Recruiting new hires is a bit of a minefield. The stakes are so high, and yet the decision can often feel like something of a gamble.

There are so many variables, and so much seems unknown.

The technical competence can often be nailed down through some well-constructed questions and scenarios, but it’s the less tangible that blurs the decision-making equation.

  • Will the incumbent get on with their colleagues?
  • Are they a nice person ?
  • How will they handle a crisis ?
  • Did they pull the wool over my eyes in the interview?
  • Are they complex thinkers and good problem solvers?
  • Do they have integrity?
  • Are they team players?
  • Can they lead

The list is endless. We all know that in a few months, it will be clear, and we’ll know a lot more about them, but for now, well, a decision has to be made.

That’s why we have psychometrics.

Literally psychological measurement. Not perfect, but it is a way to exponentially reduce the risk. Psychometrics is a social science.

Assessments are designed to peel away the layers and take a deeper look at the incumbent. The tools used are finely calibrated instruments that go through years of testing to determine efficacy. It’s no mean feat.

Test development is a scientific niche that forces instruments through multiple torturous analytics that finesse their items and yield measures highly correlated with job performance.

Every tool has metrics that give credence to their credibility. These are called psychometric properties, and they describe such dimensions as the consistency of the tool, the extent to which they carry “noise”, how regularly they can be used on the same individual in a short period, and perhaps most importantly, the degree to which their results reflect real-world behaviours.

Psychometrics are a short-cut to getting reliable answers before a decision is made.

There are many thousands of tests available on the market, but only a handful need to be used to obtain a level of clarity. A test battery will be tailored to the competencies of the roles and the requirements of the organisation and hiring manager.

Its is generally important to know about cognitive abilities of the new recruit.

How smart are they?

Smart people do better in roles than less smart as they can adapt their thinking and solve novel problems. Sometimes, higher levels of complex thinking are required. Senior roles often demand that incumbents can be strategically prescient, or disrupters, or visionaries. It just depends.

Then the behaviours of the person are key.

Personality is complicated, but much can be distilled in terms of their predicted emotional response to crises, to conflict, and to power. Possible counter-productive behaviours also need to be scrutinized.

  • Will they be manipulative?
  • Will they take responsibility?
  • Are they organized and planful?

In any senior battery, there are many such questions that will be asked and answered. And here’s the thing, it’s not very expensive.

A battery on a senior person will come in at a fraction of their first month’s salary.

Please see: The Cost of a Bad Hire: Impacts and what you can do to protect your company

Psychometrics require interpretation.

All those measurements need to be seen in a holistic context. They paint a complex picture and tell a story about someone who needs to be teased out through knowledge and experience.

Psychometrics does not pretend to reveal everything, but it does generally reveal enough to provide comfort in making crucial hiring decisions. Our business trades in psychometrics, but as psychometric professionals, we are never over-awed by their results.

We work hard to find the person behind the numbers, and we serve to protect our clients from the vast multitude of populist and bad tools. Not all assessments are created equally.

In a world such as ours, where we are bombarded by disinformation, distorted social media and algorithmic news feeds, isn’t it refreshing to use some information that just provides some really useful clarity ?