Psychometric tests are becoming big for jobs. You can try one here. – The Australian Financial Review - Freelance Rack

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Psychometric tests are becoming big for jobs. You can try one here. – The Australian Financial Review

Greater demand for psychometric assessments might also come from hiring managers inside companies, argues Anita Wingrove, a consulting director of Korn Ferry’s assessment and succession practice.

Whereas the hiring manager may previously have been looking only for a candidate with the requisite technical skills, now they are more likely to want an expert who also displays leadership qualities such as empathy, adaptability and the ability to cope with ambiguity. In other words, it is no longer just the human resources department that is on the hunt for skills beyond the purely technical.

“The hiring manager can also see that I need this person to be really able to wrap their arms around the piece of the business they are running and lead the people,” Wingrove says.

Saville says psychometric assessments are valuable for a variety of reasons: as many as 90 per cent of candidates distort the truth “to some extent” during interviews; interviewers have unconscious biases; and experience is a “relatively” weak predictor of performance.

Jeremy Piper

Anna Young of Wesfarmers says the company wants candidates to have the best chance to truly reflect who they are in psychometric testing.  Jeremy Piper

Unlike behavioural tests, aptitude tests are untimed.

Most recruitment experts stress that psychometric assessments form only part of the recruitment process, even when they are used as part of the selection process.

Wingrove says: “With respect to mid-level and emerging executive level roles, psychometric testing is only one data point amongst an array of information that is considered, including information from the resumé, interviews and references.

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“It helps to complete the story about a candidate. At this level, candidates should not feel that a job is won or lost on one data point alone.”

ANZ Bank puts all external job candidates through some form of psychometric testing. The information gleaned from the assessments may raise a red flag about a candidate that can be explored in more detail during interviews. It is also useful for providing unsuccessful candidates with feedback and to help set up the winning candidate for a successful career at the bank.

With greater remote working, the way you inspire others needs to be done differently.

— Mary Lyrus, MinterEllison

“It is one of a number of inputs. You get a rich set of data,” says Kath van der Merwe, group executive for talent at culture at the Melbourne-based bank.

Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings and discount chain Kmart, uses psychometric testing as part of the onboarding process, although the Perth-based company does not systematically use such testing across the board. Rather, it depends on the division and the job.

“We use it as a development tool. We use it to figure out how we have a diverse range of people,” says Jenny Bryant, Wesfarmers’ chief human resources officer.

Demand for different talents

Anna Young, Wesfarmers general manager of leadership and talent, says: “We’re more interested in saying: given you are this type of person, how do we make for a smooth onboarding? What are the implications for you in our culture? How can we actually get the best out of you?”

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In the coming months, some companies are expected to test for different traits to reflect the personal characteristics they deem important for executives to thrive.

Mary Lyras, chief talent officer at MinterEllison, says the law firm’s capability framework is under review. The requirement for core skills, including thinking, decision-making, interpersonal skills and self awareness, will not change, but the ability to adapt is likely to come into “sharper focus”.

Sound communication skills and the ability to connect with people are also likely to come to the fore. “With greater remote working, the way you inspire others needs to be done differently,” Lyras says.

A greater emphasis on agility and adaptability is also noted by Korn Ferry’s Wingrove, given the pace at which technology and the business landscape is changing.

“Because there is so much uncertainty and things are moving fast, the senior leader can’t do it all and he or she has to delegate more to mid-level leaders so they can be more effective. They need them, therefore, to be more agile,” she says.

Wingrove has advice for candidates being put through psychometric testing.

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Complete the cognitive assessments, which are usually timed, in the morning when you are fresh and ensure you are free from distractions. Young recommends candidates do sample tests, which can usually be sent by the company or the search firm.

We send them the practice tests link,” says Young. “And we encourage them to do it so they can get familiar. We want people to have the best chance to truly reflect who they are in the test. We don’t want to catch them out.”

Adds Ruhfus: “It makes sense to help candidates to be as prepared as they can.”

If you would like to see what psychometric tests are all about, click here for free access to samples of aptitude tests and a behavioural test from Saville Assessment.



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