Testing human capability is an ancient human phenomenon, in olden days people were required to take examinations and tests in order to obtain prized occupations which involved the need to be competent in areas like physical prowess, fiscal policies, revenue, agriculture. Psychometric assessments are a relatively newer method of scientifically measuring and assessing individuals’ mental capabilities, personality traits and behavioral style.
The tests developed in olden days were not that easy, they were just not a test of skill and intelligence, but also endurance. It can be said that tests administered on people then was to push them to their maximum limits.
The modern psychometric roll out has its roots in France in the 19th century and it was devised to allow physicians to identify and separate patients with mental deficiencies and those experiencing mental illness.
With years of research, the industry of psychometrics has evolved into distinct buckets known to us as aptitude tests, ability tests, personality tests. These tests or assessments are designed to measure a candidate’s suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude. These tools are constructed to solicit answers in an objective and unbiased manner. These tools are used in multiple scenarios.
Psychometric assessments are generally used in:
- Recruitment and Selection – To select the best fit out of the talent pool. Psychometric assessments objectively assess the fitment of the candidate for a specific job role.
- Predicting Candidate’s Performance – Psychometrics are reliable in predicting the performance and giving an accurate evaluation of the applicants for a particular role.
- Evaluate Work Capacity – They can also be administered to determine one’s capacity to work with others, process information and cope with the stresses of the job.
- Career Guidance – Psychometric assessments are best used to help individuals make informed career decisions based on their areas of interest and capability.
- Coaching – For individuals to understand their strengths and developmental areas in order to facilitate growth.
- Succession Planning – Can be used to know how future ready the next-in-line team is.
- Assessment Centers – Psychometric tests can be used as part of a multiple assessment process where a number of candidates are brought together with a team of assessors to explore their suitability or development for succession or promotion
Having said that, the world of psychometric assessments is filled with invalid questionnaires. It is not a cakewalk to distinguish between authentic tests from the invalid ones. It requires the expertise of the trained psychometricians. It often happens that these tests are being deployed by people that aren’t trained well to use them. Personality tests and instruments require experience to ensure they are used in the right manner and provide maximum benefit to the organization.
Many job seekers fail to offer their best during the test thanks to nervousness or undue pressure due to time limitation. Psychometric assessments sometimes don’t consider certain factors like cultural background or language barriers, which can cause valuable talent to be overlooked.
The considerations of validity and reliability typically are viewed as essential elements for determining the quality of any test. It is essential to administer the test on the audience who fairly understands the need and the de-brief is to be done by a trained professional.