Psychometric testing increasingly used in pre-employment screening

Pyschometric testing is on the increase, according to findings from research by Personnel Today’s paid-for sister service XpertHR.

The survey of 90 employers – covering a combined workforce of almost 420,000 ­people – indicated that in areas of HR management where psychometric testing is already well-established its use has been growing over the past three years.

More than half of the respondents have either increased their use of psychometric testing in the recruitment and selection process (44%) or introduced it (14%) during this period. Nineteen per cent have increased the use of psychometric testing for training and development, while 9% have started using them.

The tests are widely used in HR management, with an estimated 50% of employers using some form of psychometric testing in their recruitment processes. And the ability to provide objective, consistent measures of individuals’ knowledge, skills and attitudes means such tests can also be used to improve other HR-related activities, such as training and performance assessment.

Applicants for managerial, graduate and professional vacancies are the most likely to be tested by employers, and the most commonly used pyschometric selection tests focus on personality, attitudes and behaviours. While 85% of employers are likely to use the test results for recruitment and selection as one of several sources of information, 57% use them to inform interview questions, and 45% to provide a threshold or benchmark for shortlisting.

Most employers tend to follow good practice inthis area, but only 16% have developed a meaningful policy governing the administration of such tests, how the results should be used, the safe storage of completed tests, and the provision of feedback to the participants. And one in three does not actively investigate their potential impact on their equal opportunities status.

Most employers would like to improve their use of psychmetric testing, primarily by using the results to better effect, and investigating their contribution to organisational effectiveness.

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