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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    NSW
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    65

    Default psychometric and aptitude testing

    Hi all

    What are your thoughts about companies who as part of the recruitment process undergo psychometric and or aptitude testing AFTER applicants have agreed to an interview?

    Personally I think (I'm sure there is some law against not disclosing it) that it should be made known upfront in the recruitment advertisement or at least if they do a phone interview first. The other issue is who is interpreting these results, are they qualified to do so and what are they doing with those results!

    Having seen some of these tests as a HR Manager I am also aware that some of them actually state "Do not employ" on them. Surely this opens up a can of worms as candidates are legally entitled to ask for a copy and or the results?
    Last edited by admin; 14-11-2012 at 05:44 PM. Reason: This thread has been moved from the "About HR Buzz" forum

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    192

    Default Psychometric & Aptitude Testing

    The use of psychometric and aptitude testing is a very common part of many organizations' recruitment process.

    When organizations advertise vacancies, it goes without saying that only a select few will be interviewed. So at the time a candidate is contacted that they have been short listed for a first interview, is the time they should be informed of the company's selection process - this may include a couple of interviews (the first may even be by phone and three interviews is not uncommon these days), a pre-employment medical, police (and qualification) check, reference checks and the above testing if this is what their process entails.

    It goes without saying that those organizations who do use psychometric testing would be using a reputable, proven provider. Testing results are generally not available to the candidate - unless the candidate is prepared to pay for this. The testing results are based on the tests plus the requirements of the company's job. So there is no 'failure' per se, rather that the candidate may not be the right match for the organization and the job. So, personally, I'd not be releasing test results unless there was a trained professional (in the testing) to provide the feedback in the context it was taken and this costs money - hence expecation that if the candidate wants the results, he/she pays for them.

    And to other point of your question, advertisements should be succinct and long winded ads can turn off a candidate not to mention the more you include, the most costly it becomes. If you were going to mention this testing is part of your process, you would need to include the whole process and that, frankly, would be a bit extreme don't you think?

    Tiger
    Last edited by Tiger; 15-11-2012 at 09:40 AM. Reason: typo + I thought of additional comment

  3. #3

    Default

    My thoughts, to put it bluntly, is psychometric testing is a load of nonsense. And in the situation you stated about the candidate being marked "do not employ" then if I was their Industrial Representative I'd have a field day with that.....

    Aptitude testing has merits as part of forming a view as to whether the individual has the skills to perform the role. However claiming that psychometric testing can paint a clear picture of whether or not the person is a good fit for the organisation or the job I liken to the latest dance craze attraction to Gangnam style. The craze will soon die off......It is nothing more than an arbitrary decision based on formulas etc.

    Before such tests employers were forced to interview candidates perhaps 2, maybe 3 times before making a decision, or they hired them on the first round and worked with them. So how did employers ever recruit or function properly without psyche evaluations?....Just ask the companies who have had the same productive and valued employers for the past 15-20 years......

    I have no doubt my comment will be challenged and thats fine, but my advice is ditch the testing, don't take short cuts, put some more time into it and do recruitment the old fashioned way. Purely my thoughts of course.........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    452

    Default

    This is a topic that often polarizes people.

    Personally I don't think it's a craze that will pass, after all it's been around for a long time already, 20+ years that I am aware.

    I don't think we're going to see it disappear any time soon, because there will always be companies who would rather use third party "tools" than investing in the development of a rigorous recruitment methodology and the training of line managers in interviewing techniques.

    Over my many years in recruitment I've seen some of my customers use "testing" to varying degrees and in some cases I thought it was quite useful and in other cases quite foolish.

    I've seen testing used effectively to help make a decision at the last stage of the recruitment process, by identifying certain specific strengths or weaknesses. For example testing numerical reasoning which is not easy to explore thoroughly in a typical behavioural interview.

    I've also seen testing used very unwisely at the very first stage of the recruitment process which resulted in the customer "throwing the baby out with the bathwater", so to speak!

    Most of my recruitment experience has been in the technology and science fields and over the years I've been fortunate to work closely with a few companies who are truly world leaders in their field. They achieved that position by hiring great people, lots of them, and although the different company cultures varied, one common characteristic was their uncompromising approach to recruitment, yet none of them used any form of psychometric testing tools.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    NSW
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    65

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Qld IR Consultant View Post
    My thoughts, to put it bluntly, is psychometric testing is a load of nonsense. And in the situation you stated about the candidate being marked "do not employ" then if I was their Industrial Representative I'd have a field day with that.....

    Aptitude testing has merits as part of forming a view as to whether the individual has the skills to perform the role. However claiming that psychometric testing can paint a clear picture of whether or not the person is a good fit for the organisation or the job I liken to the latest dance craze attraction to Gangnam style. The craze will soon die off......It is nothing more than an arbitrary decision based on formulas etc.

    Before such tests employers were forced to interview candidates perhaps 2, maybe 3 times before making a decision, or they hired them on the first round and worked with them. So how did employers ever recruit or function properly without psyche evaluations?....Just ask the companies who have had the same productive and valued employers for the past 15-20 years......

    I have no doubt my comment will be challenged and thats fine, but my advice is ditch the testing, don't take short cuts, put some more time into it and do recruitment the old fashioned way. Purely my thoughts of course.........
    I tend to agree with you - isn't that what a Probationary is for? To assess a candidate based on the requirements of the role and whether they are able to perform it?

    What worries me is the company I am currently working for is adamant that they want to use it because they have been using it well before I started working there. I am not comfortable to even try and analyse the results and that basically leaves only my boss who is the MD - not a good idea!

    I believe in thorough interview techniques and reference checks and ensuring that the probationary period is closely Monitored so if any issues arise they can be dealt with in a fair and consistent way.

    As for the aptitude testing part of it - it almost likens itself to the way a secretary used to be tested for their typing speed a hundred years ago! I am all for ensuring that the person is able to perform the requirements of the role but this type of testing they are looking at is ridiculous.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    65

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    The use of psychometric and aptitude testing is a very common part of many organizations' recruitment process.

    When organizations advertise vacancies, it goes without saying that only a select few will be interviewed. So at the time a candidate is contacted that they have been short listed for a first interview, is the time they should be informed of the company's selection process - this may include a couple of interviews (the first may even be by phone and three interviews is not uncommon these days), a pre-employment medical, police (and qualification) check, reference checks and the above testing if this is what their process entails.

    It goes without saying that those organizations who do use psychometric testing would be using a reputable, proven provider. Testing results are generally not available to the candidate - unless the candidate is prepared to pay for this. The testing results are based on the tests plus the requirements of the company's job. So there is no 'failure' per se, rather that the candidate may not be the right match for the organization and the job. So, personally, I'd not be releasing test results unless there was a trained professional (in the testing) to provide the feedback in the context it was taken and this costs money - hence expecation that if the candidate wants the results, he/she pays for them.

    And to other point of your question, advertisements should be succinct and long winded ads can turn off a candidate not to mention the more you include, the most costly it becomes. If you were going to mention this testing is part of your process, you would need to include the whole process and that, frankly, would be a bit extreme don't you think?

    Tiger
    Hi Tiger

    I agree if a company uses them then a qualified professional should be interpreting the results. Unfortunately I am expected to analyse these results as it is a test that was bought from a provider a while ago. I am not comfortable doing this and the role is a senior level role.

    As for the advertisement of such I have seen in some recruitment ads companies put something like "psychometric and or aptitude testing will form part of the recruitment process" and they have a number where prospective candidates can ring to find out more. Surely this cannot be any worse than those companies who make you fill out a 10 page application form which asks you for your details from the last 50 or so jobs you had which is on your CV anyway?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    192

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleAnita View Post
    Hi Tiger

    I agree if a company uses them then a qualified professional should be interpreting the results. Unfortunately I am expected to analyse these results as it is a test that was bought from a provider a while ago. I am not comfortable doing this and the role is a senior level role.

    This is wrong and in your shoes I'd refuse to do it on the basis I'm not qualified to make those assessments.

    As for the advertisement of such I have seen in some recruitment ads companies put something like "psychometric and or aptitude testing will form part of the recruitment process" and they have a number where prospective candidates can ring to find out more. Surely this cannot be any worse than those companies who make you fill out a 10 page application form which asks you for your details from the last 50 or so jobs you had which is on your CV anyway?
    You have a point and those 10 page application forms are a whole other story!

    Sounds to me like you need to take charge of your situation and influence a change in your processes. If you feel strongly about something, put a case together (perhaps with an alternative proposition) and make a difference. You have nothing to lose. Sometimes organizations carry on with policy and processes because they are not aware there may be something better out there.

    Good luck

    Tiger

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Newcastle, NSW
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Picking up on a few areas of the discussion, I'd make the following observations and points namely;

    1. There is clear empirical evidence in support of properly designed and implemented "job relevant" psychometric testing adding incremental validity to the selection process together with sound and material correlations between cognitive ability and employee performance (particularly in the more intellectually demanding roles) hence their widespread use and general acceptance in the market; this is not a new phenomenon, fad or the like.

    2. If an organisation is to take full advantage of psychometrics, ideally they should have access to an in-house qualified psych or similar or alternatively outsource this function to a provider who has the necessary competence required for both accurate test selection based on job competencies (amongst other factors) and interpretation of results. This is no different to other outsourcing arrangements of, for example, complex financial, legal and IT issues particularly for organisations with limited in-house capability.

    3. Many full service psych assessment providers offer candidates feedback (at least verbal) on their results regardless of the outcome at no cost to the candidate - this seems to be a reasonable quid quo pro for their time and investment in the psych process and relieves the organisation of this often tricky area. Emphasis is placed on contextual development of the individual.

    4. In my experience, the psych assessment is not used as a cop out, proxy for additional due diligence, or anything of the sort by HR in relying excessively on the results as the final determinant of candidate selection. It's simply one of the tools available that offers incremental validity of selecting "best fit" employees; most HR Managers are well across this allowing for balance and perspective of what the psych offers (including its benefits and limitations).

    4. A "don't hire" recommendation or similar on a psych report seems very simplistic and reductionist to say the least. This is unlikely to be constructive as a way of furthering understanding of an employee's overall suitability or otherwise for a position.

    5. I agree with Tiger that by providing an alternative to the MD regarding how the psych is currently managed, this is both professionally wise and, with the right advice, is likely to increase the selection effectiveness and ROI. It should also bring some peace of mind.

  9. #9

    Default

    Interesting discussion! Some of us can remember that psych testing for recruitment has been around for more than 40 years. That's by the by. When looking at recruitment I like to review the "win-loss" record. As a rule of thumb, lets say an employee should stay 2.5 years and be rated as competent in their job to be considered a successful hire. You can use whatever parameters you think are ok for your organisation. It is then worth looking at the recruitment processes used, managers etc to see who has the better recruitment record. Used wisely this information can be very effective in influencing management opinions and helping to change HR processes. It is especially powerful when you link it to the cost of each hire - even if you say each hire costs the equivalent of the person's annual salary. Many in the literature say the cost is much higher but you don't want to quote a figure that management will not believe. Link the staff turnover to the cost of hire and the successful hire rate and often there is a powerful economic argument for improving many of the HR processes including recruitment, on-boarding, performance management etc. Hasten slowly when raising these issues, you do not want to be seen as the problem and find yourself looking for another role.

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