Using psychometric tests to improve diversity in the workplace

Psychometric tests are increasingly used by large employers such as KPMG and Unilever as part of their recruitment process. Find out why...

Designed to objectively measure candidates’ cognitive abilities, personality types, knowledge, numeracy and literacy skills, psychometric tests allow everyone who takes them to showcase their strengths and paint a clearer picture their individuality.

As with a lot of high-profile tests, much has been made of whether the marking and judging of psychometric tests are fair; is there conscious (or unconscious) bias when it comes to scoring, and does everyone taking the test really get the same chance to succeed?

Practice Aptitude Tests has been exploring what psychometric testing is, how it’s marked and why these tests really do provide employers with a fair chance to improve diversity in the workplace. 

It’s what you know not who you know

Companies who utilise psychometric testing as a recruitment tool are sending out a clear message to future employees -‘it’s what you know that’ll get your foot in the door here, not who you know’.

“Every test, whether it’s numeracy or literacy-based, is scored against a strict set of criteria that is set up to make sure the process is fair. Having connections, knowing the right people and being able to afford a head start just doesn’t come into the testing process – and that’s one of the reasons they’re such a great tool for employers to use when it comes to hiring the best of the best for their company,” says Practice Aptitude Test’s Managing Director Guy Thornton.

The tests allow companies to build rich and varied teams

As well as highlighting an individual’s strengths and skills, psychometric tests also reveal areas that may need a bit of improvement. With this information before them, employers get an early glimpse into someones character, how they fit into the team and, crucially, where they can add value.

Says Thornton: “To put it simply, a candidate with proven aptitude can bolster the skills that may be lacking elsewhere in the team. In this way, employers who thoroughly analyse the data before them have the chance to build a team of people with different skill sets and thought processes, which means they’re much more likely to bring together a varied set of people.”

Success is linked to practice

Everyone has the tools within themselves to do well on a psychometric test; all it may take is a little practice to give everyone a unique and equal opportunity to enjoy a slice of success.

Practice Aptitude Test recommends practising as many tests as possible before the big day. Free mock tests are a great way to get familiar with the types of questions that may present, working under time pressure, and to gain a better understanding of core strengths and weaknesses.

Skills speak for themselves

There is no denying that discrimination exists when it comes to recruitment. But one of the reasons psychometric tests are so valuable, is they allow people who may have been discriminated against before to let their skills do the talking.

These tests show employers just how important it is to keep an open mind and judge people solely on merit. With clear data illustrating how a candidate has performed in a timed test scenario, the employer has little choice but to use the results to judge whether someone is up to the job. In this respect, psychometric testing is an extremely valuable tool in the fight to improve diversity in the workplace. 

Another chance to shine

Taking a psychometric test as part of an application process offers every candidate another chance to shine. Many people, especially those who feel they’ve been unfairly discriminated against in the past, lack confidence when it comes to face-to-face interviews. Having the chance to take a psychometric test to prove their merit can help bolster people’s confidence as they realise their abilities will be judged on more than just how they perform in a pressured meeting situation.

So, employers who recruit using this multifaceted process are more likely to get a rich and varied pool of candidates coming through their doors, not just those who are good at interviews.

Says Thornton: “Creating truly fair recruitment systems and diverse workplaces is a complex and nuanced issue and one that still involves a lot of work. But the role of psychometric testing in recruiting candidates is undeniably one of the positive steps companies are taking to show they judge their employees on their skills, not their social standing.”

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