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An in-depth look at psychometric testing

Posted on from Page Group

Psychometric testing delves deeper than a simple aptitude test to provide insight into an individual’s ability and personality. Paul McNamara quizzes three of his colleagues at Michael Page Executive Search to discover more.

What are psychometric tests?

Tools designed to measure an individual’s knowledge, abilities, aptitudes, personality, intelligence and motivations. The tests can be conducted during an interview or assessment centre, in a controlled professional environment but most are now completed online by participants in their own time.

In which situations are psychometric tests used?

“Psychometric testing is very useful at the latter interview stages for the selection of senior executives. It is also used for a senior management team as part of their development, to investigate the dynamics of the board, for example” according to Phil Spencer.

“Companies also want to make sure that they’re holding real talent as they offer more personal development and coaching – and psychometrics are the base from which to address areas for development,” added Deborah Thomas.

Is psychometric testing on the rise?

“Psychometric testing at this level has always been present, both at interview stage and for internal benchmarking and development,” said David Angel.

Psychometric testing has increased recently due to the recent economic crisis, believes Deborah Thomas, “organisations have been reassessing their talent pool and some have needed to change their senior management to reflect a different dynamic.”

“As the market picks up, there will be a greater increase in of psychometric testing. Currently there are still cost and time factors, but we will see a big growth in HR using these tools for profile management and sophisticated selection and development of senior executives,” said Phil Spencer.

What are the benefits of psych testing?

The consensus at Michael Page Executive Search is the tests should be used as a support tool rather than a decision making tool. “Psychometrics are an additional assessment tool – they must be used in context as part of a wider assessment programme including interviews,” said Deborah Thomas.  

The benefit of psychometric testing is the insight provided into an individual’s motivation, leadership style and other criteria key to an executive leader of an organisation. “It’s good to have a scientific way to measure the probability of future performance rather than relying on a gut feeling – not to catch people out but to identify areas for development,” according to David Angel. 

Which of your clients use this as a tool?

Global conglomerate recruiting an MD for a local subsidiary – used testing in the final interviews of their three preferred candidates. It emerged that one of the candidates had challenges with decision making and confrontation – this was something that was brought into the open and allowed to be probed further.

Information solutions provider considering an internal promotion – wanted to conduct a third-party an assessment of two candidates in the running for a sales and marketing director role. The assessment included in-depth interviewing and psychometric testing. Our client was able to make an internal promotion, informed by the test findings and full independent assessment.

IT solutions provider to the financial services industry – regularly use online psychometric assessments early on in the interview process for a range of senior leadership appointments. They are able to uncover any potential challenges in advance of the offer stage.  

Psychometric testing can be useful at the executive level for candidate assessment during the interview process, as well as ongoing retention and development for leadership teams as a whole. 

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