Imagine this: You’re filling a high level management role for a small manufacturing business. The ideal candidate will need to have an engineering background, business knowledge of the industry, and solid management experience. On paper, you’ve got five candidates who look promising. You’ve checked out their social media profiles, spoken with a reference or two and had the first of two face to face interviews with each of them. What’s missing?
The hardest part of finding the right person for an important role, in a smaller organization in particular, is fit. It’s not about the hard skills. You can measure those on paper. It’s the soft skills, or possible lack of them, that aren’t always obvious. How will ‘candidate A’ handle the rapidly changing environment considering their previous roles were with very large, slower moving organizations? How will ‘candidate B’ manage with the stressful production cycles given that their past roles were less deadline-focused? These are the kinds of questions that psychometric testing can help to answer.
What is psychometric testing?
Psychometric testing is composed of standardized scientific method testing to measure the abilities, mental capabilities and behavioural traits of a candidate. The personality characteristics and abilities of the candidate are set against the requirements of the role, to see how closely they match, in an objective way.
What kind of specific behaviours can psychometric testing uncover?
Essentially, psychometric testing helps the recruiter or hiring manager to find the ‘hidden’ attributes, qualities, characteristics, and even flaws a candidate may have. Aspects of a candidate’s personality and work style that aren’t immediately observable can be tested. Even in situations where observations can be made of a person’s behaviour, there is always the risk of bias, so psychometric testing provides more objective results.
Areas of psychometric testing:
- Testing for interests, values and motivation in behaviour.
- Testing for personality and behavioural styles—how the person will engage in a certain task and how they will interact with their environment and other people.
- Testing for aptitudes—evaluating a candidate’s ability in softer skills areas that are not as easily quantifiable as hard skills.
Resume reviews and interviews often won’t give a recruiter or hiring manager the necessary insight into these behavioural preferences but it’s often these skills, or lack thereof, that contribute to why a candidate that looks good on paper doesn’t end up working out.
Why wouldn't you want to use psychometric testing as part of your hiring process?
It’s not really a question of whether you should use it but rather a matter of ensuring that you don’t over-rely on the results. Psychometric testing is available to experienced recruiters so that they can fill in the blanks when it comes to a candidate’s skill set. It does not eliminate the need for careful vetting and interviewing processes.
Psychometric testing is just one tool in an extensive arsenal available to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and skills. Recruiters who use it will give their clients important insight into the long term potential of a candidate.
What is the gold standard in psychometric testing?
The Attentional and Interpersonal Style Inventory—TAIS—psychometric testing system is used the world over and for different leadership and high performance roles in areas like business, sports and the military. The essential element of this system is to evaluate a candidate’s psychological traits relative to the performance demands of the environment they will have to work within.
Traits such as: Focus, ability to maintain personal control over emotions, ability to work within a specific team and environment, and managing culture and pressure.
Talk to a David Aplin Group Consultant to find out how you can use psychometric testing for your next important hire to ensure that you go beyond the resume to find the right candidate. With us, you benefit from a model of specialization in multiple professional areas, including testing, all under one roof.
David Aplin Group is a private family and employee owned Canadian staffing agency founded in Alberta in 1975, recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished recruiting firms. Our mission is to positively impact lives. Blog author, Jay Edwards, is Aplin's VP of Business Development based in Calgary.