In Blog, Company Culture

Why the Psychometric Testing Industry Needs to Change

 

Psychometric testing has been used since the 19th century. Today, the majority of employers believe that psychometric tests can predict the future performance of their business. Currently, around 60% of companies internationally use some form of psychometric assessment. The industry has grown 18% in the past 2 years, and the majority of tests are used for recruitment purposes.

 

Yet employers still do not completely understand them and candidates perceive them as a necessary evil. Psychometric tests are often used as a first direct contact between employers and candidates. Whilst they help employers to sieve through candidates, they often do not provide candidates with any insight about the company.

 

46% of candidates have a bad experience during the recruitment process. In fact, psychometric testing can be modified to increase engagement between the employer and prospective employee at an early stage in the recruitment process. Rather than being a one-sided recruitment tool, they can become a useful means of interaction.

Pre-interview screening tests should encourage and attract candidates with the right fit and discourage those with a poor fit.

 

Challenges Within the Psychometric Industry and a Way Forward

 

Market Oligopoly

 

In order to understand employers’ choice of psychometric assessments we first need to understand the psychometric industry itself. A few big players dominate the market:

  1. SHL
  2. Myers-Briggs
  3. Thomas International
  4. Saville Wave

 

There are two main reasons for the strong domination in the market:

 

  1. The first one is the vast array and complexity of tests available. For a HR practitioner, it is very difficult to determine which psychometric test will best fit their requirements. 70% of users believe that they need specific training to understand using them. It takes a while to figure out the right test applicable for a certain role or what they actually measure… As a result, employers stick to what they know.

 

  1. The second reasons are time and cost. The majority of tests require certification and training. A training course may take up to 10 days! Companies would rather stick to what they know when alternative solutions require extensive staff training and investment.

 

Although there are thousands of tests to choose from, in reality, employers are constrained by the complexity and the cost that comes with the decision to change to the new way of testing. The perspective of change is so complex that it forces employers to stick with what they know. As a result, employers rarely swap psychometric providers.

 

‘Employers are constrained by the complexity and the cost that comes with the decision to change.’

 

Consequently, psychometric providers operating since the 20th century dominate the market because of their first mover advantage. Unfortunately, the complexity stigma of the psychometric market closes the door for innovation. Any new psychometric tests are simply classed as one of many. It became a norm for recruiters to accept that psychometric tests are complicated, expensive and require a lot of training to be sufficiently understood.

 

‘…the complexity stigma of the psychometric market closes the door for innovation. Any new psychometric test is simply classed as one of many.’

 

Negative Candidate Experiences

 

From the candidate’s perspective, psychometric tests are rarely engaging. There are hundreds of websites with tips on how to cheat/pass them. They require training and are perceived as something that a candidate has to do before he or she is allowed to have a human interaction with the employer.

 

From candidates’ perspective, psychometric tests do not provide any insight about the working environment. Psychometric tests do not add value to the improvement of the perception of an employer’s brand and results are rarely shared with candidates.

 

Psychometric tests are not being used to their full advantage. They could be used to engage and attract the right candidates!

 

The Way Forward

 

The psychometric industry needs to change. It may be possible that the big players protect the status quo because it allows them to sustain their customer base or they may simply want to offer more advanced and complex solutions to businesses.

 

But isn’t the simplicity the ultimate sophistication? Do employers really need costly psychometric tests that require lengthy training and provide negative engagement with candidates?

 

What Does the Future Hold?

 

Macawly believes the psychometric industry should fundamentally shift towards simple, affordable, and more engaging solutions. Complexity is not attractive; being transparent and straightforward will open the psychometric industry to more organisations.

 

Employers should be able to understand what they are using and how it benefits them, without lengthy training courses and assessments. However, the crucial shift needs to happen within the employer-candidate interactions.

 

Psychometric assessments need to stop being one-sided solutions. They should offer feedback to individuals as well as employers. In the age of war for talent and poor candidate engagement, psychometric tests should actively attract high performers by providing them with benefits they will gain by working for an organisation and discourage candidates who do not fit.

 

The mentality of ‘how to cheat a psychometric test’ needs to change. Psychometric test should be perceived as a two-way tool that helps each party to find the right culture fit and build a passionate workforce.

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