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Mind Measurement

3rd September 2013

Have you ever hired someone who did not perform well at interview? It's unlikely, yet we all know that a great interview does not guarantee great job performance. And how many times have you interviewed candidates who have very similar education and experience levels and you've found it difficult to distinguish between them?

There is overwhelming evidence that introducing psychometric assessment to the recruitment process offers insights into how personal traits impact performance at work. This information, combined with competency frameworks and interview feedback from all stakeholders involved, significantly improves the selection outcome.

Interestingly, psychometric testing performed professionally can also positively affect how prospective employers are perceived, with candidates viewing the process as a fair method of measuring individual behaviour while also highlighting strengths and needs.

Having used various psychometric testing methods throughout my career I was searching for a tool that was accurate, not cumbersome for the candidate and doesn't require a degree in employment psychology to interpret!

So, we chose the Thomas International Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) tool. Never heard of it? Nor had I, but it analyses behavior at work through the interpretation of individual responses to an on-line questionnaire which requires candidates highlight words which MOST describe and LEAST describe their behaviour, taking only 6 - 8 minutes.

PPA is based around the DISC theory, measuring 4 behavioural characteristics which are summarised as:

Dominance - assertive, competitive, direct, driving, forceful, inquisitive.

Influence - communicative, friendly, influential, networker, persuasive and gregarious, optimistic, positive, verbal.

Steadiness - amiable, easy going, contented and relaxed, deliberate, dependable, good listener, kind, methodical, persistent, thorough.

Compliance - accurate, careful, compliant, logical, perfectionist, precise, systematic, sensitive, humble.

Most people will show all four of these characteristics at times. However, an individual will generally display one or more of these characteristics consistently in the working environment, because each person develops a style which places particular emphasis on certain behaviours and less emphasis on others. The analysis provides a range of reports including preferred working style and the impact of stress on responses.

If you work in an environment which is resistant to the introduction of psychometric testing, I'd recommend that you encourage the cynics to participate in their own analysis. The accuracy of the results and the insight the reports provide will change their opinions.

And it is not just valuable for recruitment. Psychometric testing can explore how a new recruit will impact team dynamics and raise awareness of what's missing from an existing team to elevate it to a high performance team culture. By sharing profile information in an environment of trust, people can also better understand how to work with each other, successfully collaborate and better manage relationships.

Like all good interview processes, communication is vital. It is essential that candidates understand why they are being asked to undertake psychometric testing and how the results are relevant to the role. Feedback of the analysis is also critical and must always be indicative, not definitive. It's important to properly explain why candidates were ultimately unsuccessful in their application as candidates often blame assessments if they don't get the job, when it is most likely other factors. This of course leads to a bad experience and can damage employer reputation.

Psychometric testing is not an exact science and psychometric tools should never be used in isolation, but with so many positives, who's up for a bit of mind measurement?

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