Posts Tagged ‘recruitment assessments’

Psych Tests & What They’re For

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

The main reason we write this blog is to help bridge the gap between the general world of work, and the more technical subject of psychometric assessment for the workplace. While our psychology practice specialises in providing psychometric testing, our underlying commitment is to helping everyone achieve career and life satisfaction through good job fit.

For individuals, if you do what you like to do and what you are good at, then you can live a happier and more fulfilled life. For organisations and employers, if you find the right staff, you can maximize efficiency, engagement, culture fit and teamwork.

Psychometric assessment used well is a very useful tool to help achieve this.

Everyone understands the general concepts of work and what it’s for: we go to work to earn income, to provide product and services to the general community and we keep the economy turning over. But psychometrics, on the other hand, can seem more mysterious. Despite a growing use of psychometric assessment in the workplace, to the extent that these days most people will have been psych tested for an employment role at some time in their career, how psych testing works is not so generally well understood.

Essentially, there are two kinds of psych tests for the workplace: Ability (or Aptitude) and Personality assessments. In simple terms, Ability assessments tell us if a person can do a given job, and Personality assessments tell us how a person will do the job.

Even though there seem to be hundreds of psych tests for the workplace available (and of various usefulness and validity), which all make different claims for our attention, in the end, the important thing to know is that they assess personality and ability. And that makes things more straightforward to understand.

The other thing to understand is that psychometric assessments are simply a statistical analysis of data that is provided by the person who attempts the assessment. They are not magic, they can’t read minds, and they are not designed to trick you (although they do have measures built in to tell if someone is cheating). By asking a respondent to answer a number of questions, the answers can then be put together statistically to give a result. This result then provides a picture for the candidate and the employer.

Psychometric assessment should never be used in isolation, but always as part of a recruitment or selection process, or for staff development down the track. Psychometric assessment provides an objective measure that fits into and integrates with a wider Human Resources process that includes interviews, resume and reference checks.

Some psych tests are better and more credible than others, just as some psychometric providers are more expert, knowledgeable and helpful than others, but what all psych tests have in common is that they statistically use answers to questions given by a respondent to provide an overview or picture.

In the end, psychometric assessment is used in the workplace because it provides an objective and cost-effective way (since it can save a lot of time and effort) to help employers make decisions about their staff. And for individuals, it can help us understand more about ourselves, and the way we work.

Work is essential to adult life, and the more fulfilling it is, the more balanced and satisfying our lives can be. In Human Resources and the world of work, psychometric assessments can have an important role in achieving good job fit and ultimately that means work-life balance.


Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

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NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl and his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.