Helen Giles, Managing Director
We also strongly advocate the use of psychometric ability testing in any role in which a level of verbal reasoning and analytical ability is required. If your budgets won’t stretch to testing for every single post, we would urge at least to consider using psychometrics for your management roles.
Verbal reasoning tests measure the natural speed with which the applicant makes sense of written or spoken information. Numerical reasoning tests do the same in relation to people’s natural ability to spot relationships between numbers. They are not, as people often think, tests of people’s ability to write or add up. Both types are descended from general intelligence tests: they measure specific dimensions of intelligence.
The work of occupational psychologists such as Gottfredson has demonstrated that higher levels of general intelligence lead to higher levels of performance in all jobs and along all dimensions of performance. Brighter workers apply past knowledge more effectively, learn more quickly, and deal with novel problems more effectively.
This may sound controversial, but in our own experience, employees perform better when they have an average or above average level of verbal reasoning capability as judged against the test norm groups of the level relevant to the role.
Unfortunately, because of the very mixed quality of university degrees available from different establishments, the possession of a degree does not guarantee that the person has the cognitive capabilities required. We have found psychometric ability tests to be a far more reliable indicator.
There has been much talk over the years about psychometric testing being biased against certain groups, for example ethnic minorities. In short, this simply is not true if tests are selected and used ethically.
As ethical users of tests, we are clear that the results of psychometric tests should never be the sole or main determining factor in who gets a job. But we would not make any appointment to our own team without taking psychometric test results into the mix when making our recruitment decisions. We have had too many years’ experience of observing the difference in consistency of calibre of staff between organisations which take a full test-centre approach and those that don’t.