E3Round UP – Psychometric assessments for business
Informed Assessment Ltd Cofounder and Director Stewart Wright gives an overview of recent developments in psychometric assessments and where technology is taking these useful organisational tools.
Many of us will be familiar with or have experienced psychometric assessments, often as candidates. Personality assessment, verbal and numerical tests continue to be widely-used, and, if anything, their usage has grown as the war for talent has intensified.
The term psychometric simply means ‘measurement of the mind’. The leading psychometric assessment exercise publishers invest large sums in ensuring that these exercises meet the highest standards of reliability and validity.
Think about the speedometer in your car – if you are travelling at 30mph, you want the speedometer to be indicating a speed as close as possible to 30mph (there will always be some margin of error), but not bouncing around erratically between 20 and 40mph. This is called reliability, and test scores for candidates need to be reliable and consistent like this. You also want the speedometer to be telling you about the speed of the car, and not telling you about something else, such as the engine temperature or the engine revs. This is called validity, and test scores need to be giving you relevant information as well as accurate information about a participant’s style or abilities.
In recent years, advances in new technology has meant that exercise publishers can more easily identify statistical relationships between exercise results and actual on-the-job performance. Personality questionnaires in particular have made use of this, moving from descriptive tools of what someone’s personality style is like, to predictive measures of how likely that person is to demonstrate work-based behavioural competencies These can even be extended into certain occupational competencies relating to areas such as sales attributes.
This means that, for selection, areas to explore in an interview can be better-targeted; and, for personal and team development, performance-based strengths and blind-spots can be accurately identified and can help to inform targeted development strategies.
Tests are no longer limited to exploring verbal and numerical abilities. For example, a new generation of situational judgment exercises have been developed which explore managerial and leadership effectiveness. These exercises use ‘what would you do if’ type questions to explore how a participant might handle or respond to particular situations.
These are invaluable for both recruitment and development of staff; for benchmarking internal candidates against external applicants; and are particularly useful for assessing someone’s potential for a first-time move or promotion into a team leader, manager, or executive position.
Some test publishers are starting to introduce avatars and advanced graphics into their situational judgment exercises, rather than paragraphs describing the situation.
Some ability test publishers are starting to use adaptive technology which adjusts the difficulty of test questions as the exercise progresses, depending upon the pattern of the participant’s responses.
And, regardless of the exercise type, exercise publishers are working hard at making their exercises as accessible as possible on the wide range of portable devices and platforms that people use in their daily lives, while ensuring that high historic standards of quality are maintained.