Confidence in psychometric assessments rises


It's encouraging to see the trend seems to be moving to a more sophisticated and select use of such tools. Through our consultancy projects, we see a move away from "standard" assessment to more ...

Read More Henry Noteman
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The largest rise in the use of psychometric testing has been for employee development activities

Confidence in psychometric testing is continuing to rise globally, fuelled by growth in developing markets, according to a study by international assessment specialist cut-e.

The Global Assessment Barometer asked 2,776 HR, recruitment and talent practitioners across 14 countries for their views.

The study found that while use of the tests was rising in developing and intermediate markets, in mature markets usage has fallen from 73% in 2012 to 61% in 2016.

Regardless of usage stats, confidence in such tests has risen. Out of the companies that used psychometric testing, 81% said that they expected to make more reliable and less risky decisions as a result in 2016, compared to only 67% who said the same thing in 2010. The percentage of employers who believed that psychometric testing can predict future performance rose from under half (49%) in 2010 to 57% in 2016.

The majority (94%) of organisations who used psychometric assessment did so during the hiring stage, a rise of 17 percentage points compared to six years ago. The largest rise in the use of testing was in employee development activities, where 63% of companies now utilise them compared with only 43% in 2010. However, asking staff to take a test as they leave the firm has remained uncommon, with only 6% doing this in 2010 and 8% in 2016.

Achim Preuss, managing director of cut-e, commented: “Shorter, more customised, brand-relevant tests are now being used earlier in the selection process to identify the right people. Increasingly employers want to predict which candidates in their applicant pool will ‘fit’ their organisation and be strong performers who will add value to the business.”

There were, though, international variations in perceptions of psychometric testing. Almost 19 out of 20 (93%) respondents from the Czech Republic said that psychometric assessment would help their business to come to fairer decisions, compared with only 37% in Hungary. Only three in 10 (30%) Germans thought that psychometric assessment could predict future performance, compared with 70% of Swedish respondents.


It's encouraging to see the trend seems to be moving to a more sophisticated and select use of such tools. Through our consultancy projects, we see a move away from "standard" assessment to more bespoke packages built from validated individual tests. Another developing trend is the fast-growing volume of tests and tools with highly variable costs of use. Most expensive isn't always the best, but it's more about how they are used and interpreted, be it for selection or development.


So it is also true then that the predictive coefficient of personality instruments has also increased? Or is all this increased confidence misplaced? When I qualified in the use of psychometric instruments those that were personality profiles, rather than aptitude & ability tests, had little or no predictive coefficient and were to only be ethically used as a conversational bridge, the source of a hypothesis about what a person might be like that can then be tested with the subject in conversation. Has this changed? Are current instruments of personality now predictive? Or are there just whole new markets that are being sold a fallacy? Hopefully it is the former and predictive validity has increased, otherwise it sounds analogous to tobacco companies trying to increase the take up of their product in developing markets once mature markets have become wise to their toxicity.


You make a good point -- bespoke assessments are key here. As organisations today are so individualised in terms of company structure, an assessment suitable for a 'Director' in one company might be inappropriate for a 'Director' in another company within a different industry. It's up to the consultancies to work closely with clients to ensure the right level of assessment and analysis is being applied to each unique role, organisation, and industry at any moment in time.

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