The sum of many parts Are you psychologically prepared?

BEFORE you go to your next job interview you might want to prepare yourself to undergo a grilling of a psychological nature. Nationally, companies are using psychometric testing as a way to add value to the recruitment process and help to target the right candidate for the right position.

Sydney-based company thinks that psychometric testing – the measurement of mental states, mental processes and their relationships – has a role to play in today’s business environment.

With this in mind, is looking to introduce tests that will dissect a company’s corporate culture, evaluate emotional intelligence and customise tests in programming and IT skills.

On its website, says the recruitment process is often made difficult by candidates’ “role playing” during interviews, becoming the person they think the company would want to hire.

Beilby WA general manager Rick Dunn says his company always uses such tests for people who are shortlisted for interviews.

Mr Dunn says the tests expose traits that can often be hidden in a one-to-one interview and help examine for things like abstract reasoning skills.

“We also provide to our clients a report with detailed information about how to manage that person – it is not just the selection process, it is career development,” he says.

Barry Knight, general manager for tmp.worldwide (WA) agreed the psychometric assessments are integral to the recruitment process as they can match the person’s aspirations with a suitable job and company.

“Organisations now want to minimise the cost of wrong hire and assessment tools are more valid in terms of predicting the success a person has in a job in the future,” he says.

“It is important that the person is fit for the job, fit for the culture and fit for the organisation.”

BankWest is one such organisation. It arranges for psychological assessment of potential graduates and senior management positions so as to improve the “fit”.

The tests are considered necessary for senior positions because of the potential impact they will have on the business if hired, and to identify any development gap.

Graduates also are tested because the bank deems it is a more effective way to screen the top candidates.

Currently, the psychometric test at evaluates a candidate’s general attitude (extroversion/introversion), information perception style, style of decision making style and character type.

The Small Business Development Corporation does not discourage the use of psychological assessments, but noted that many small businesses are not in the position to use these measures because of time and financial constraints.

“It is not practical for small business use. The personality of a candidate can be assessed during an interview,” SBDC managing director George Etrelezis says.

“Many small businesses are keen for people to complete work-related tests devised by the companies themselves.”

Registered psychologist Mark Greenwood, who also is a joint manager partner of People Solutions, says it is generally the large organisations that utilise psychological assessments.

However, he had a word of caution for those looking to use the tests.

“There are situations where they should be used and situations where they should not be used. Companies should not base hiring on psychological tests alone,” Mr Greenwood said.

“The results form just one part of the jigsaw – there are still the educational background, employment background and reference checks to consider. I would not give it any more weight than any of the above factors.”

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