Many recruiting managers are turning more and more to psychometric testing in their pursuit of getting that one great new hire. This is driven by frustration of failure of conventional interviewing and a desire to be as scientific as possible in selection process.
What has been interesting is that the more the employers turn to psychometrics tests candidates are turning these tests into exams to be passed. Candidates have called us asking for coaching session on psychometric tests while some firms offer practice sessions for them.
The challenge for you as an employer then is to ensure that you get the right results from the tests rather than those that have been influence by a candidate who is keener to say what they hope you want to hear than being honest.

As a firm that uses psychometric tests in sales people selection we have learnt a few lessons that I’m happy to share.

A test is as good as what it seeks to measure. The user of psychometric test need to be clear what the test measures and whether what it measures is relevant to performance in the role. For example if a test measures whether someone is an introverted or extroverted you need to ask yourself whether these factors are essential for the role you are filling.

Secondly, you need to be sure that the test can validly pick out these factors. The simpler and straight forward a test is the more likely it is to be manipulated by the candidate. Great tests are expensive because they are costly to develop, administer, analyze and interpret. While there are many computerized systems to do the analysis in most cases the best interpretation is done by a human being.

Psychometric tests are great in giving an objective representation of a candidate. However, they should never be used alone to make a selection decision. No one can talk of a test that is 100% fool proof. But the administrator should have validated the test to a point where they can talk of their error margin and demonstrate whether that is acceptable. The conventional interviewing should seek to validate the outcomes of the psychometric tests.

When we test for various aspects of sales aptitude and sales behavior tendencies we use oral interview that is structured to validate the tests results. This greatly improves our success rate in hiring great candidates using these tests.

We have seen candidates who have all the right qualifications, credentials and demeanor come out weak in the tests. The decision then becomes whether to ignore the test results and go with the impressive resume. Some employers have opted for the resume. Most of them regret making this decision. Our suggestion then has been – ignore the test results only with good reasons.