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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Test For Staff Selection


As a global test publisher of psychometric and other tests that are widely used in the hiring process, Pearson TalentLens highlights five common mistakes to avoid when choosing an assessment

It is an accepted position that if someone possesses the right skills for a job but has personality traits or values incompatible with the organisation, they may struggle to work effectively with any longevity.

he same logic can be applied to recruiters' choice of psychometrics during the hiring process - if the tools used do not fit the requirements of the role for example, it follows that the right people may not make it through.

Read on to reveal 5 mistakes to avoid when considering using psychometrics for recruitment.

1) Choosing an assessment where knowledge, ability, and/or work styles measured are not job-relevant. 

Assessments used for employee selection should be related to the requirements of the job. Whilst this may sound obvious, it is amazing how many recruiters use assessments that have little relevance to the skills, abilities, behaviours or competencies required for the role.

A thorough job analysis should be carried out before the recruitment campaign begins. This will then identify those skills, academic qualifications, relevant experience, behaviours, preferences and abilities that are compulsory and those that are desirable as well as the weighting that should be assigned to each area.

Assessing for irrelevant competencies and characteristics is not only a waste of time and money but can lead to the perception by the applicant that the hiring process is tedious or unfair which could open the employer up to legal challenges.


2) Not ensuring that assessments are fair and objective.

If administering online tests, for example, ensure that all applicants are able to complete them digitally. If they cannot, offer them the opportunity to do a paper version or exclude them from this assessment.

Tests marked electronically are scored consistently whilst those scored by a person are more open to human error. Some of the most popular assessments such as un-structured interviews and presentations can be open to subjective bias by the interviewer.

Using social media profiles such as Facebook to screen job applicants is growing in popularity. This is very open to subjective bias and a 2013 study has shown almost no correlation between the ratings assigned by recruiters to profiles before they were hired and actual performance in the role.


3) Choosing an assessment that is not reliable.

There are many assessments available that have not been developed using quality psychometric standards and are not reliable.

An unreliable assessment cannot be valid and, therefore, will not be useful as an assessment tool.


4) Choosing an assessment that has not been properly validated for the position being filled.

Any assessment used for selection should be validated (that is, the scores should be statistically demonstrated to be related to successful job performance).

The publisher should provide related validity evidence.  If time and budget allow we strongly recommend that the user should conduct a local validation when feasible.  Many organisations do this by profiling existing staff to determine which behaviours in particular correlate with desired performance. 


5) Ensure that assessments adhere to equal opportunities policies.

Assessments should discriminate between individuals, but only on skill or ability

Assessments should not discriminate against gender, ethnicity etc. or disadvantage those with disabilities.


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Read a previous post about the importance of training for users of psychometric tests


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