I’ve taken my cue for New Year’s Resolutions from the Japanese this year and focused on implementing small, manageable changes to help me achieve my 2018 goals. Rather than embarking on a complete overhaul which often sets us up to fail, the Japanese refer to “Kaizen” as a way to achieve significant goals and sustaining change through small, planned and easy to implement steps. This concept can apply to many things, such as exercise goals, dietary changes, professional development, and workplace change. Regardless of the project, building on a foundation of what already works well, slight tweaks here and there can have a big impact over time.
Using the Kaizen approach, here are some simple suggestions to consider when using psychometric testing this year to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Pick one or two to explore further – and remember, just take baby steps!
1. Take advantage of (free!) verification testing
Most of your candidates complete their assessments remotely, usually at home. It’s convenient on both sides, with candidates able to complete at a time and place suitable to them, and employers able to facilitate testing for tens, hundreds, or even thousands of candidates at a time in just a few clicks.
If you’re using ability-based assessments such as the Cognitive Ability Test, the Numerical Reasoning Test, the Verbal Reasoning Test and others, we recommend that your short-listed candidates also complete a verification test to confirm the results they achieved remotely. This usually involves inviting the candidate to complete the assessment again under supervised conditions, for example, in the employer’s office before an interview.
Most test providers will offer a ‘verification’ test, and at Revelian we offer it for free. The verification process is designed to provide confidence that the results being used to inform a selection decision are accurate and not influenced by other factors (e.g. technical difficulties, assistance from others, illness etc).
2. Check your normative comparison group
The comparison group used to determine a candidate’s score is critical to interpreting their performance. Without a relevant comparison group, scores on psychometric assessments are pretty much meaningless. The comparison groups used are therefore important in ensuring both accurate and appropriate interpretation of candidate performance.
It’s worth checking which group(s) your candidates are being compared to, and whether it’s the most relevant one for the role. For example, if you are hiring a manager into an accounting role, look for a management group at a similar level to the role you are filling, and/or an accounting/finance industry comparison group. This will indicate how well your candidate has performed against peers at a similar management and professional industry level. Also, check when the norm group was last updated (your assessment provider should be able to provide these details) to ensure the group is being refreshed regularly.
3. Look at the forest and the trees
The process of mapping assessments to a specific role is important to ensure critical skills and abilities are covered and business needs are met. For example, are you hiring a leader, who needs to be able to manage and motivate a team effectively, and therefore need to assess their emotional intelligence? Or do you have a role with specialist technical skill requirements and therefore need a skills test or two? Role-specific assessment mapping ensures you cover the basics.
In addition to this, psychometric assessments can assist at a more strategic level to help with common problems such as high turnover or absenteeism. If you have high turnover in a role, consider assessing qualities such as cognitive ability and person-job fit to match candidate attributes and preferences to role requirements. If you have an absenteeism problem (such as high level of sick leave), consider using an integrity test to assess attitudes towards these behaviours.
4. Use results to help inform the interview
To get more out of assessment results, use them to help inform your interviews. If you’ve used a cognitive ability test, you can follow this up by asking about how the candidate goes about solving complex problems on the job and ask them to provide an example of when they’ve done this. If you’ve used a ‘fit’ (person/job fit or person/organisation fit) tool, explore any gaps that are evident to see if you can meet in the middle. If you’ve used a personality or behavioural tool, ask your candidate about their preferences and examples of how they’ve performed tasks outside their comfort zone.
It’s also useful to know how to separate personality from ability in an interview, and psychometric assessments can help here too. Some candidates will be completely at ease in an interview and exude confidence and charisma (think: extraverts). Other candidates (most likely the introverts) may seem more anxious and reserved. These different approaches can sometimes be confused with competence, so knowing beforehand which style your candidate is likely to present with can help discern between confidence and competence, allowing you to dig deeper in the interview.
5. Use assessment results post-hire
If you’ve used a personality or behavioural test in the recruitment process, these assessments can also add significant value post-hire. Where possible, tailoring flexible elements of the role to suit different behavioural styles can increase alignment to employee strengths and preferences. In addition, using the insight gained from personality or behavioural profiles to understand how to best communicate with and manage new hires can also be valuable. For example, are they likely to prefer instructions via email or verbally? Are they detailed oriented and so will want the facts and figures, or perhaps more high level in their approach and just want to know the trends? Sharing this information across the team can help with onboarding and quickly building effective working relationships.
If you’d like more information about any of these approaches and how to implement them, we’re happy to help! Please contact your account manager or contact our friendly team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Melinda Garcia joined Revelian in 2007 and quickly became an indispensable part of our Research & Development team. She’s one of the people who work diligently behind the scenes to ensure our tests are valid, accurate and up-to-date. Melinda also project-managed the development and launch of Australia’s first game-based assessment, Wasabi Waiter, and is currently working on our next suite of innovative, cutting-edge game-based assessments. She loves the challenge of creating new and engaging ways to obtain accurate and reliable data to help organisations make better people decisions.
Having completed a Masters of Organisational Psychology, Melinda is a registered psychologist and a member of the Australian Psychological Society.