Psychometric assessments are becoming a more common tool to support the talent management process. These assessment tools are utilized for a wide range of measurement purposes including assessment and selection, succession planning, coaching, and team development. Individual and team assessments are used to identify common group behaviors, demonstrate gaps in perceptions and provide opportunities to think more openly and work together in a manner that creates shared group understanding and increase effectiveness.
Most frequently, organizations rely on assessment methods for human capital decisions, such as selection for hiring, promotions, and succession planning. The impact is high. Poor hiring/selection decisions have many negative consequences. In addition to high turnover costs, poor hires can cause work disruption, lost business, and hindrance of investor confidence.2 The Center for Creative Leadership found that 40% of new hires fail within the first 18 months. Interviews alone do not provide an objective view of how an individual compares to others.1 Psychometric assessments evaluate individuals based on certain criteria depending on the purpose for which the assessment is used. Psychometric assessments provide a rigorous method to increase the likelihood of selecting the best fit for a position.2
For example, Newton Medical Center utilized psychometric testing as one data point in its selection decision for a new Director of Nursing and Operations. The selection process implemented the Hogan Suite of psychometric measures, which are specifically normed for selection purposes on an executive/professional population. These measures provided insights regarding each candidate’s readiness to assume the responsibilities and challenges specific to the Director of Nursing and Operations role based on the identified critical success factors. Joseph A. DiPaolo, President of Newton Medical Center and Vice President of Atlantic Health System, noted that “in today’s hyper-paced environment, developmental assessments and hiring decisions require new screening methods to ensure that all competencies are adequately evaluated. The use of psychometric assessment was instrumental in helping us make exceptional decisions.”
Below are types of assessments used in business settings and examples of each:
- Cognitive – Measures Capacity
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) – measures general intelligence
- Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory – evaluates ability to solve problems and make business-related decisions using textual, graphic, and quantitative data
- Motivational – Measures Purpose
- Hogan Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI) – reveals one’s core values, goals and interests
- Leadership Styles Inventory (LSI) – identifies leadership patterns and reveals the extent to which one’s leadership pattern is task- or people-oriented
- Personality – Measures Tendencies
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – measures personality patterns across four continuums
- Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) – based on the Five-Factor Model of Personality and developed specifically for the business community in order predict employee performance
- Behavioral – Measures Actions
- Clark Wilson 360 Feedback – identifies observable behaviors and competencies
- Behavioral Event Interview – interview responses regarding past performance used as an indicator of future behaviors regarding a specific competency or skills
- Emotional Intelligence – Measures Emotional Ability
- Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) – developed to assess the Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence, including factors such as interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, and adaptability3
- Mayor-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test – ability-based test designed to measure the four branches of the EI model of Mayer and Salovey: perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions4
While psychometric assessments can be a useful tool in organizational settings, it is important to exercise caution when choosing and implementing the tool. First and foremost, know your business needs. If unclear about what specific variables you seek to measure, the results of the assessment will have no basis on which to be interpreted.5 Once the objectives of the assessment are identified, choose the test that is designed for that particular purpose and will accurately evaluate those variables. It is important to pick a psychometric test that has been empirically tested to ensure reliability and validity of its use. A poorly-constructed test will provide insufficient results. When properly executed, psychometric testing can provide valuable information that can inform personnel decisions and increase performance on an individual, team, and organizational level.
1 Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2015, Jul/Aug). Ace the Assessment. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/07/ace-the-assessment.
2 Human Capital Assessments, “Why Use Leadership Assessments?” (Website), Retrieved from http://www.hcassessments.com/leadership-assessments.
3 “Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i).” Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Web. 22 July 2015.
4 “Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).” Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Web. 22 July 2015.
5 Dattner, B. (2013, September). How to Use Psychometric Testing in Hiring. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/09/how-to-use-psychometric-testin/.