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Using Feedback from a Psychometric Test

Using Feedback from a Psychometric Test

Our increasingly competitive job market has led to a growing number of applicants per vacancy. This means that even the strongest candidates are likely to face disappointment throughout the selection process. With this in mind, it is becoming ever more important for candidates to receive feedback on their performance so they know how they can improve for future assessments.

It is good practice for employers to give to candidates after they have taken a psychometric test or attended an assessment centre. This is the least they can do after the candidate has gone to the trouble of applying and preparing for their assessments. Unfortunately not all employers follow this practice because it takes them time and resource. Some organisations will provide feedback, either in the form of a written letter, over the telephone or during a face-to-face meeting. If you do receive feedback, it is vital that you use this opportunity wisely as it may be your key to future job success.

Recruiters using psychometric tests usually agree to be bound by the industry-standard guidelines set by the British Psychological Society, which encourages them to provide feedback to every candidate as a matter of principle.

Some helpful pointers when receiving feedback

Finding out that you haven’t been selected for a job is always difficult, so try and take a moment out for yourself before delving straight in to examining your performance. Try not to jump to the conclusion that you aren’t good enough for your dream job. Instead, try to take a more balanced view – might it mean that you just need to do more preparation next time?

It can be really helpful to know your individual score for each psychometric test you completed. Percentile scores are particularly useful as they indicate how your performance compared to other people who took the test and can help you to identify which tests were relative strengths and weaknesses for you. For example, you might find that you performed well on the verbal reasoning test but that you were let down by your numerical reasoning score and need to polish up on your basic maths skills for next time.  Whilst there can be no right or wrong answers on personality questionnaires, feedback can indicate if there are particular attributes you need to further develop in order to achieve a greater ‘fit’ with the organisation. For example, you might consider assertiveness or social skills training.

Finally, if employers want to discuss feedback with you directly, it is important to remember that this may be another part of their assessment of you. Take this as an opportunity to respectfully share your own views about your performance, to clarify the feedback and to ask for their advice on where they think you could improve and how.

Taking Psychometric Tests with a Hearing Impairment

How might a hearing impairment affect your performance?

People with hearing difficulties may be disadvantaged in job selection processes which use psychometric tests to identify the most able candidates. Hearing problems can impact test performance in many ways. For example, candidates may struggle to understand the verbal instructions which often accompany psychometric tests. Furthermore, people who have been without hearing from childhood and primarily use sign language may be less familiar with the English language and, therefore, particularly disadvantaged on tests requiring reading (e.g. verbal reasoning tests) and writing.

How can employers help?

In line with the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure candidates with hearing impairments are not disadvantaged by selection processes.  The British Psychological Society (BPS) has yet to develop specific guidelines for testing hearing impaired candidates; however, they outline some of the main considerations in their publication: Psychometric Testing for people with a hearing impairment (BPS, 2010). Here, the BPS recommends that employers:

  • Seek advice from test publishers in regard to what amendments can be made.
  • Make any adjustments on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs of the candidate.
  • Use sign language interpreters for giving instructions and facilitating the test environment but not for interpreting questions on written tests.
  • Provide written instructions if candidates are able to read.
  • Offer candidates practice questions, in order to anticipate potential test difficulties.

How can you help?

If you have a hearing impairment, it is vital that you inform the employer as far in advance as possible, so that they can make the necessary arrangements for you. Try and be specific about the nature of your hearing difficulty and what aids could help you. You might also like to familiarise yourself with the different types of psychometric tests you will be expected to take so that you can anticipate what adjustments would be most helpful to you.  At AssessmentDay you can download a range of practice tests, including verbal reasoning tests, numerical reasoning tests and inductive reasoning tests.

Study Claims Link Between Facebook Profile and Job Performance

The aim of psychometric tests used in recruitment is to get a clearer understanding of someone and how they will perform in a job. Interviews are one way of predicting how well a potential employee might get on, but interviews are notoriously hit-and-miss and occasionally bordering on useless as a job performance indicator. Step up psychometrics: a more objective, fair, reliable measure of future job performance.

So it is with great interest that we heard about a study claiming to use people’s Facebook profile to build a personality profile of applicants. The study has been compiled by the Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University. The study used human resource professionals to analyse the Facebook profiles of 56 people.

The best way to build a personality profile is to ask the respondent a series of questions, with scales of how well they agree or disagree with each statement. This new study claims to be able to grade people on the ‘Big Five’ personality scale not through questionnaires but through looking at their Facebook profile for around 10 minutes. The personality factors measured are often referred to as: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Ten minutes? Facebook profile? Interesting idea but we’re back to bordering on useless. In fact, the results of any attempt to map a Facebook profile to someone’s Big Five personality traits might be worse than useless; they’re probably misleading. Careers and employment are issues to be taken seriously and are to be given thorough consideration on the part of both the employer and employee.

We welcome all attempts to predict future job performance of applicants, but this idea should remain in the ‘work in progress’ pile.

Dyslexia and Taking Psychometric Tests

Why might dyslexia cause you difficulties?

Dyslexia can cause difficulties in reading, writing and spelling. It has also been associated with impairments in working memory, processing speed, perception and motor skills.  These skills and functions are called upon when potential employees are asked to complete aptitude tests as part of the recruitment process.  It is possible then that candidates with dyslexia are somewhat disadvantaged in this process, particularly when undertaking literacy-based psychometric tests (e.g. verbal reasoning and verbal comprehension tests).

How can you help the employer help you?

In line with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, employers are aware of their legal responsibility to select candidates through a fair and non-discriminatory system.  However, as a candidate, there are a number of steps you can take to help your potential employers make the necessary amendments.

Firstly, it is important to inform the organisation as soon as possible that you have dyslexia. They may want to ask you further details on your diagnosis and the severity of your difficulties. It is commonly understood that dyslexia affects each individual differently and so it is likely that your potential employers will want to know the specific impact on you and your test performance. It may also be useful to inform them about adjustments made for you during previous test or exam situations (e.g. increased time allowance or the use of a scribe).

What next?

Finally, it can be beneficial to familiarise yourself with the types of aptitude tests you will be expected to complete. At AssessmentDay, we have a range of practice papers that will enable you to experience different kinds of psychometric tests; including verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and inductive reasoning. This will allow both you to anticipate what, if any, difficulties you may encounter on the assessment day and will give you a great opportunity to practice your skills.