Psychometrics in the Wrong Hands Can Be Dangerous...

By Martin Ellis

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Let me declare an interest up front. I use psychmoetrics. I didn't always, but I've learned to love them - but not at the expense of the other tools available to me. Good interview skills to assess somebodies skills, experience and enthusiasm are still a vital part of the recruitment process...

If you're going to use psychometrics, you need to use them properly, and remember they are just part of a toolkit. There are many assessments out there you can use. They can use similar science, but they all bring an element of objectivity that will help you make better decisions more often. They WILL NOT guarantee you will make the right employee decisions every time. If anybody tells you differently, they're either fooling themselves or fooling you. Or both.

If you're using psychometrics for the first time, or not happy with the results you're getting by using them, here are my top tips for getting them to help you:



  • Meet and interview the candidates before you get them to complete the assessment. This will mean you have to work on your judgement of any candidate. You can then use the assessment to sense check your own conclusions afterwards. If you use the assessment before you interview a candidate, your expectation will be pre-determined, and that will colour your judgement.
  • And if you're going to second interview, don't let new interviewers see the assessment before they meet the candidate - for the same reason as point 1.
  • Talk to your recruiter if you're not experienced at using these tools. They'll use these assessments regularly and may be able to make you aware of some subtleties and provide insights before you make an appointment decision.
  • Don't sacrifice your other usual recruiting tools. Be thorough with your interviews, background checks and references. You need to have all the tools working to make the best decisions.
  • Don't let psychometrics allow you to stall on decision-making. Having more information doesn't need to mean it takes longer to make a decision - indeed it can speed you up if you're more certain. Too many candidates are lost to indecisiveness.
  • Talk to your preferred candidate about the assessment. It can reveal more than you might have known; indicates how much the candidate understands of themselves - and proves you're interested in them.


Far too many people allow the psychometric to dictate their decision. I've seen people employ the graph (I use D.I.S.C. from Thomas International which delivers a simple graphic that can describe certain job types) rather than the person.

Psychometric analysis is a powerful tool, but like any tool, if you give it to an idiot, you can blow your foot off.

Best not, eh?

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