Is testing candidates before they apply the future of recruitment?

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Psychometric testing is becoming ever more commonplace in recruitment. However, it is usually something that is carried out at the end of the process, with remaining candidates performing standard testing to check that they fit in with existing company values. But there is growing support for psychometric testing to take place before candidates even apply for jobs.

Companies such as Good&Co (who are part of StepStone, owners of job boards Jobsite and Totaljobs) are tapping into the profile-loving mindset of millennial jobseekers everywhere, by creating app-based solutions specifically designed to target both jobseekers and those with a position to fill.

Using self-led and fun tests, candidates can carry out extensive psychometric testing before applying for jobs, and then look for companies who might be hiring candidates like them. On the other side, companies can set levels of traits that they would like to find in applicants.

Psychometric testing usually happens at the end of the application process, if at all. But this can potentially take all remaining candidates out of the running at the end of a lengthy and costly recruitment drive, simply because no one appears to fit an expected personality profile. Carrying out the testing at the beginning of the process effectively rules out unsuitable candidates from the start, saving time and money.

But critics worry that applying psychometrics before the application process has begun, could result in a lack of diversity, leaving recruiters with a set of essentially identical applicants, eliminating others who might have excelled in the role, but in a different way.

Jason Darby, psychology manager at Thomas International, says that this need not be a concern, "Our research actually suggests psychometrics improves diversity because they remove unconscious human bias and seek just the best qualities irrespective of gender, or race, or academic background."

By not limiting traits to only those shown in current staff and being open minded and creative in thinking of other qualities which might be useful, firms can avoid this.

Early psychometric testing can also be particularly useful in assessing candidates who have no prior work experience.

Bringing psychometric testing to the beginning of the recruitment timeline allows companies and candidates to discover beneficial matches early on, potentially wasting less time (and money) on taking the process further. Finding the very best candidates is high on the list of priorities for employers and making the wrong hiring decision is potentially one of the costliest mistakes they can make, early identification of strong candidates can be useful and productive.