Written By Tonmoy Shingal
Winning consistently in a depressed global market that is plagued by economic slowdown is possible only through top quality talent. It is only through the strength of your human capital can you consistently raise the bar for product and service excellence. Even the product discovery process powered by research and development requires high-quality talent that can come up with innovative goods and services.
In such a scenario, great care needs to be taken to ensure that only the best talent makes the grade and managers get a distilled resource to evaluate at their disposal. Psychometric tests are one way to filter out candidates and send double refined resources to the top management for final evaluation.
How psychometric tests work?
- The key to success in psychometric tests is maximising the scores while at the same time minimising the errors. These errors could be costly as there is progressive negative marketing that is being employed these days to rank candidates.
- Test takers have to create opportunities out of nowhere during the trial if they face perplexing problems. This situation is quite akin to the situation which managers face in the industry when they have to create opportunities out of nowhere.
- Most psychometric tests check your mathematical skills, which in turn tell examiners about your ability to think “out of the box”.
- Verbal reasoning tests your grammar skills and the ability to read and comprehend information accurately.
- Non-verbal reasoning modules in psychometric tests are used to detect whether you can identify patterns and discrepancies within a set of data.
Pretenders vs. performers / Workers vs. shirkers
Intelligence and aptitude are some of the traits that usually come through in an oral interview. But individual candidates do a good job of pretending that they are good enough for the job and usually manage to bypass verbal selection processes. Such candidates who are usually shirkers on the job damage the chances of workers and star performers.
Catching talent outside college campuses
Though professional colleges offer outstanding talent, there are certainly hidden gems who are educated, competent professionals who have the intellectual horsepower to shake up the industry but do not have the pedigree of a good college. They are usually high on work experience, and psychometric testing helps bring these hidden gems on the board.
Determining competencies for informed decision-making
- Speed matters a lot in recruitment, and it’s all about casting your net wider and going around hunting for talent across geographies to build a strong a managerial cadre in a transnational corporation.
- Those who score high on these psychometric tests can be made to lead teams of resources which have similar scores but much lower than the top scorers. Though everyone needs to be above a certain cut-off but in some cases, the disposition of the candidate and his physical and mental condition can also affect his candidature.
- The test is just there to inform the managers about a test taker’s performance. The scorers can be ignored if the candidate has excellent soft skills.
- The total of all these psychometric tests is to check the cognitive abilities of the student which otherwise cannot be measured through face to face interaction.
The intellectual demands of the job which needs to be met by every candidate and whether any candidate is not up to the mark are measured by these tests. Such tests are often followed by group discussion tests which check whether or not you can work in a team cohesively and can express your viewpoints without being abrasive.
Fortune 500 companies are using it aggressively
Over 80% of the businesses on the Fortune 500 list in the USA and 75% of enterprises in the Times 100 list of UK are using psychometric tests to screen out candidates and hire only the best ones for the job. There is an increasing focus on checking the honesty and integrity of the candidates through stress tests that are even used for internal promotions.
Variants of psychometric tests
- Fault Diagnosis: Usually administered during tests for selecting technical personnel, it is indispensable for functions where technical skills are foremost.
- Spatial ability tests: Specific jobs requiring good spatial skills and capacity to manipulate and interpret diagrams on two-dimensional surfaces are called as spatial ability tests.
- Mechanical reasoning: Again a proof offered to technically skilled personnel for recruitment into the engineering cadre in most public and private sector organisations.
- Abstract thinking: Often given as a test for recruiting candidates into the managerial cadre where a strong module of training is there at the start to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
- Data Checking: Editorial, data entry, and other similar jobs in public and private do require candidates to undergo such tests.
Work sample: This one tests an applicant’s interest, motivation and sincerity towards a given job rather than technical skills per se. If a candidate can offer a free customised sample, then it means he has respect for the time and energy spent by the recruiter and would be willing to go two steps extra and work in tandem with the requirements of the company.
Freelance professionals, consultants who are not employed on a full-time basis or employed on contracts for a limited time, are often tested via this route.
Of late, this method has gained sanctity over all other methods and is being increasingly used not just in technology, social media but any industry where work sample can be prepared at home and sent to the recruiter via the internet. Managerial and team lead positions in the digital, mobile apps, software development, online reputation management, graphic designing are increasingly being filled through this route.
All in all, it can be said that psychometric tests are here to stay but they cannot be forced on a candidate, and prior consent of the candidate is required for these to be administered. Most candidates are quite interested in displaying their skills and in a tight job market, the better your performance in these tests, the less stressful is the interview as the manager is already half convinced about your abilities.