It’s safe to say, with more combined years of experience in the business psychology world than we care to admit, we’ve been at this a pretty long time.
And over the years we’ve come across our fair share of objections to using psychometric tests in businesses, large and small. From the basics of ‘what even is a psychometric test?’ (hint: read this and you’ll be an expert) to the more complex, ‘how can we justify investing in psychometrics in an economic downturn?’ - we’ve heard it all.
But there are three things that crop up time and time again. So, let’s take a look at them - and bust those myths!
This might be the biggest objection we come across. Because, let’s face it, what’s the point in investing in psychometrics if they give you results that you can’t actually rely on?!
The reliability of psychometric tests is a big topic. There are some psychometrics out there that aren’t reliable. They’re not well-researched, they’re not well-tested, they don’t have reliability and validity data that you can rely on.
But there are also plenty of psychometric tests out there (including every single one we use here at KinchLyons) that are reliable, fair, valid and incredibly useful.
One of the most convincing data points when it comes to the reliability of psychometric tests is something called ‘test-retest reliability’ - basically, how consistent the results of a psychometric test are when repeated on the same person at a different point in time. If test-retest data shows a huge discrepancy between the test scores of the same person, that’s a sign the test isn’t particularly reliable. But if the test-retest data shows very little change in the scores, that’s a sign that the psychometric test is measuring something reliably.
If you’re not convinced that a psychometric test is reliable or valid, give its Technical Manual a read - this will detail every bit of research and data that has been collected for the test, so you can see just how reliable it is. (Side note: if a test doesn’t have a Technical Manual, big red flag!) You can also check if tests have been reviewed by the British Psychological Society - the BPS Test Review process looks at a range of data points to give an objective assessment of how reliable a psychometric test is, so it’s a good indication of how effective it could be for your needs.
And, if you’re thinking, ‘Sure, data is great - but psychological tests can be cheated, right?’ - you’d be wrong. This piece here explains why.
In conclusion - some psychometric tests aren’t reliable. That’s true. But lots are - you just need to find the right one for your needs.
As business psychologists, we work with businesses. And, no matter how much they also care about their people and clients, businesses care about the bottom line.
So when some psychometric tests cost a good amount of money (and need qualified users to interpret the results, which means either getting someone in-house trained or using a consultant to support in interpretation) - it’s understandable that it might not feel like there’s a justifiable ROI of psychometric testing.
But there is. (If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t still be in business!)
The thing to understand here is that, yes, psychometric tests cost money. But is that investment more or less than the cost of not investing in psychometric testing?
In the case of hiring or selection processes, the cost of not using psychometric testing is larger than the cost of using psychometric testing. For one reason: hiring costs money. And if that hiring process has to be repeated because the wrong decision was made the first time around, that’s instantly doubled the cost of hiring for a role.
It’s a tricky figure to quantify, but the research brains of the world (Oxford Economics & Unum) estimate that hiring an employee on a salary of £25,000 costs the company £30,165, when hiring fees, loss of productivity during training processes, and everything else is factored in. If that employee turns out to not be the right fit and the recruitment process has to be started again, the costs rocket up to £132,000 - covering multiple recruitment fees, time invested in training and onboarding, loss of productivity and then an entire new round of everything with hire number two.
When you balance that figure against the cost of investing in psychometric testing, the business case for psychometrics becomes clear. If a round of psychometric testing helps to make sure you’re hiring the right person in the first round of recruitment, it’s an obvious choice.
Ah, the big one. This objection isn’t as easy to counter as the other two, because there’s nothing quantifiable or data-based to point to - but that doesn’t mean it’s in any way true!
The hiring process has been the same for many years: post a job advert, receive applications, invite applicants to interview, and choose successful candidate(s).
And it worked, when it first started. Which is why many companies are somewhat reluctant to change the tried-and-trusted methods they’ve been using for decades. But now that there are so many qualified candidates out there in the market and jobs are becoming increasingly complex and less reliant on hard skills, is that still the best recruitment method?
We think not.
When your hiring decisions are made solely on the basis of a (probably inflated) CV and an interview, they’re likely only addressing surface-level qualities of the candidate - and not drilling deeper into whether they’re actually going to help your business or hinder it.
Their qualifications and past experience matter for some roles (particularly for more technical roles), but what if they have the perfect skills but no motivation? Or what if they don’t fit culturally with your team? Or what if they bring with them values that just don’t align with your business?
It’s those things that are more difficult to assess through a piece of paper and an interview alone. They’re often intangible and always tricky to get a straight answer on during interview - where the candidate will, without exception, put their best foot forward and do their best to minimise their weaknesses.
But in psychometric tests that are reliable, valid and not cheat-able (another reminder to give this a read if you think they can be cheated!), candidates are their truest selves. Their personalities are revealed in the results of psychometric tests in a way that can’t be achieved through interview and CV analysis alone.
We’re not by any means saying that psychometric tests replace the need for CVs and interviews - because they’re still really important parts of the recruitment process. What we are saying is that adding psychometric tests into the process adds an extra layer of insight into the process - and it’s an insight that you can’t get from interviewing and that could potentially save the costs of hiring the wrong person (and we’ve already seen how much that costs!).
Of course you are! If you’re still here, you now know that psychometric tests are incredibly helpful in your business. They’re not too expensive (when you look at the alternative costs of hiring the wrong person), they’re reliable and valid (if you choose the right tests) and they add a level of insight into your recruitment process that can make sure you hire the absolute best person for the role.
So, if you fancy introducing psychometrics into your business, let’s talk! We can work together to find the right psychometric solution for your needs, train your in-house people team and build a recruitment or leadership development process that takes the guesswork out of managing your people.
Chat to us today!