Recruitment – Should I use psychometric testing?


Recruitment – Should I use psychometric testing?

Have you ever interviewed someone who looks great on paper and interviews well but there’s still something you’re not sure about? It can be a challenge to obtain the full picture during an interview. Whilst education, skills and experience are all things that you can question a candidate about, we often rely on gut instinct when it comes to assessing things like personality and behaviour. Relying on gut instinct can be a risky approach because of the potential for personal bias to creep in (see below about Unconscious Bias)

Psychometric testing can add an extra dimension to the interview process. It is a structured method of testing which uses standard, scientific principles to determine an individual’s cognitive ability and behavioural style. These tests can be used to assess a person’s capacity for abstract, verbal or numerical reasoning as well as their behaviours and motivation. The tests can usually be completed online and require the completion of short answer and multiple-choice questions.

The advantage of using psychometric testing is that it enhances the likelihood of you hiring the right person for the role and reduces the likelihood of additional recruiting or training costs. It offers scientific, ‘objective’ data which can be helpful in identifying the best person for the role, particularly if you have a scenario where you need to choose between several high-quality candidates.

The important thing to remember is that psychometric testing should be used to further develop your understanding of the person, but it should not be used in isolation as a basis for hiring someone. There is no substitute for a face to face conversation (whatever social media fans might tell you!)

At HR Central, we work with two established psychometric testing assessments:


The McQuaigs system™ is a series of different tests used to assess personality characteristics such as temperament, maturity and attitude. Its main applications are recruitment, succession planning, managing and coaching and personal and team development.

The system assists businesses:

1. To define and benchmark the behavioural requirements of a role

2. To assess the candidate using McQuaig’s pre-employment assessments and recruit to the requirements of the role

3. To develop and retain staff and understand what motivates them

One of the tests available is The McQuaig Word Survey which measures personality traits and how a person behaves in his or her current job. It demonstrates how a person’s disposition is likely to influence future behaviour and it can be used to understand what traits the candidate will bring to the role. The test is administered online, and it takes 10–20 minutes to complete.

Savill Wave®

Saville Wave is a series of online assessment tools available in 13 minute and 40 minute versions, and is available in over 30 languages. It is used in selection, development, people management,

succession planning, leadership programs and coaching and career programs. It measures motives, talents, preferred culture and competency.

Psychometric testing can give real insight to any leader as they have a greater understanding of the way their employees work, think and learn.  It also gives an Employer a “heads-up” on what team members will work best with each other, and how best to approach any disputes between colleagues.

It is also a great idea to discuss results as a team, so that each person has a better understanding of how their colleagues prefer to work and why.

If you would like to learn more – call HR Central 1300 717 721 and mention this blog!

A word about Unconscious Bias:


Unconscious Bias is allowing your personal background, experiences and societal stereotypes to affect your judgments and assessments of people and situations, often without you even realising it 

Why is it relevant? 

It can impact your ability to make fair and logical decisions about all sorts of things – from who you hire to the company you award a contract to.  

Can you give me an example? 

Recently when Sarah purchased a car she booked an appointment with ‘Tony’ to go over the features of the car before she drove it away. She was surprised to find when she arrived at the Dealership that Tony was in fact ‘Toni’. She had assumed, being the car industry, that the employee would be male. In that case, her unconscious bias didn’t have any direct impact on Toni, but imagine how things might have been different if Sarah had been a recruiter looking to hire new sales staff for Toyota…. 

What can be done about this? 

Becoming aware of and checking your own personal biases and beliefs is a great place to start. Talk to our HR Specialists about ways you can improve diversity in your Organisation or Unconscious Bias Training for your staff. 



Sarah Tidey

Sarah Tidey is a former lawyer who specialises in HR and workplace dispute resolution.

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