Psychometric assessment is a standardised method of evaluating individual capabilities and styles. Candidates are compared against others from a particular norm group — such as managers, graduates or information technology professionals — on tests or scales that have been validated statistically.

The types of psychometric assessment tests and questionnaires used for selection and development are:

Cognitive ability (aptitude) tests — assessing learning, problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.

Personality questionnaires — assessing personal preferences and styles like leadership style, interpersonal effectiveness and achievement drive among other things.

Motivation and values questionnaires — assessing cultural fit and sources of job satisfaction and commitment like need for a challenge, fit within a commercial environment, motivation for status, progression or money. Love  them or loathe them, in today&’s competitive business scenario there is nothing more apt than a psychometric test to understand one&’s persona, mental make-up and skills. All it requires is to analyse the answers to a specific set of questions. 

People are essential for an organisation&’s long-term success — selecting the right people for the right jobs can be a key differentiator between success and failure. An organisation will have to use effective strategy to select, retain and develop people for delivering true value and high performance. Given the high attrition rates, it has become imperative for recruiters to hire candidates with not only the right technical skills, but also the attitude and behaviour pattern, which match the company&’s profile and culture. 

Today, a number of companies are using psychometric testing to ensure that it gets just the right kind of manpower — it serves the dual purpose of ensuring quality and saving time. Popular psychometric tools in use are LLQ, 16PF, MMPI, OPQ32 and FIRO, to name a few. They enable a company to test a candidate&’s personality and behavioural aptitude and comprise online personality tests, motivation tests, cognitive tests and simulation exercises. A candidate who has undergone such a test can be assigned the best suited job, depending on the analysis of the results. 

The Tata Strategic Management Group, the largest Indian-owned management consulting firm, conducted a study on “Psychometrics in Indian Organisations”, pointed out the following key highlights:

Psychometric instruments are being used by 52 percent of organizations, which facilitate objective people&’s decisions and reduce subjectivity.

Within the next one to three years, 74 per cent of non-users intend to use such instruments.

Survey suggests that adoption rate could reach 87 per cent in 2016.

Organisations that utilise MBTI are 49 percent, followed by Hogan (25 per cent) and Firo-B (24 per cent).

Organisations that will utilise psychometric instruments for recruitment and selection comprise 88 percent and are followed closely by 76 percent of organisations using outcomes for leadership development.

Contemporary instruments — such as Hogan, PAPI, SHL, Thomas Profiling — are becoming increasingly popular.

The report assesses the pulse of psychometric instruments in the Indian market and is the first-ever study conducted in India, covering a variety of parameters. 

After appearing for board exams, choosing the right subject for graduation can be an arduous task for students. Scientific and easy-to-use online assessment tools such as psychometric tests can be instrumental in helping them choose the right career at the right time. Students can get a personalised report based on their answers, which is then matched with the available career options, gradually charting the path to economic growth for the nation.

Measuring educational progress through examination results is passé and inadequate in today&’s competitive scenario as they are influenced by a wide range of factors. While it makes sense to pursue careers that play to a student&’s specific abilities, exam results alone should not define their career choices. A psychometric test focuses on changing this traditional mindset of people and setting them on the career path that suits their personality. Focusing on the key aspects of an individual such as personality, interests, values and behavioural traits, these tests are successful in determining the inherent passion of students. They are based on the understanding that students can do wonders if they indulge in the work that comes naturally to them. 

Psychometrics is considered a sophisticated tool that almost all recruiters favour over the traditional interview, reference and curriculum vitae method, owing to its accurate indication of how a candidate will actually perform at work. Attracting good talent is not considered enough anymore — a prospective candidate must be pronounced as a “good hire” and needs to be the perfect fit. Such tests make sure that recruiters do not end up paying a heavy price for quick, wrong hires.

Recruitment is expected to evolve from a fragmented ecosystem to players implementing ways to work closely with their clients’ requirements. In a positive move, recruitment companies are likely to give up sourcing appropriate candidates to acquiring the right ones by using psychometric tests to shortlist prospective candidates. As the industry is growing at a breakneck speed, start-ups and big corporate companies are now deploying techniques like multi-level assessments, psychometric tests and roping in external partners to make sure they assess potential employees accurately and appoint the right candidate for the required post.

We all make assumptions about our abilities, and one may not completely trust someone else&’s judgment with regards to choosing one&’s next company or being a perfect fit in an organisation, exclusively on the basis of an online test. However, it is a useful persuasive tool. Even if you have no idea what you’d like to do, it&’s a fun way of getting at a few insights you might never have thought of by yourself. It can put forth unexpected results that open up new career possibilities.

The writer is with the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management, Kolkata.