Europe remains resistant to wide use of psychometric testing

Psychometric
testing in recruitment and selection remains relatively uncommon.

Only
16 per cent of UK organisations employ psychometric tests in most selection
decisions. And 50 per cent of UK organisations never or only rarely involve them.
Across Europe, those organisations using psychometric tests for only a few
appointments, if at all, outnumber frequent users by at least two to one. Large
employers are only slightly more likely to use tests than smaller ones.

During
the last decade there has been a proliferation of new psychometric tests. Even
if good practice recommendations would frown on over-reliance on psychometric
testing in selection, psychometric testing in combination with other selection
methods has been shown to have greater validity as a selection tool than a
reliance on more conventional approaches.

Where
knowledge becomes rapidly outdated and competitive advantage depends on the
ability to innovate and communicate, being able to select people with the right
attributes – rather than the right skills – becomes more important. Yet
barriers to the widespread use of tests remain.

Germany
leads in the resistance against testing. Nine out of 10 employers never or
rarely make use of psychometric testing. Part of the explanation lies in the
German employment statute which allows job applicants to challenge test results
in court. More importantly, it reflects high levels of suspicion towards
testing. Particularly at more senior appointment levels, many applicants feel
that such techniques simply are not appropriate or legitimate. Attitudes seem
to have softened during the past few years.

But
one country runs against the general trend – Spain. Here, most organisations
use psychometric testing. This might reflect the rapid modernisation of the
Spanish economy since the death of Franco in the late 1970s.

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