4 min read

The Myths of Psychometric Testing

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton July 01, 2019
Psychometric Testing Myths

The myths surrounding psychometric testing have got a little out of hand lately. These myths are responsible much of the negativity that often surrounds this type of testing, but is this negativity justified? We don’t think so. If you’ve ever heard anything negative about psychometric testing, this article is for you. Read on as we debunk the top 10 myths.

It Emphasizes the Wrong Values

The basis of psychometric testing is to gain an insight into the intelligence of the applicant and how his or her personality would fit into the workplace. Some people believe these factors are less important, and would rather test attitude, knowledge, and skill. However, knowledge and skills can be improved upon, while if you get stuck with a toxic personality, it can have a severely negative impact on your organisation in the long run.

Integrity and Motivation Can’t Be Measured

Yes they can. These tests were designed by psychologists, and they’ve been extensively studied to ensure they can deliver an unbiased assessment of things such as integrity and motivation to help improve your hiring.

They Can’t Pick up Personality Issues

If someone has a ‘bad’ personality or the ‘wrong’ personality, psychometric testing will pick up on that. Evidence suggests, however, that personality issues can arise from management style, so consider that before you lay the blame on these tests.

They’re Gender/Race Biased

The results of some tests may showcase the differences between different races and genders, but that’s not what’s important here—it’s how you use the results that counts. For example, knowing that women tend to score lower on spatial visualisation tests, you would measure female candidates against the gender norm instead of against males.

Current Circumstances Influence Results

Many people believe that a person’s current circumstances can influence the results, for better or for worse. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. Because these tests are standardised, they ignore influences from variable factors such as mood, health, and test environment.

The Old Approach Works Better

The old ‘application form, interview, reference’ approach is tried and tested. Unless the application form has some psychometric aspects to it though, it’s next to useless. You won’t find out personalised information about your applicant from a form—this is where psychometric testing can help.

Applicants Lie

Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that participants will lie in a test. Fortunately, many tests take this into account. This is especially true if the test contains a number of answers of the social norm variety. Many tests can detect candidates who are hell-bent on checking everything that sounds good or socially acceptable. So here’s the good news: you can’t fake psychometric assessment of your ability.

Anyone Can Be Trained, Which Makes Tests Useless

The debate about whether everyone has the potential to be trained has raged on for many years. The ‘1,000 theory’ was even created to discuss it. It’s simply not true though—the fact is that certain characteristics are needed to excel in certain areas.

All Tests Are the Same

There are so many different psychometric tests out there. Many of them are more generalised, while others cater specifically to certain industries. Do your research, and you’ll soon realise the sheer variety and levels of quality out there.

It’s Too Expensive

This myth is one of the most commonly cited, and is often given as the major reason why firms avoid psychometric testing. In actual fact, there are many free tests available. This is not to say that you shouldn’t ever pay, as these tests can help you land quality recruits. In the long run, that could make your business more money than the initial outlay involved in using professionally designed tests to assess candidates.

Guy Thornton
Guy Thornton July 01, 2019

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