EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING

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EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING

The past few years have seen a shift toward creating a more engaging and interactive candidate experience in the form of simulations in the recruitment process. Advances in technology have made it easier for assessment providers to bring previously text-based assessments to life in the form of video situational judgement tests and fully simulated assessment experiences. These assessments generally involve the candidate responding to ‘what would you do next’ type questions after watching a brief, animated scene, leading to subsequent interpretations as to their likely behaviour on the job. But now things are starting to get really exciting. Recruitment has not been untouched by one of the hottest trends of our time – gamification.

Online games have been an innovative attraction strategy used by high profile employers around the world including Ikea, L’Oreal, and Marriott Hotels. These games are designed to spark the interest of potential candidates who may have otherwise overlooked the opportunity. While attraction games have served their intended purpose as a branding tool, they haven’t been able to provide an evaluation of candidate fit for a particular role…until now. We are now seeing game-based psychometric assessments entering the market and making big waves. With the era of big data and gamification upon us, the powerful blend of the two allows for the accurate measurement of candidate attributes and identification of talent potential via a fully interactive and highly engaging game.

Revelian brings Theme Park Hero to the market in Australia. One of the first game-based psychometric assessment of its kind, Theme Park Hero helps employers to better identify the best fit candidate. While not fully replacing more traditional psychometric assessments or simulations anytime soon, game-based tests will certainly be a key feature of the recruitment industry moving forward… Watch this space!

What are Psychometric Tests?

The word psychometric is formed from the Greek words for mental and measurement. Psychometric tests attempt to objectively measure aspects of an individual’s mental ability or personality. Individuals are most likely to encounter psychometric testing as part of the recruitment or selection process and occupational psychometric tests are designed to provide employers with a reliable method of selecting the most suitable job applicants or candidates for promotion. Psychometric tests are commonly used as part of a recruitment process. Employers use them to gain insights into a candidate’s skills and personality which can be more objective, reliable and scientifically valid than an interview alone. Psychometric tests are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in large organizations, where senior management may be removed from the recruitment process but seeks to ensure certain benchmarks are met when recruiting new employees. Psychometric tests are seldom used in isolation and represent just one of the methods used by employers in the selection process.

These tests aim to measure attributes like intelligence, aptitude and personality, providing a potential employer with an insight into how well an individual work with other people, how well an individual handle stress, and whether an individual will be able to cope with the intellectual demands of the job. It’s an exciting time for the psychometric testing industry. There’s no doubt that we are on the verge of a new era and are making leaps and bounds in the sophisticated measurement of candidate strengths and abilities.

Percentage of Companies using Psychometric Tests

Psychometric testing is now used by over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. Tests are used by many employers across most sectors, including IT, engineering, energy, banking, consultancy, accountancy, the civil service and other public sector, fast moving consumer goods and retail.

Paper-based Assessments

Psychometric testing emerged in the early 20th century and generally focused on measuring intelligence. Everything from the instructions, test taking, scoring, norming and report writing were manual steps, not to mention the work involved in creating and validating an assessment without the assistance of technology or computers. While paper-based testing is still in use in some cases today, many of the steps are now a blend of manual and automated processes.

Online Revolution

Computer-based and online psychometric testing signalled a significant change during the past few decades and propelled assessments into the mainstream commercial setting. Considered to be a significant improvement on paper-based testing, computer and online testing helps ensure a standardised candidate experience and reduces the human error that can occur with paper-based testing. Furthermore, the wide availability of the internet has increased the popularity of online remote testing as a means of reaching candidates without the constraints of geographical location.

Personality Questionnaires

Measure an individual’s way of doing things, and specifically the way an individual interact with environment and other people.

These explore:

  • The way in which an individual perform things,
  • How an individual behave in certain circumstances,
  • An individual’s preferences and attitudes.

In recruitment they are often used to see if an individual would suit a particular work environment and can be used to assess aspects of an individual behaviour, attitudes and opinions, as well as their motivation, interests and values. The results may then be compared to the characteristics considered essential for the job on offer. They are usually paper-based questionnaires where a profile is drawn from the individual’s responses to a number of questions or statements, focussing on a variety of personality factors. For all types of personality questionnaires there are no right and wrong answers. The principle behind personality questionnaires is that it is possible to quantify one’s personality by asking about their feelings, thoughts and behavior.

These will look at areas such as:

  • Ways of thinking, feeling and acting in different situations;
  • Interpersonal style, conflict style, leadership style;
  • Patterns of coping with stress;
  • Interests – how much do an individual like carrying out various types of activities at work;
  • Motivations – the energy with which an individual approach his/her work and the different conditions which increase or decrease his/her motivation; and
  • Work values– what factors make work worthwhile for an individual.
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