There has been a great deal of continued debate on the actual appropriateness of using psychometric testing as a key selection tool in the recruitment process. Concerns for example have been raised over the adverse impact they have with particular regard to candidates from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’ such that we ask the following questions:
- How fair, transparent and inclusive are psychometrics at the point of making actual selection decisions?
- Are the candidates selected, selected fairly and is due regard particularly paid to the diverse experiences, skills and backgrounds of all ‘candidate types’ at the initial point of designing psychometric tests?
An added concern also exists in terms of the fact that even the most ardent supporter of psychometrics accepts that they characteristically possess adverse impact on certain groups and are therefore not as capable, as had been previously thought, of predicting future candidate success or suitability post being recruited into particular positions. Indeed, there is the added thinking that psychometrics, if not designed and used appropriately can contribute to the syndrome known as ‘recruiting in ones image’ – leading to monocultures remaining rife at particular organisational levels and importantly, indirectly fuelling certain intellectual and social stereotypes related to particular groups of people, i.e. women, ethnic minorities, candidates with disability, etc.
In terms of organisational best practice that specifically meets the needs of today’s typical ‘global’ candidate then, it should be a fundamental prerequisite that all psychometric types (verbal, numerical reasoning, etc) be thoroughly diversity proofed or equality audited prior to being put to use to ensure they are in fact fit-for-purpose. Indeed, test publishers should consider the necessity of proactively working more collaboratively with diversity professionals in the design of tests initially.
In addition, all tests, as standard practice, should be used amongst a host of other assessment types (interviews, individual and group exercises, presentations, etc) to genuinely ensure fairness in candidate selection. This will go a long way to eradicating adverse impact – and is to be seen as a priority for promoting effective talent management and development in our individual organisations.
Suffice it to mention that the thoughts expressed above actually sit at the very heart of the corporate global agenda – alluded to in part in Lord Davies’ report last month on Gender inclusivity in the FTSE 100, but importantly, is actually all about promoting best practice and efficiencies in our recruitment, selection and development processes – regardless of particular ‘diversity based’ initiatives.
NB: Look out for a forthcoming article where we explore these issues a bit further entitled: ‘Are test publishers doing the ‘diversity agenda’ a disservice??’