Test? Test. Test!

By Rémi Lachance, MBA, CHRP and Louis-Pierre Barrette, c.o. for the magazine EnVue : see below

devorgPersonnel selection and development of human resources represent major challenges for organizations and industries in Quebec. Le site, effectiveness of organizations depends on the ability of companies to find the right people to external or internal organization and assign the right jobs. Fortunately, to assist the employer to make a choice, there are a multitude of tools that can help make an informed decision. Besides, Quebec, do you know which method is most commonly used to assess job applicants? This is the interview. This meeting can take different forms, ranging from structured discussion on a corner table and even online through programs like Skype interview. This meeting usually meets the expectations of managers (especially if it is structured), because one can question the candidate on his skills, and experiences and validate certain personality traits. But it may happen that we want to go beyond the information gathered in a meeting and the employer may be tempted to add assessment tools to the selection process. Fortunately, there are some very interesting ways to improve processes : psychometric tools.

Psychometric tools

We can define a psychometric assessment tool, or psychometric test, as a measuring objective and standardized on a sample of an individual's behavior. Tests can teach us crucial information about the capabilities of a person, its value system, his perception of himself and other, its interests, on its expertise as well as the different facets of his personality.

Psychometric tools (ou tests) are used for more than 60 years for the selection and evaluation of employees. First used in a military context, these tools have evolved and are now a growing industry that specializes increasingly. In Human Resource Management, Psychometric tests are used primarily to personnel selection, but also within the career development. Psychometric test "typical" takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete, it can be done on the computer or on an answer sheet and the results can be obtained almost instantly.

Psychometric testing as a screening tool

In a short time, tests can provide important information on the ability of a candidate to properly perform tasks or mandates. One can for example assess its overall ability with numbers for a position in the field of accounting. Psychometric tests are also used to obtain a second opinion on skills "soft", that is to say, skills that are more like personality traits such as leadership or initiative and are more difficult to assess objectively.

Psychometric tests therefore provide targeted information on candidates. However, to effectively use the test, it is important to know what you want to evaluate. That is why it is imperative to first ask what are the characteristics that a candidate must possess to effectively occupy the vacant position. A good way to find these performance criteria is to refer to the job description and / or annual goals. Once these "performance criteria" were identified, it is possible to create a selection process that is adapted to your needs and includes relevant psychometric tools. However, the creation of this selection process requires some skill to ensure that psychometric tools assess well the criteria. It is therefore recommended to surround yourself with one or more specialists as a Certified Human Resources Advisor, a guidance counselor or an industrial psychologist. These professionals can guide you not only in your process but also in your choice of psychometric tools.

The importance of quality

There are tools for all tastes and for all portfolios. Regardless of price or reputation, it is important to look at the psychometric properties of the tool.

Several criteria must reflect the quality of a test, for example :

  • Where the test was developed and where respondents who contributed to the standardization of the tool came?
  • What is the age of the test is that the reference points are updated?
  • Is that the test provides acceptable validity? (Ability of the test to assess what needs to be measured).
  • Is that the test is sufficiently accurate? (Test's ability to reproduce the same results if the candidate was a repeat award).
  • What is the ratio of the results allows me to use the information appropriately?

To appreciate the qualities or see the weaknesses of a psychometric tool, it is possible to refer to the manual that should present this information. It is also possible to consult databases of studies that could include the use of the tool in a similar context to your situation. Since psychometric qualities are often presented through quantitative analysis, retain the services of an expert in psychometrics may allow you to shed light on these statistics, which can sometimes seem complex.

Several arrows to reach the target

It is important to collect psychometric testing as a complementary tool and not an end in itself. Attach a test process consists of several other methods such as interviews, taking references, of scenarios or a basket of management (In basket) to assess candidates in several complementary angles.

Although the psychometric test is a useful tool in personnel selection, it should be noted that another very common practice is to use this tool in a perspective of professional development and mobility of labor. For example, tests can help identify skills to develop or be used to evaluate the potential of a management framework that would include switching function in the coming years.

In conclusion, we can say that the psychometric tools selection means and effective development, provided to choose the right tools to analyze the components previously defined as necessary.