Why some hiring managers find psychometric testing useful and others not?

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Some time ago, there was a survey on linkedin created by one of my contacts, Mr.Danish, asking respondents to cast their vote on a simple question “Does psychometric testing add value to the talent acquisition process?”  Total 282 people casted their vote and 38 shared their experience in form of comment. Though the survey is very small in terms of number of participants and nothing can be generalized on the basis of results of this survey; it, nevertheless, throws ‘important insights’ into why some hiring managers find it helpful to use psychometric tests in talent acquisition process  while others find it useless. This survey caught my attention as this is a subject close to my heart and here are some observations on the results and comments posted on the survey result page on linkedin.

Insight no. 1: Going by the democratic spirit, the mandate is “psychometric tests add value to talent acquisition process”. Majority of professionals (54%) find Psychometric Tests as a value add in hiring process while slightly more than a quarter of people find it ‘not a value add’ and 18% are not sure if it is a value add or not (fit for diplomatic jobs?). But come on, this is not ‘insight’ this is what is obvious from the survey result page and the purpose of this article is to ‘go deeper’ and ‘dig out some insights’ about those who say ‘yes’ and those who say ‘no’ to the question.

Insight no.2: Those who say that Psychometric assessments add value, majority of them are managers, VPs and CXO (unfortunately Linkedin doesn`t provide the exact numbers for this analysis, and therefore, it is based solely on my visual perception and discrimination ability with regard to the pie-charts displayed on the result page).

 Insight no.3: Majority of those who say that Psychometric Tests do not add value are non-managers (‘others’ in Linkedin terms). This is an interesting thing and this is what prompted me to read all 38 comments and find out what people are presenting ‘for’ and ‘against’ the practice of using psychometric assessments in recruitment. So, from here onwards, ‘classification and quantification of comments’.

 Insight no.4: The pattern of responses of those who say “yes, psychometric testing adds value to talent acquisition process” reveal that most of them were speaking out of their own experience as ‘psychometric test administrator’ or based on researches they referred while examining this question by themselves. Those who say “no, psychometric test does not add value to the talent acquisition process” were, on the other hand, either speaking from their own experience as ‘test taker’ (saying that ‘they were invited to take a psychometric test from some company and they found that they can easily manipulate the answers’) or referring to something they ‘heard’ about psychometric tests.

Insight no. 5: Almost half of those who voted ‘no’ in the poll, wrote in their comments that they are actually not against the idea of psychometric testing and its usefulness in HR. They, on the contrary, find it useful but they also find that most HR people who are using it are not really aware of what they are doing and therefore psychometric testing is not useful if it is used without proper training. Majority of ‘may be’ voters also endorsed these ideas.

Overall, it looks like that is all 3 categories of ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ voters, there were people who shared their personal experience of finding psychometric testing useful in talent acquisition process and most of them expressed the opinion that psychometric tests, sometimes, appears to be less or not effective (even backfire) because they are used by un-trained people and in improper manner.

What is your experience with Psychometric Testing?

The writer is assessment consultant at Lena Research and Consulting LLP.

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