Psychometric testing is critical to the recruitment process, however, OCG Senior Consultant Psychologist, Amanda Hamilton, discusses how its use as an effective development tool is key when the candidate isn’t a ‘perfect fit’ for the role.
During times of economic growth and when there is a talent surplus, psychometric assessments tend to be widely used in recruitment for selecting the best candidate for a role. During times of talent shortages managers often do not have an extensive pool of suitable candidates to choose from. Therefore, managers may not want to rule out potential employees and find themselves left with skill gaps in their team. However, psychometric testing can be used to help managers induct, develop and manage candidates that are selected into the business, even if the candidate is not seen as a ‘perfect fit’ for the role.
Psychometric assessment refers to the use of cognitive ability tests and personality or work behaviour profiles and is widely used for employment selection (Macky, 2009). Many organisations use psychometric assessments to understand a candidate’s potential strengths and weaknesses in light of the role that are being considered for. When a number of talented candidates who all have the requisite skills and experience required for a role are shortlisted, psychometric assessment can help managers select the candidate that ‘best fits’ the behavioural competencies for success in the role.
However, what happens when the talent pool has shrunk and competition between companies for talent is fierce? How can psychometric testing assist a business to achieve competitive advantage?
Psychometric assessments provide information about a candidate’s behavioural strengths and areas for development given specific role competencies. The information obtained from assessment has a number of uses that can help a business to induct, develop, and manage their employees.
Induction – Employee induction is critical for gaining employee engagement and facilitating high productivity. This may also increase the likelihood of retaining the employee in organisation over the longer term (Klein, Polin & Sutton, 2015). Psychometric assessment can help a manager understand what type of management, support and direction a new employee requires in order to quickly meet performance expectations in a role.
Development – The outcome of psychometric assessment can provide an excellent basis for managers and employees to engage in career development discussions. That is, psychometric assessment provides the manager and employee with an understanding of the employee’s capabilities and the potential areas that they could develop. Outcomes from psychometric assessment used in conjunction within information about an employee’s observed performance can assist managers to facilitate career discussions.
Management – When a manager understands what type of managerial support and direction an employee needs, the manager can tailor their leadership style to the needs of the individual. If an employee is supported in a way that suits their personality or work style they are more likely to be productive and engaged (Lam & O’Higgin’s, 2012).
Whilst psychometric assessment is often used as part of the recruitment process of selecting candidates, psychometric assessment outcomes can also be used as powerful tools for inducting, developing and managing employees. This can in turn lead to increases in productivity, engagement and retention of talent, ultimately providing companies with competitive advantage.
Amanda is a Registered Psychologist and joined OCG in 2008 having spent the last seven years working with Chandler Macleod in both New Zealand and Australia. Amanda’s core area of expertise is in the provision of psychological assessments for the purposes of selection, assessing general potential, career counselling, succession planning and outplacement.