Get insights into critical factors that facilitate the selection process of an effective psychometric assessment system.
Implementing an effective psychometric assessment system can help HR executives reduce the risk of hiring and boost organizational productivity.
The recruitment process at your organization is well underway. The applications for candidates are pouring in. Many of the applicants’ résumés seem excellent, with top academic qualifications and university credentials, impressive-sounding honors and leadership positions, and ostensibly significant achievements.
When you reach the interview phase, numerous prospects still appear promising. They provide excellent responses, appear competent, and seem to know what they’re doing. It all seems good so far, doesn’t it?
However, when these highly professional and competent candidates begin to work, you can’t understand what has happened. They don’t show up on time. They don’t complete the tasks they were to deliver. The work they do deliver fails to meet the quality parameters. To crown it off, they have a terrible attitude which infects the entire team, decreasing their morale and overall productivity.
Does this ring true to you? Is this story more than a figment of your imagination? Is it your reality?
Don’t be alarmed if you answered yes because this is a common challenge that HR executives and recruiters worldwide are struggling with. Finding qualified candidates for a job is daunting, complex, and often feels like a game of chance. Add to this ambiguity, the expense of employing a new staff is exceptionally high.
According to Investopedia, the overall cost of employing a potential staff, encompassing recruiting, training, workplace integration, remuneration, and other expenses, is 1.5 to 3 times the individual’s salary.
Therefore, in the HR profession, the necessity to reduce the risk and expense of hiring is critical. To accomplish this, executives should adopt HR systems that accurately integrate psychometric tests to forecast a candidate’s future performance and work success.
Today, several psychometric systems like DISC, MBTI, 16PF, Big 5, and others are available. However, the question that now arises is, what is a psychometric test and which psychometric system is most suitable for recruitment processes?
When selecting a psychometric assessment system, there are five key factors to consider:
- Accuracy of behavioral prediction
- The time involved and ease-of-use for candidate and administrator
- The commercial value of the system
- Report format
- Traditional Vs Gamified assessments
We will dive deep into the nitty-gritty details of each of these elements over the following five parts, and the answers will reveal themselves.
The five factors are:
- Accuracy of behavioral prediction
- Time and ease-of-use for candidates and administrators
- The commercial value of the system
- Report format
- Traditional Vs Gamified assessments
So, let’s go into the details and examine how each of these elements plays a significant role in the selection process!
1. Accuracy of Behavioral Prediction
In the field of Psychometrics, distinct theories have been proposed over the years, with 16PF, MBTI, Big 5 (OCEAN), and DISC being some of the oldest. These theories are globally approved and recognized in the HR community. On the other hand, other proprietary personality assessment systems claim their model to be better than these global systems.
Multiple Choice Questions: Is there a right or wrong answer?
DISC, MBTI, and the Big 5 are all over 90 years old, even though they were developed after 16PF, a psychometric system regarded as the “mother” of all psychometric systems. However, despite its longevity, 16PF, MBTI, and Big 5 all share one major flaw: they push respondents to choose between extremes.
Consider the MBTI personality psychometric test, which requires you to pick between being ‘Introverted’ or ‘Extroverted.’ It’s the equivalent to asking if one likes or dislikes chocolates! However, since we are a sublime blend of the two extremes, most of us would prefer opting for a third option, i.e., “I like chocolate sometimes, but some other times I prefer pastries.”
The choices are stark and remote in these three psychometric tests for recruitment (16PF, MBTI, and Big 5). There is no comprehensive option that describes what the majority of us genuinely are.
The DISC system outperforms the other systems in this domain. It offers the respondent four alternatives (in an ipsative DISC system) and requires them to opt for those options that most closely and least closely match with their personality. In our chocolate analogy, it’s like being asked, “Which dessert do you prefer and dislike the most: Chocolates, Ice Creams, Pastries, or Pies?” The candidate gets to choose from a collection of 24-28 options in the DISC assessments without limiting them to the two extremes. These alternatives provide the candidate with a variety of possibilities for portraying their actual self.
Ipsative (/ˈɪpsətɪv/; Latin: ipse, “of the self”) is a term used in psychology to describe a sort of test in which respondents evaluate two or more appealing options and choose the one they prefer. This contrasts with measurements that use Normative (Likert-type) scales where respondents select the score (for example, 1 to 5) that best expresses their level of agreement with a particular proposition.
There are numerous DISC personality tests available now. Our variant, Discover Assessments, allows candidates to select the most and least appropriate answers from a collection of four-word choices with 24 rows. The DISC behavioral style assessment ensures that a candidate is tested over the entire behavioral spectrum with such a wide range. Furthermore, because DISC can detect more subtle variations of the personality profile than other systems, DISC reports provide insights into a blend of different personality styles of an individual. As a result, DISC proves to be a fundamentally holistic psychometric system capable of precisely predicting a person’s behavior.
Data Scope and Processing
Most DISC tools provide a basic report that only predicts up to 14 profiles. However, Discover Assessments offers 26 psychometric profiles, giving more significant details about an individual’s behavior patterns.
Furthermore, several proprietary systems brag about the number of inbuilt job systems their tools can test for. All the roles ranging from simple sales executive occupations to more complicated data analyst positions fall under the inbuilt jobs.
No matter how fantastic it appears on paper, the catch is that these jobs aren’t tailored to the organization’s job duties. And hence, require a process to customize them.
Now one method to do so is called ‘normalization’. Before you start guessing about the concept, let’s define it first! Normalization is the process of assessing a sample group of participants within the client company and mapping their scores on a bell curve. The organization must follow the procedure for each role, which makes it a time-consuming and tiresome task that often takes days to complete. Moreover, it must also be repeated every few years, as the norm groups change over time.
The other method is to create customized job fitments. The HR administrator is required to assign a weight to each question concerning the job role specifications. The system would then compute the ideal score for an applicant to be successful in that position. This method is significantly more accessible, does not necessitate regular updates, and increases the likelihood of discovering qualified candidates for a position. The cherry on top is that it takes only 15 minutes to do this in a system like Discover.
Therefore, when evaluating a psychometric assessment tool, consider the range of different behavioral profiles you’ll acquire from the reports and the accuracy it will render in your hiring process.
Now that we understand the relevance of accuracy of behavioral assessment and why DISC is better than the other theories. Let’s now have a look at the next factor:
2. Time Taken for Candidates
Multiple questions are used in many psychometric assessment systems to examine the same personality trait. They look for 10 to 20 different things and have between 100 and 200 questions each. Candidates get weary when an assessment takes close to 60 minutes to complete. Such tests are appropriate for the learning and growth of current personnel but not for recruitment, typically a time-sensitive process. Candidate exhaustion is one of the leading causes of low turnout throughout the recruitment process. As a result, the evaluation needs to be swift but precise.
DISC-based psychometric test online systems commonly include an ipsative test with one question of 24 rows or a normative variant with 86 words to choose from. And this system is, therefore, significantly more practical for recruitment, as each candidate spends no more than 10 minutes on average.
Ease-of-use for administrator
Concerning ease-of-use, there are two aspects to consider:
1. Ipsative vs. Normative
Simply said, ipsative refers to a choice made within oneself, whereas normative refers to a spectrum of options. A candidate may be required to choose one or two options from four in an ipsative exam. For instance, a candidate might be asked to identify the word that most closely or least closely describes their conduct. Though ipsative evaluations can be daunting to candidates, they are fundamentally quite robust because the chances to manipulate them are limited.
On the other hand, candidates may be asked to declare their preference on a Likert scale or to choose as many options as they want from a list of options in a normative evaluation. Candidates, for example, may select a minimum of 20 words from a list of 86 words. As a result, there is higher accessibility of a normative assessment. However, candidates can readily alter their responses, particularly when applying for a job.
2. Assessment Administration
The assessment can be time-consuming to administer. Some systems, for example, require each candidate to have their login ID. For a novice HR executive, creating these IDs is a full-time job in and of itself. Therefore, the applicant assessment should ideally be accessible via an open link to all intended end-users. However, this is only conceivable if one can use the tool indefinitely.
Discover’s personality assessment test link is open to all candidates with no requirement of a separate login ID. Providing an openly accessible link immensely reduces recruiters’ workload, making the employee hiring process much more straightforward.
Furthermore, DISC personality evaluation tools should be compatible with mobile devices. To complete the exam, several products on the market still require flash player-enabled web browsers. Candidates and administrators, on the other hand, can use Discover on any mobile device. An administrator can generate and view a report on a computer or mobile device when a candidate completes the evaluation.
3. The Commercial Value of the System
Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Throughout years of working with numerous organizations, the question “How much does this tool cost?” has consistently emerged.
A salesperson can mislead you with a variety of pricing methods when it comes to the commercial angle. For example, some tools will bill you per candidate, whereas others will charge you for each report, and some others will bring an even more confusing billing system and charge you on a dollar-per-unit or dollar-per-credit basis. It is easy for the prospective buyer to get baffled by these schemes; how do they know what types of reports will they be using and how many assessments will be conducted in a year? Regardless, it’s comparable to staring into a crystal ball.
- Per-Report Model
The tools that charge per report have substantial limitations in terms of utilization. One of the earliest DISC assessment systems, for example, costs dollars per unit and around eight units to access a standard behavioral report. Such a pricing system encourages HR administrators only to utilize the job hiring fitment report and not the other reports. Furthermore, each report being billable works counter-productively to the hiring team’s requirement of gaining as much information as possible about candidates before making a hiring judgment. As a result, these types of billing models do not improve the employee hiring process.
- Per-Person Model
Some systems, on the other hand, charge on a per-person basis. The issue here is that every candidate and/or job position is weighed against the charges before using it. For example, suppose the per-person price is $60. In that situation, the recruitment department funds this technology solely for the middle and upper management. It will be too costly to use for large-scale hiring at junior and entry-level positions.
- The Licensing Model
The third method is the licensing method that Discover uses. Discover inverts the psychometric assessment during the employee recruitment process by making a massive leap in its price approach. The organization receives unrestricted access to use its platform for a set annual cost. This ensures that the cost of the tool does not overrun the HR budget.
In a per-report or per-person pricing system, the psychometric assessment is only used during the final phases on 2 or 3 candidates to make a final hiring choice. The effort of manually screening out the bulk of candidates from the hiring pool increases both the time-to-hire and the number of people needed for the screening process.
The licensing model, on the other hand, allows all candidates to take the test. A single job compatibility report assists the hiring team in eliminating as many individuals from the pool as they require. In essence, if a company has 5000 candidates for 500 job positions, the licensing model allows you to examine all 5000 prospects and then exclude those who do not fulfil the organization’s job compatibility criteria. Thus, this model frees up the workforce previously dedicated to manually weeding out candidates in a per-report or per-person price model and saving time in the recruitment process.
4. Report Format
Complex report formats characterize the older generation of psychometric assessments. The question is, why should it be complicated in the first place? Sales, in a nutshell, is the answer. How else can a behavioral assessment solutions provider gain money via word-of-mouth for what should be a straightforward system?
Surprisingly, many HR professionals are duped by this ruse. Promoting “certification” is the most straightforward approach to sell a psychometric evaluation system. According to the HR professional, the psychometric assessment system is proprietary and complex, requiring hours of special training. They are “certified professionals” in the use of their tool, which gives them a significant advantage on their résumé. To make extra money, the certification is sold separately. And this is selling at its best.
Consider this for a moment. The report is first made more complicated, and then the solution provider “certifies” you to use the tool. It’s like buying a complicated smartphone with many capabilities and then being told that you need to undergo training on using it, and voila, you’re an expert now. In addition, most psychometric tests on the market come with a basic report and an interpretation guide. It’s like getting a blood test report and then having to decode your results using an interpretation guide to make sure you don’t have a life-threatening disease! And, this makes the HR professional’s job of analyzing the report for its intended application much more difficult.
The truth is, no psychometric assessment ever needs to be complex.
Yes, the science behind it is complicated, the computations involved may also be complex, but the report does not have to be convoluted. The report structure in Discover Assessments is so simple to read and use that you may learn how to use the system in about 30 minutes. Its ease of use makes it ideal for recruiting and other talent management tasks.
Additionally, the report is specific in its language and terminologies because it is based on 26 DISC profiles, which means that candidates will be given a report that has already been interpreted. Thus, it is similar to receiving a blood test report with precise interpretations of test results that even a layperson can read and understand. So, this dramatically simplifies ‘hire or don’t hire’ decisions from a recruitment standpoint.
Ultimately, all tools should be examined in light of the organization’s business needs, whether it is for accuracy, commercial value, or time. However, I’ve realized that the most critical demand of all is simplicity.
5. Traditional Vs Gamified Assessments
We are in the 21st century. “Mobile-ready,” “apps,” “millennials,” “on-the-go,” and other buzzwords abound these days. The strange thing about assessment tools is that they are still very much of the twentieth century. For the applicant experience, almost all psychometric tests use the same staid, antiquated, traditional user interface. While the entire world is moving toward gamified assessments, these seasoned and older players prefer to stick with their current assessment interface.
Gamification (noun): The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
There is a significant distinction between game-based and gamified assessments. Game-based assessments use existing games to identify various talents such as speed, accuracy, and memory. They are not based on any psychometric assessments but are rather aptitude or abilities tests. For instance, one can use them to test logical ability, linguistic ability, and other skills, but they are not behavioral tests.
Gamified assessments, on the other hand, are psychometric personality tests with a game-like experience. As a result, the examination includes gaming components such as several levels or rounds, points for reaching certain milestones, timers, visuals, audio, video, etc. These features add to the attraction of gamified psychometric examinations, making them a highly sought-after arrow in a recruiter’s quiver.
And this prompted us to develop Discover, the world’s only gamified DISC assessment. The cherry on top is that it can also be used on a mobile device while on the go. There is no need for any installations or downloads. Because it improves recruiter branding, this has been massively popular with companies targeting millennials.
So, there you have it, my take on the psychometric assessment market and how it works. Do share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.