In order to make conclusions about a candidate, we need to see enough information to be sure that their skills/experience/approach are truthful and our assessment is accurate. Not only do we need to see evidence of those traits on multiple occasions (customer service skills seen in multiple different interview answers), but we might also be looking to see consistency in different situations (e.g. with a happy vs. unhappy customer) and/or a long-term attitude rather than recent change. In recruitment, we do this by using a number of different sources or methods to collect evidence, which is why we often have a telephone interview, face-to-face interview and/or take references. Another method that companies are finding more helpful is the use of psychometric tests which take the form of ability or personality tests, and can be used to objectively compare candidates as well as collect information about them in a completely different way (therefore contributing to improved accuracy of overall assessment).
There are a number of ability tests available from reputable publishers, which assess a broad range of skills such as numerical or verbal skills, resilience, error-checking and even technical skills like marketing, sales, customer services and finance. In more junior/administrative roles, you may want to use a numerical reasoning test to assess the individual’s ability to work with numbers, or for more specific roles, such as sales, there may be a suitable technical assessment which can separate the average from the strong salespeople. Alternatively, if your organisation or the role is particularly unique, you might decide to develop a bespoke assessment tool which will assess the key skills for your role(s). Using an ability test is particularly helpful where the skill you want to assess (e.g. bookkeeping, marketing or graphic design) is best determined by seeing the individual’s work, rather than having them describe their approach verbally in an interview. Another way of thinking about this is when it’s more important WHAT the candidate does, rather than HOW they do it.
For other roles where it may be difficult to see evidence of the individual’s approach (e.g. in an interview), a personality test can help you to confirm what you have heard, and potentially identify any areas of concern to explore. Personality assessments are really helpful when it’s more important HOW the candidate works, rather than WHAT they do (e.g. a project manager needs to be able to work to deadlines and coordinate people effectively). These tests typically assess 3 different types of approach: everyday behaviour (e.g. how fixed/flexible an individual is ‘normally’), derailing behaviours under stress (e.g. risk aversion), and underlying motivations/values/drivers (e.g. need for approval).
Initially, you will work with a qualified consultant to identify the most suitable ability or personality assessment for your role/organisation. You will also discuss the stage at which you will assess candidates – depending on which assessment you choose, the costs can vary from <£30 to £250 just for the test and report, so your consultant will be able to help you weigh up the different factors and make the best investment of time and money for you. Typically, both ability and personality assessments are now completed online, so when you are ready to put candidates through the test, they will each be emailed with an individual link to complete. When all tests are completed, your consultant will download the reports and review them for positive evidence, areas of concern to explore and other points of interest. Having scheduled a feedback session, they will spend some time reviewing the findings with the candidate, and will then finalise their findings and share them with you.
Although no test should be used as the sole deciding factor in recruitment, they can provide helpful insights into the individual’s approach and enable you to compare candidates more objectively. They are also accurate assessments, giving you a better chance of creating a full picture of each candidate, and enabling you to make the best selection for your business. We have supported clients with assessments for volume hires, highly technical roles, high risk roles and everyday administrative and professional roles, and are confident that we could help you to improve the accuracy of your recruitment process through specialised testing. If you would like to explore how ability and personality tests could support your recruitment processes, then please get in touch with a member of the team.