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Identifying High-Performing Candidates – how psychometric tests improve your hit-rate

Identifying High-Performing Candidates – how psychometric tests improve your hit-rate

No one starts a recruitment process aiming to hire average or poor performers. And yet, that’s what happens every day in organisations all over the world. But why?

Organisations need high performing people if they’re looking to create a talent pipeline capable of driving innovation, growth, and long-term success. Most have some high performing members of staff. The problem is, they don’t know what it is about these people that makes them high performers. So, when they start looking for more people, capable of operating at that level, it becomes a process of hit or miss rather than laser-like precision trying to find them.

Psychometric tests offer an objective approach to assessing candidates’ potential for future success. In this guide, we’ll explore how to use them, effectively, to identify candidates with the potential to become high performing employees.

1. Define the Criteria for High Performance

Before starting to use psychometric tests, it’s essential to clarify what defines high performance within your organisation.  If you currently have high-performing members of staff, it’s a great start (although I’ve lost count of the number of organisations that have told me ‘we don’t have any top performers’).

They should become the benchmark against which future candidates (and your existing workforce) can be measured provided what you measure are the characteristics that really make them successful. Your psychometric test provider will help you identify what they are and how you should measure them.

2. Select the Right Psychometric Tests

Choose psychometric tests that are capable of measuring the criteria for high performance that are important to your organisation. Too many tests are a pre-determined (by the provider) group of measures that assessment providers use for every customer and every role. Is your business REALLY that generic?

No two businesses (just like no two people) are identical. What you measure should reflect what makes your business successful – and what differentiates it. If you define what you need to measure – then measure something different – why would you be surprised if you don’t end up recruiting what you were looking for?

But Buyer Beware – it’s still up to you to ensure that the selected tests have been validated for the intended purpose and are appropriate for the target population. Beware the salesman’s promise – make sure you get their assurances in writing!!

3. Administer Tests Fairly and Consistently

Ensure that psychometric tests are administered fairly and consistently to all candidates to minimise bias and ensure fair treatment. Standardise your test administration procedures, provide clear instructions to candidates and stick to ethical guidelines for test administration and interpretation.

4. Make sure you look at test results in the context of the entire recruitment process

Psychometric tests should only be a maximum of one third of your hiring decision and should never be the sole element on which you base a ‘hire/don’t hire’ decision. Think of it as Past, Present and Future. The Past is their career to date, their CV and any references they may have. The Present is the person sitting in front of you (or on the other end of the phone/Teams/Zoom line) at interview.

The Future is where Psychometric Tests come in, predicting how someone is likely to perform, based on the standard set by people who already perform well. Put simply, if someone scores 100% on their Psychometric Test but you can’t imagine them working in your company, DON’T HIRE THEM.

5. Identify Development Areas

Don’t reject someone because they’re NOT a 100% match (no one ever is). Use psychometric test results to identify areas where high-performance candidates may benefit from targeted development interventions. For example, if a candidate demonstrates strong leadership potential but scores lower on certain personality traits associated with collaboration or emotional intelligence, consider that you may need to provide coaching or training to enhance these skills. For many candidates, this may represent a worthwhile investment but recognise that, in the eyes of some of your colleagues, it also represents an additional cost for employing them.

6. Provide Feedback to Candidates

Offer candidates constructive feedback on their psychometric test results, highlighting their strengths and areas for development. Quality Psychometric Tests will provide an ancillary report, free of charge, that can be shared with the candidate. In essence, without sharing your proprietary information, it tells candidates what you now know about them, as a result of them taking the test.

7. Monitor Progress

Track the progress of high-performance candidates over time, monitoring their performance, development, and readiness for future leadership roles. Remember that psychometric tests can only tell you if someone has the potential to be a high-performing employee. Ensuring they turn into one is called management and no psychometric test can do that for you!

Psychometric tests are valuable tools for identifying high-performing candidates and assessing their readiness for future leadership roles from a group of people you’ve never met before. By defining criteria for high performance, selecting the right psychometric tests, administering them consistently, looking at results in the wider context, identifying development areas, providing feedback to candidates and monitoring progress over time, organisations can, effectively, identify and develop a pipeline of talented individuals capable of driving organisational success.

If you would like to know more about how psychometric assessments can help you, please get in touch.

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