majority of large employers now use a combination of aptitude tests and
personality questionnaires within their recruitment processes, reflecting the
value of a properly constructed and validated test. However, as the use of psychometrics becomes more widespread
there is also increasing danger of misuse. Roy Davis, head of communications at
SHL presents a top ten of typical mistakes.
‘I don’t know what I’m measuring’
Using a psychometric test might make your selection activities
look more credible and contemporary, but have you first identified the skills
and characteristics to be assessed?
‘This test will do’
With so many examples of well-constructed and validated
tests on the market (and some not so good examples), do your research carefully
and choose the most appropriate test.
‘Anyone can do the administration’
Unfortunately, untrained people often administer
tests. It might not seem that serious,
but a bad introduction can have a serious negative impact, and it contradicts
the principle of tests taking place in standardised conditions.
‘I know what it means – I’ll read the
My heart sinks every time I hear another tale of the
enthusiastic, but misguided amateur. I
expect that at one time or another each of you has had to deal with the
untrained manager who insists on interpreting the results themselves. You know the situation, they take a quick
look at the profile before coming to a mistaken conclusion!
‘Feedback is not important’
But it’s very important to the person who’s gone to the
trouble to do the test!
‘Don’t tell them why’
Explaining the purpose is essential. Getting your internal communications right,
particularly in today’s climate, will help avoid any suspicion that you have an
‘We’ll use the tests to decide who goes’
Let’s be clear – psychometrics are useful in predicting
future success in a role, but hiding behind tests when faced with difficult
redundancy decisions is not the answer.
‘Everyone’s been trained, so what’s the
But can you guarantee that access is limited to those with
the proper training?
‘There’s no need to interview’
On their own, psychometric instruments do not give the
whole answer, and must be used as part of a full process.
‘HR can’t do anything about it’
HR departments have a critical role to play in upholding
the highest standards. Don’t turn a
blind eye, and make sure that tests are used in the right way for the right
Davis is head of Communications at SHL