IDEX Consulting: Knowledge Centre

The not so dark art of Psychometric testing

Posted by Matt Green on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 @ 10:06 AM

For the uninitiated, psychometric testing can be seen as a dark art and a consequently daunting interview task to undertake.

There is a concern that failing such a test could jeopardise your career but those in the know understand that there is nothing to fear from psychometric testing but a lot to learn from taking the personality tests.

The not so dark art of psychometric testing

Psychometric testing has become an increasingly important part of the interview process. Previously clients were concerned with numerical skill and literacy but many are now realising the importance of matching the right type of person and personality to specific roles and teams.

There are a number of different tests you may come up against in your search for an opportunity. Well-known tests include the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, 16 Personality Factors and DISC Profile, all of which break personalities down into 16 types.

All tests put forward a range of scenarios and ask the talent to choose a response from a multiple choice list.

Clients may use psychometric testing to whittle down a large number of applicants or to find out more about talent they are interested in, often at the second stage of interview.

Whatever stage the test is administered, it is key to remember there are no right or wrong answers. Despite misconceptions, the tests do not have pass or fail scores – they are subjective and designed to pinpoint attitudes, values and habits.

Many people make the mistake of trying to fill in what they perceive to be the right answers but it is more important to fill in the questionnaire honestly. Most tests have regulating questions to check whether your answers are consistent and will catch you out if you try and fill in the ‘correct’ answer.

By filling in the questionnaire honestly the client will be able to place you in a career that is most suitable to your skills and personality.

Katy Baxter, co-director of Independent Financial Advisor firm Baxter & Lindley Financial Services, uses the Kolbe method of psychometric testing when interviewing prospective talent.

The Kolbe test provides a score on four personality aspects – fact-find, follow-through, quick start and implementation – to pinpoint strengths.

“I know who the best ‘follow-through’ people are in my company so I can assign the appropriate person to work on a project,” she said.

“[Psychometric testing] has made a real difference to our recruitment process. I know what my skills are so I can employ people whose skills complement mine and understand how people work in general.”

If you have not completed a psychometric test before and are nervous about doing so, there are some things you should remember.

  1. Do not try to guess what the client is looking for, just be yourself – your personality may be just what they are looking for.
  2. Do not agonise over your answers, select the response that comes to mind first.
  3. The results of your psychometric test will be taken into account with a number of factors, including your CV and interview, so do not concentrate too much on it.
  4. If you are finding a question tough do not abandon it, try to answer each question.

Psychometric testing can be a positive task for the interviewee. Always ask for feedback on your test as it is a great way to learn more about yourself and the career opportunities that are best for you.

For more ideas from the experts at IDEX, download our eGuide Four Ways to Progress Your Career as a Financial Advisor.


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Topics: General Insurance, Financial Services, Career, Interview, Personality Factors, Psychometric Testing, DISC Profile