the most common way of assessing a candidate’s suitability for a job, and this is still a main part of the process for most organisations. However interviews are a fairly unnatural process, which can make it difficult to make objective judgements about an individual. Some people excel in interview technique and come across very well, whereas others clam up and the interviewers never get to see their true personality and abilities.

Psychometric testing can be very helpful, when used in conjunction with interviews and other selection criteria, to develop an objective, measurable profile of each candidate, which then allows each applicant to be compared fairly.

Psychometrics for team building

There are several ways in which psychometric testing can be helpful for managers in selecting their team members and assigning projects.

Aptitude testing is a way of determining each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This can then be used either as a way of building a balanced team with a wide skill set, or to put together a specialist team who all have a high aptitude in one particular area. For example, a high verbal reasoning score may identify staff members who would do well on sales or marketing tasks, whereas a high numerical reasoning score would indicate a head for figures and accounting.

Personality tests can also be used to assign roles within a team by selecting individuals based on personality types and leadership styles.

Psychometrics and career development

Psychometric interest and personality tests are frequently used to help individuals to find a career path that is both suited to their strengths and personality and something they will enjoy. Even schools commonly use psychometric testing as part of a careers advice programme.

Within an organisation, psychometric testing can help employees to discover their strengths and weaknesses and point them in the direction of a suitable career path. Some individuals will go on to make great managers, while others will do better in a specialist technical role or working with the public. Psychometric profiling can help make this path more clearly for both employee and manager.

Not everyone agrees in the value of psychometric testing and some people have raised concerns over the growing trend in using psychometrics as part of the recruitment process. Read on for a discussion into the validity of psychometrics and precautions that must be taken in their use.

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