Dread? Suspicion? Scepticism?

Confusion? Interest? Fear?

What do you feel when you hear the words “Psychometric Assessment”?
I’ve used Psychometric Assessment for over 30 years- first as an educational psychologist then as a business consultant. I’ve found  aptitude, ability and personality/ behavioural assessments add real value to recruitment and development initiatives. In my experience, once clients use them and find the right tool for their needs, they continue to use them.

However,  I can completely understand people’s confusion or scepticism and, in the wrong hands they may be unhelpful or even do some damage. To me, the profiles or reports are only a small part of the story; the quality of feedback, suggested interview questions based on the profiles or team sessions built around them are more important.

I was carrying out coaching seasons recently for a client-she works as a manager in a small team. She had been attending a team-building session where a psychometric tool had been used. However rather than enhancing respect, understanding and communication, the session degenerated into a tearful, angry session which the facilitator did not manage to rescue.
This created a feeling of mistrust and my client’s confidence was severely dented. Clearly, without skills and experience, these tools may be at best ineffective and, at worst, destructive.

Psychometric assessments used with skill and knowledge can illuminate behavioural and personality traits to:

  • add rigour to selection processes
  • provide depth and objectivity to coaching conversations
  • add a self-awareness element to training workshops.

Psychometric assessment can illuminate, educate and enhance decision making. However, they should be treated with care and we should strive to ensure we see people as a whole rather than a collection of a few traits. In short, we need to validate the results.

” … People like to narrow you down to a few personality traits. I think I’ve become this ambitious, say whatever’s on her mind, intimidating person. And that’s part of my personality, but it’s certainly not anywhere near the whole thing”

Words from Pop star, Madonna.
Wise words, Madonna, wise words.

Julie McDonald
Director of People Solutions
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