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Psychometric testing . . Is it really what it's cracked up to be?


I recently applied for a position as MARKETING COORDINATOR for a company I admired and respected within the outdoor leisure industry, only to receive a "Congratulations! Your application for the position of Marketing Coordinator has progressed to the next stage of our recruitment process which involves completing a Psychometric Assessment."

This was obviously an automated response, as a college and friend had exactly the same for a completely different role she applied for within the same company (we discovered over a glass of wine a week later).

So - Being proactive I responded with the text below, some of which I discovered though researching the benefits (or not) of this form of "interviewing" . . .

Really??

Psychometric test??

If that's how you really assess the value of your employees (& me), is it really a company I want to work for?

I have been a passionate outdoors person and marketer for many years, within the outdoor adventure sports, hospitality, tourism, wine and food sectors - The role I applied for was indeed within this industry.

I don't know specifically which test you have set, as it does not really seem to relate to the role I have applied for (I did do part of it).

I am not a fan of psychometric testing. Granted, it has its uses in specific situations. For example, when a company wants to check that the person they are considering for a job has the right level of skills in a certain area or has the personality and intelligence to meet the demands of the job or the culture of the organisation. It can also be useful to give a young person a general sense of career direction, since they have little other information about their skills and career needs to go on.

But some career professionals use psychometric testing as a default, basing all subsequent assessments on the results of the test, and I take offence to this approach.

Psychometric testing is a very broad brush approach to understanding the specific traits and skills of very complex human beings. Many career decisions are based on which company one should work in, rather than what career they should follow.

I do not know of any psychometric test in the world that can discriminate between one company and another, the predictive ability of psychometric tests is very limited.

"The only exception to my dislike of psycho-metrics, is those assessments, such as a Myers Briggs Indicator, which purport to show learning styles or personality types. I do feel that their value is limited, but there are occasions when they can be useful for self understanding."

For me, I challenge you - What do you hope to achieve from the test and how the questions that you ask are likely to result in the conclusions that I be suitable, or not, for this role? I doubt you will be able to give a satisfactory answer, as you seem intent on putting round pegs in square holes.

In all I have had first hand experience that this form of assessment (with <name of an employer I previously worked for> to name but one) is unworthy and dispute the that interviews can be substituted for a tick in a box, because you cannot underestimate the gut instinct of an interviewer or interviewee. We are all a product of our environment and can be influenced by all sorts of factors, our brains after all, are very complex devices and assuming a person or situation is, in just a fraction of a second, who that person is?

Do you really want to rely on something as impersonal as psycho-metrics to tell you, as an employer that this person is not a fit for your organisation? Though I don’t completely discredit psycho-metrics, but a problem certainly exists when you use it in isolation, which is exactly what you as a recruiter are doing in this instance.

Kind regards

Vicki McKenzie

I received yet another automated response sent . . .

Out of Office: Psychometric Assessment - <Company Name> <Persons name & title> to me

"Thank you for your email. I am currently on annual leave and will return on Wednesday 14 September. If your matter is urgent please contact <alternative person> on the details below: Email: <alternative persons contact details> Kind regards, <absent person> Specialist Recruitment Advisor <Company name>

Is this really how business is targeting valued, competitive and loyal employees nowadays?

I would love to hear some feedback on this issue.

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