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Where knowledge becomes rapidly outdated and competitive advantage depends on the ability to innovate and communicate, being able to select people with the right attributes - rather than the right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.