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Why you should be using psychometric tests.

13th September 2022
By Marie-Claire O’Kane

When a team is at the top of their game, performing at their best whilst being in tune with each others’ needs, goals and circumstances, that’s a pretty special recipe for success.

In an age of uncertainty and constant change, CEOs and HR teams are frequently grappling for ways to glean insight into how to foster employee engagement to prevent attrition, support employee health and well-being and drive team performance.

Methods based on sound data-driven scientific research are critical to this. And the tool that has had an immense impact on understanding human behaviour is the psychometric test.

A psychometric test is a means of representing how an individual would behave in a particular context using mathematical analysis techniques. It might ask the participants to complete time-limited cognitive problems or respond to the extent to which they agree with statements about how they might behave in certain situations.

If we can understand an employee’s characteristics, we have the ability to know whether they would fit a particular role or a team’s culture, or how they might behave in specific work contexts.

The most widely researched and validated tests relate to intelligence and personality. They are grounded in hundreds of years of history about who we are and why we behave the way we do. In some cases, they have a chequered past. In other cases, their scientific basis is perhaps questionable. Have you ever thought about the elements that make up your personality? And how valuable are the work personality tests that you might have taken in the past?

At MyPeople we use the Big 5 Personality model, which measures individuals’ positions on the dimensions of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). “Traits” means an enduring disposition to think, feel and behave in a certain way, revealing themselves in our behaviour depending on the situation. The Big 5 model can be used to predict work-related outcomes such as which personality traits are better for certain jobs, team performance, burnout, work engagement and leadership behaviour. MyPeople use it to model which traits are most useful in job roles and which best support team behaviours:

Openness

Which we refer to as “Intellect” and sometimes called “Imagination “, measures levels of creativity, and the desire for knowledge and new experiences. It also means you are able to adapt well to changing or unplanned events or circumstances.

Conscientiousness

Looks at the level of care that you take in your life and work and substantial evidence has linked it to performing well in the workplace. If you score highly in Conscientiousness, you’ll likely be organised and thorough, and achieve personal goals. A low score might indicate a tendency to being careless and disorganised.

Extraversion / Introversion

Measures your level of sociability. Are you outgoing or quiet, for instance? Do you draw energy from a crowd, or do you find it difficult to work and communicate with other people? An introvert is not necessarily a negative trait. Evidence has shown that introverts can be more reflective and work more independently than extroverts.

Agreeableness

Measures how well you get on with other people. Are you considerate, helpful and willing to compromise? Or do you tend to put your needs before others’? For instance, evidence has shown that those low on Agreeableness might invest more time in building informal networks to further their career over completing team goals.

Neuroticism

Which we refer to as “Stability” and sometimes called “Natural Reactions “, measures emotional reactions. Do you react negatively or calmly to bad news? Do you worry about small details, or are you relaxed in stressful situations? A healthy level of neuroticism has been linked to high adaptivity and performance, however high levels of neuroticism can lead to burnout.

As each of the above traits is on a dimension, individuals’ profiles are generally in the middle of the two extremes of each of the five traits. For instance, individuals can be ambivert; they can display extrovert and introvert traits depending on the situation, and an adaptive personality such as this is of great benefit to organisations.

In the 21st Century, we are in a position to use these tests to revolutionise the way businesses are run and grow, by taking a data-driven human-centred approach.

At MyPeople, we draw on established scientific validation and over 20 years of our own research in understanding how teams can reach the pinnacle of success, by using predictive software relating to Recruitment and Team Culture that uses reliable, validated, and appropriate Psychometric tests.

If you’d like to learn more about how Psychometric Testing and how they have revolutionised the way we measure behaviour, read our latest Leadership Paper: Psychometric Tests: A Revolution in Measuring Human Behaviour

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