HR PERSPECTIVE: Understanding importance of psychometric tests

HR PERSPECTIVE: Understanding importance of psychometric tests

Psychometric tests allow you to measure and analyse specific information that may otherwise be very difficult, or time consuming to accurately gauge.

PSYCHOMETRIC tests are fast gaining popularity as the tool of choice for various uses such as recruitment and selection, staff development and team development. Many organisations are now opting for psychometric tests as they have realised that they are a powerful way of ensuring the best candidates are selected by assessing their ability and preferred behavioural styles. Organisations can use these tests for career planning and matching employees to jobs, identifying academic abilities and aims and aspirations covering work and life outside work.
Psychometric tests aim to measure attributes such as intelligence, aptitude and personality. In recruitment they are used (in conjunction with other methods) to help determine how a candidate might perform in a given role. With the current situation in our country where, if a vacancy comes up, hundreds of people apply for it, psychometric testing can be a very effective tool in the selection process to determine the most suitable candidate. Given that the majority of managers regret their hiring decisions almost immediately, not forgetting the cost of recruitment, it makes sense to make sure you get it right from the onset. Psychometric testing improves the efficiency of the recruitment process, thereby reducing the time and money spent on unsuitable candidates.
The main purpose and key responsibilities of a role need to be considered, and there is a need to separate the desirable, essential and peripheral skills/attributes before committing to psychometric testing. After this you can then determine which psychometric tools to use. Psychometric tests allow you to measure and analyse specific information that may otherwise be very difficult, or time consuming to accurately gauge.
There are various tools which can be used, not only in recruitment, but in the retention and development of staff as well.
For example, personality or behavioural profiling can be used to gain an insight into particular traits, areas of strength, weakness, work style and preference. We all know the saying, “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”
If you understand how individual employees might respond to different situations, you can adapt your style to bring out the best in your staff. This can all be achieved through the use of psychometric testing.
Psychometric tests can be used in profiling for internal promotions or re-organising work flow. By reallocating tasks amongst staff members to suit their abilities and preferences, you can increase job satisfaction and organisational efficiencies. When everyone is put in a position where they are able to fully utilise their natural abilities, there is a higher chance of them being more productive as well.
Overall, psychometric tests can be used to the employees’ and the organisation’s benefit. The expenses involved in psychometric assessment are minimal when compared with the costs of high-turnover, under-performance or mis-employment of staff.
Both parties stand to gain, depending on the objective of the tests. The organisation will benefit by getting the best skill to fulfil its need, thereby guaranteeing longevity and sustainability. The employee will benefit by being placed in a department, or being given work, which best suits his profile. This results in a win-win situation.
Memory Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 2356 361 or e-mail: or visit our website at

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