Sunday, December 1, 2013

Is a job interview enough?

Psychometric testing is an interesting topic when it comes to recruitment – you either love it or hate it. I sit on the fence with it. Sometimes it can be useful as one of many indicators to assist in deciding on the best candidate.

Recently, I worked with a client to recruit for a few senior roles. One of these tests we utilised was an emotional intelligence test. Management roles involve managing multiple staff, so this type of testing can provide employers with interesting feedback. If you are wondering what emotional intelligence testing can tell you, the provider’s website provides you with the following summary:

“Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) refers to a person’s capacity to effectively reason about emotions and to use emotions to enhance thought and solve problems.

Individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence (EI) are generally better able to perceive, identify and manage emotions in themselves and others, making them more effective at achieving goals when emotional based information is important.  This is particularly important in activities involving team work, dealing with others on a one-on-one basis and displaying leadership behaviours.”

After shortlisting 3 candidates, we then sent this online test to each person to complete within 48 hours from their home computer. The interview panel where then able to assess the results before the interview.  More specific questions relating to their results where then asked during the interview to get more of an understanding of their management style. From my experience so far, the results have proven to be reasonably accurate.

There are also skills tests (as opposed to Psychometric tests) that employers can tap into. I have a few IT clients so the skills tests are a great way to test a candidate’s general understanding of programming languages such as C++. There are also cognitive ability tests that measure verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning.  This is an important skill to have for budding programmers.

And then there are the simple tests that don’t require any form of Psychometric or cognitive ability testing. For example, if you are looking to recruit for a Reception role, set up a test that involves the candidate receiving a phone call and taking a message. The purpose of the test is to see if the candidate is able to properly record a phone message. The results will sometimes surprise you.

Practical and formal testing can assist you in making a more informed choice. If you stick to ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses’ and ‘who would you invite to dinner’ style questions only, you may find yourself performance managing your new recruit within the first month.

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