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Psychometric Tests in Human Resources Management Essay

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Updated: Dec 30th, 2020

Individual differences are a great source of diversity, which is an important component of innovation and creativity in organisations. Therefore, instead of managers limiting it, they should study its influence on organisational behaviour at both interpersonal and group levels. One of the tools used in understanding diversity is psychometric testing. In modern organisations, psychometric testing has become a very powerful and effective tool for human resource management. Examples of common tests used by organisations include personality, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, accuracy, and knowledge tests. Psychometric tests are useful in the management of human resources to the extent that they are used for hiring and recruitment, job analysis, job satisfaction assessment, performance appraisal, team building, training and development, and turnover analysis.

Psychometric tests are useful only if human resource managers know the needs of their companies. Every organisation should have well-established measures of job performance that can be used to evaluate whether a potential candidate has the qualities necessary for a particular job (Bratton & Gold 2012). It is impractical to use a psychometric test to predict an individual’s job performance if the organisation lacks quantitative measures of assessing employee performance. Hiring is one of the areas that psychometric tests are applied. Personality tests are common during hiring and recruitment. Research has shown that this type of testing is not very common as only 18 percent of companies use them in the hiring process to determine an individual’s suitability for a certain job (Syed & Kramar 2017). It is more beneficial to focus on dependent variables rather than independent variables (Bratton & Gold 2012). If cognitive and personality tests are used appropriately, they could give a clear picture of an employee’s potential, and help the organisation avoid hiring unqualified individuals. However, the tests could be unhelpful to the organisation if they are wrongly administered or if they fail to abide by the law.

There are limits to which psychometric testing can be applied in certain human resource management functions. For example, precepts of the Americans with Disabilities Act discourage the extensive application of psychometric testing because it can be used to discriminate against individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses (Carbery & Cross 2013). Psychometric tests can reveal certain aspects of an individual’s health or mental condition, and as such, be used to rule them out for certain jobs based on their mental status. The National Football League has limited the use of psychometric testing to basic evaluation after claims of racial discrimination were presented (Syed & Kramar 2017). Tests that are designed for the diagnosis of susceptibility to conditions such as depression, personality disorders, and other mental illnesses are discriminatory and illegal unless the jobs involve special safety considerations.

Psychometric tests are useful in organisations to the extent that they provide information that can be used to enhance employee motivation, performance, diversity, and overall employee wellbeing. For example, the measurement of emotional resilience, stress tolerance, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership skills is useful in human resource management (Carbery & Cross 2013). However, using psychometric tests to evaluate the mental status of employees is unhelpful because it is illegal and could lead to discrimination in the workplace. Organisations should use psychometric tests sparingly because they can compromise the ability to create a diverse workforce and a healthy organisational culture (Spry 2015). The homogenization of recruitment using psychometric testing could lead to the creation of a generic organisation that lacks the diversity needed for success in today’s world that is highly globalised and competitive (Saville 2016). In that regard, companies should avoid using psychometric testing to weed out employees because they could fire highly innovative and creative individuals.

Psychometric tests are unhelpful if they are used to predict employee behaviour. For instance, some companies administer tests that are designed to identify employees who are likely to engage in unethical behaviour within the workplace. Allegedly, the tests determine whether an employees is honest, trustworthy, and conscientious. One of the challenges of psychometric testing is the propensity to over-interpret results (Cripps 2017). In that case, the tests become a source of problems to human resource management. Interpretation might be based on a lack of proper knowledge with regard to what a specific test is supposed to assess. It is thus necessary for companies to utilise the expertise of test providers to administer and analyse results (Sanghi 2014). Many companies do not benefit from psychometric tests because they rely on test results only to make critical human resource decisions (Cripps 2017). For instance, a human resource manager might fire an employee because their verbal or abstract reasoning skills are below average as indicated by the results of a simple test. Psychometric tests must be used in conjunction with other employee assessment methods for them to beneficial to human resource management (Sanghi 2014). Overreliance on test results is harmful because an employee’s results can be inaccurate due to the effect of anxiety and fatigue (Bach & Edwards 2012. Moreover, an employee can prepare for the test and manipulate the answers to fit a certain evaluation standard, thus giving false results.

In conclusion, it can be stated that psychometric tests are useful to the management of human resources to the extent that they are used to improve employee motivation, conduct job analysis, evaluate job turnover, hire qualified employees, and assess job satisfaction. The need for diversity in companies is one of the reasons why human resource managers should use psychometric tests cautiously. Diversity is the main source of innovation in an organisation. The evaluation of individual differences on based on aspects such as emotional intelligence, stress tolerance, personality, reasoning, and leadership should guide the administration of tests. It is imperative for managers to seek the assistance of professionals in order t ensure that tests are in compliance with the law and the results are analysed in the proper manner. Psychometric test are not helpful if they are used to evaluate employee’s mental health or predict employee behaviour.

References

Bach, S & Edwards, M 2012, Managing human resources: human resource management transition, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Bratton, J & Gold, J 2012, Human resource management: theory and practice, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Carbery, R & Cross, C 2013, Human resource management: a concise introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Cripps, B 2017, Psychometric testing: critical perspectives, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Sanghi, S 2014, Human resource management, Vikas Publishing House, Delhi.

Saville, P 2016, From obscurity to clarity in psychometric testing: selected works of professor Peter Saville, Psychology Press, New York.

Spry, D 2015, Psychometric testing pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks, New York.

Syed, J & Kramar, R 2017, Human resource management: a Global and critical perspective, Springer, New York.

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