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Psychometric Testing: Interpretation Is Everything.

October 23, 2017

Psychometric tests must be administered correctly, which includes standardised conditions and supervision. Avoid unsupervised testing, especially aptitude testing, if possible. It is fundamental to the testing process that we know who did the test and under what conditions.

There is an ongoing debate about whether people cheat when doing unsupervised online aptitude testing or ‘”faking good” on personality questionnaires. An internet search on the topic, like many issues, will yield a range of responses for and against the question.  It seems reasonable to assume that some people will cheat for high value roles and jobs. Even testing company’s own research found that one in ten people cheated on unsupervised online aptitude tests.

However, aside from the cheating issue, there are other reasons why you should avoid unsupervised testing.  You could miss a good candidate through someone performing poorly on the tests due to reason outside of their control, such as being disturbed, doing it late at night when they are tired or technical difficulties.

But, the most important reason to avoid unsupervised testing is that recruitment decisions require a social or face-to-face element.  Recruitment decisions are people decisions. Observing candidates under different conditions and by other people provides invaluable incidental information and it ensures the reliability of the testing results.

Once we are confident the tests were administered correctly it is time to interpret the results properly, indeed, it is the interpretation of the results in the context of other available information where psychometric testing comes into its own.

There are many testing companies where a consultant will interpret the results over the phone and will not necessarily take into account other information from the recruitment process; the culture of the workplace, dynamics of existing staff and the vision and direction of the organisation.  The best interpretation process incorporates all this information in a free flowing discussion.  Large testing companies will not do this, however, Fermion does and this process will give you a significant competitive advantage as you will avoid mishires and have a much clearer understanding of your next employee.