At organic hr we use a wide-range of psychometric tools – basically measures that look at different people’s behavioural traits – to help us with the advice we give to organisations. These aren’t used to in a way that suggests some people are good and others bad, but rather that some people are more suited to certain roles or responsibilities than others.
Broadly speaking, these tools are used to ‘inform decision making’, but when we translate these profiles into advice or guidance for businesses – either in the form of individual feedback or to managers on a group of tests – what sort of things can they help organisations with?
Personality profiling can be used to help inform decision making in 4 areas, which are; Selection, Screening, Internal Moves/Succession Planning and Assessment and Development Centres.
Selection is the area where psychometrics are used the most, and if combined with a number of other measures of suitability they can be very effective. They are primarily used as an aid to the interview process, giving interviewers two sources of information to go from, giving a fairer picture of potential candidates.
Psychometrics have a number of different outputs – i.e. ways of translating and using the results of one particular set of answered questions – so it’s important the right reports are used during the selection process.
In some situations psychometrics can be used as a screening tool, however where possible they should still be used in tandem with a follow-up interview. Situations where vacancies are likely to attract a large number of applicants who don’t match the profile of the ideal candidate are an example of where this might be the case, but only if a thorough analysis of the job role and candidate.
After this, a ‘drop off’ zone for profiles can be created, and any applicants that fall into this area can be rejected, allowing you to concentrate on the most suitable personnel.
Some employers might consider it overkill to use psychometric profiling to help decision making for internal talent planning, given that applicants are likely to have a job history that interviewers/decision makers can draw upon, however considering employees are likely to be moving into roles with different responsibilities and requirements, having a second set of objective measurements to use can prove very helpful, and also dispel any notions of unfairness – something which can very easily creep into internal position changes.
As noted with selection above, it’s still advisable to use this along with a follow-up interview, in order to provide a well-rounded assessment of candidates.
Assessment and Development Centres
Lastly, psychometrics can be used to feed into a wider assessment or development centre; by using the information that candidates have provided about themselves on the psychometric profile, as well as the behaviours that can be observed on the day, decision makers can use the pros and cons of each approach to make a much more accurate decision as to suitability.