Qualities of a Reliable Psychometric Test

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

As is the case with any innovative product, users seek to secure one that renders the most optimal results without error. Picking a psychometric test should be no different.

However, for a business to be able to decide on the kind of test they wish to adopt for their hiring needs, it is necessary for managers to know how these tests work. Only then can they confidently identify the qualities that make such tests dependable and worth using.

Within labor and employment circles, psychometric tests are specific tools designed to measure a job applicant's suitability for a given role. The measurement is done through the examination of each applicant's mental abilities and aptitude.

Although aptitude tests have been around for decades, technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have allowed the tests to be more easily integrated and adopted as part of a company's recruitment software.

Job applications can now be pre-screened with the use of psychometric testing of applicants, with the unqualified candidates getting disqualified more quickly and easily.

However, even in the face of such welcome efficiency, companies still need to assure themselves that the product they pick is up to task. After all, no one wants to miss out on hiring highly talented workers in favor of incompetent ones.

Here are five qualities that every business owner should consider before adopting a psychometric test for their company.

1. Adaptability

 Naturally, the psychometric test you opt for should be capable of meeting your needs. To be more specific, its structure and inbuilt tools should be a nice fit in so far as vetting candidates according to your selection criteria is concerned.

For instance, take the case of a company that is out to hire one of its top brass; a high tier manager who will be charged with the making of impactful decisions. The pool of candidates who should make it to the interview stage should comprise intellectually endowed persons.

The most ideal psychometric test in such a scenario is one which can provide cognitive testing of the applicants.

Saville and Holdsworth Limited (SHL) tests are globally recognized for their thorough aptitude assessment tools which cover the candidate's cognitive capability among other factors.

2. Objective

Another vital characteristic is the impartiality of the psychometric test. 

That means that it should render unbiased consistent results. The final score should be free of subjective bias, meaning the test must operate without factoring in extraneous or irrelevant considerations.

One of the primary reasons companies opt to use the psychometric technology is to achieve an accurate selection of the most viable candidates out of dozens of applicants.

However, there have been instances where such tests were discovered to be biased against otherwise deserving class of candidates. Such undue bias has seen the management of some companies come under fire the moment the information goes public.

In story carried by Reuters in 2018, it was reported that Amazon's AI recruitment tool did 'not like women.' As a testament to this, the algorithm was established to have discriminated against female applicants to the company's machine learning specialists' position.

Since the position in question was male dominated, the AI had taught itself to 'perceive' women as less suitable.

While this may sound absurd, the e-commerce giant had to re-evaluate how its AI was designed to 'perceive' women. 

In view of such undesirable outcomes, reputable psychometric tests have determinate parameters under which they operate.

3. Valid

In view of the concerns raised above, the chosen test must therefore be valid, in that it must churn out results that fall within the predetermined parameters. 

The AI should not 'invent' its own criteria.

In order to safeguard against such an eventuality, the developers of the SHL testing methods are predominantly composed of a team of psychologists. 

Not only was the SHL test developed by an accomplished psychologist, but it is constantly upgraded and maintained with valuable input from several psychologists from all over the world. 

That ensures that it can accurately and thoroughly analyze the thinking and behavioral patterns of an applicant and make an apt judgment call based purely on the set mandate.

4. Reliable

To be useful to the recruiting organization, the psychometric test must be reliable or dependable. 

The hiring managers should be able to bank on it to deliver the most competent candidates for the interview stage.

Reliable tests are identified through the steadfastness of their scores. For instance, where an individual takes the same test more than once in a short span of time, the results should not be wildly divergent.

In such a scenario, a huge fluctuation in score might be an indicator of an unreliable test.

5. Normative

Lastly, reliable tests are those designed according to international standards.

That means they adhere to set guidelines and have particular benchmarks upon which a candidate's scores are based.

In other words, they have room for comparative analysis. That means that when interpreting the score, both the employer and prospective employee are able to distinguish between a poor score and a good one. 

The test has an established norm or pass mark against which all the candidates' scores are gauged.

Just as important as the score frame of reference, the test should have specified time frames for each of its examination tools. 

It is to be remembered that for applicants, these tests are sometimes useful in helping them determine their strengths and weaknesses while giving them an idea of what ideals the hiring organization has. 

Therefore, the more clear the test score and benchmarks are, the better.

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