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Pyschometric Testing > The How's and Why's

The How's and Why's

What Is It?

Psychological testing (often referred to as Psychometric testing) provides an efficient means of measuring both the abilities, plus the kind of personality a person has. Testing is ordinarily conducted in a supervised environment and certain kinds of testing are timed. Ability is related to our IQ and as such, is affected by our verbal (language) and computation (mathematical) skills. Both these components are affected by the speed at which we process information. However, ability as measured by psychological tests, is a poor predictor in and of itself, of a person's aptitude for a job/position. This is because we need other attributes (personality factors) in order to apply such abilities. Personality factors include our attitudes, values and beliefs etc. that cluster together and determine how we commonly act in given social, challenging or boring situations etc. Beyond certain thresholds of ability, it is the personality factors which often 'make or break' a person's success and longevity in a particular job/position. So effective testing uses a mix of tests to assess both abilities and personality.

How Does Testing Work?

Putting together groups of tests (a battery) for use in comparing various applicants according to how well they match the job/position requirements involves a systematic process based on the following:-

  1. The use of reliable tests, ie tests that come up with the same scores for the same person on different test occasions. Reliability is therefore a necessary (though not sufficient) factor for any test used.
  2. The use of valid tests; ie tests that measure exactly what they claim to measure is also critical. Just as a pressure gauge is not helpful in measuring engine RPM; so too, a test that claims to measure 'critical thinking' will hardly be helpful if its actually measuring, say 'attitude towards authority'.
  3. A clear understanding of the range of attributes (ie abilities and personality)of the kind of person that performs well in the job/position is absolutely vital. Experience has demonstrated the traps in simply assuming what these attributes are, rather than jointly clarifying the correct profile of attributes required.

How Does Testing Fit Into Your Current Selection Processes?

In order to maximise the possibility of identifying the best candidate/s for appointment, it is critical that testing be considered as part of an overall recruitment and selection process. This is necessary to avoid testing, being either under or over weighted in the final selection decision-making. Typical issues in this regard are:-

  1. That advertising and marketing initiatives employed to initially attract applicants, be targeted and maintain minimum standards of integrity. Simply casting the net wider in the form of a generic or at worst, misleading invitation for applicants, simply invites later difficulties for all concerned.
  2. Conversely, trying to provide too much information at point of interest can also result in possible candidates making pre-emptive and ill-informed judgements about job suitability.
  3. The use of selected interview panels of experienced individuals is necessary. Further, the use of structured interview formats that allow for the appropriate weighting of reality-based selection criteria remains an important part of the selection judgement by reducing interviewer biases.
  4. Critically, the integration of interview and testing outcomes with particular emphasis on the value-added capacity of testing to provide information about personality factors has been found critical. In the absence of objective testing, interviewer bias invariably occurs as a result of how well (or not well) the person performed during interview. Interview behaviour is a demonstrably inadequate predictor of on-the-job performance.
  5. The thorough scrutiny of past work histories and reference checking with particular focus on the feedback by immediate supervisors, colleagues and (if possible) subordinates, will often provide further confidence prior to final appointment decisions.

What Are The Benefits of Commissioning PBI?

  • PBI principals have extensive experience in psychometric testing, for a wide range of organisations and organisational needs.
  • PBI has a strong commitment to effective utilisation of psychometric testing within an organisation's existing recruitment and selection processes.
  • PBI personnel make themselves available for critical post-testing consultations to enhance final decisions regarding staff appointments.
  • PBI has necessary experience, resources and infrastructure to enable efficient turn-around times for test results.
  • PBI's pricing policy provides value-for-money services at highly competitive prices.
  • PBI is an ethical business that is committed to professional and pro-social values (see Operational Values Statement).

PBI - Operational Values Statement

PBI has adopted the following values and operating principles for all its services.

  • To operate at the highest level of professional standards in all areas of operations including marketing, service negotiations, intervention design, service delivery, evaluation and reporting.
  • To provide service delivery that is primarily tailored, targeted and based on valid diagnostic and design approaches.
  • To operate within the ethical and established constraints of both organisational and individual confidentiality to provide balanced and measurable outcomes.
    To provide a focus on proactive; pre-emptive and preventative approaches wherever possible to assist individuals and organisations.
  • To provide an holistic, multi-disciplinary and integrated service based on a clear duty-of-care for organisation and individual needs.