Date posted: 4/12/2017

Understanding your psychometric scores could be your secret advantage

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Psychometric testing is typically seen as an annoying part of the job hunting process.

You find a job you're interested in, upload your resume and references, and then next thing you know you're stuck answering a long list of odd questions in order to supposedly reveal to a prospective employer your personality, aptitude and reasoning abilities.

However, it has been reported that the results of these tests are starting to replace formal qualifications as an indicator of who would be the best candidate for a job1.

With this in mind, if you were to shift your approach to this part of the job hunting process and look at psychometric testing as a useful tool in your career building journey, you might just reap some potential benefits.

Make a lasting impression

A common job interview question is: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?". Imagine the impression you could make on the interviewer if you had relevant examples to support your answer. This is because soft skills, (intangibles such as empathy, understanding, creativity and reasoning) are becoming increasingly important in the modern workplace. A recent report from iCIMS found that 75% of recruiters have cut job interviews short because a candidate didn't demonstrate the soft skills they expected2.

The detailed explanations provided by some tests you can easily conduct yourself online, such as Gallup's Strengths Finder3, can help formulate examples to support your answers, and ultimately help build the case as to why a company should hire you.

Of course, this works both ways. By understanding your own strengths and preferred ways of working, it's possible to gain a better idea if the position is even right for you in the first place and reduce the chances of ending up in a position you're unlikely to engage with.

Measurements into action

According to HR Magazine4, "81% [of 2,776 HR, recruitment and talent practitioners responding to the Global Assessment Barometer] said that they expected to make more reliable and less risky decisions as a result [of their use of psychometric testing] in 2016" due to a rise in their self-confidence.

To ensure you're the one indicated by testing, it's important to understand where you might fall short of expectations and shore up those weaknesses. Thankfully, soft skills can be taught, trained and improved5.

In iCIMS' survey of more than 400 recruiters, 62% indicated robust problem-solving skills are the most important quality for an applicant to possess. Other skills they were looking for include: adaptability, time management, organisation, oral communication, collaboration and written communication6.

These skills are particularly important if you're looking to move into leadership one day, as 94% of recruiters involved in the survey believe someone with stronger soft skills has a better chance of being promoted than someone with more experience.

Psychometric tests like Gallup's Strengths Finder which focus on ranking individual strengths and working preferences rather than broad personality types, are ideal for identifying aspects of yourself to focus on – through practice, mentorship, courses or study.

Working with others

Author and commentator, Jamila Rizvi, in her book 'Not Just Lucky', refers to a time in her career when she and a fellow employee took a personality test and found that they have polar opposite personality types. The reason why this was important was because she was previously "unable to master [her] office interactions" with this particular colleague. Through the test, they realised that they each best respond to different managerial techniques. Rizvi was more autonomous, while her colleague preferred a more involved approach from her manager. This allowed Rizvi to re-evaluate her approach to manage this colleague more effectively.

Different people work best in different ways. Using your psychometric test scores to understand these differences can help you to work better with others and collaborate.

What's your next move?

If you're preparing to start your undergraduate study or even commence further study, you can use psychometric tests to help determine suitable ways to approach your assignments and exams to achieve good results.

Down the track there may come a point when you feel as though you need a new challenge; let that be in the form of a new role or a completely different career path. You can use psychometric tests to help figure out whether your personality suits the area of interest you are looking to pursue.

You can even use them during the search for a new role, before a prospective employer sends you a quiz to complete. Using the descriptions of your jobs of interest and the explanations from your most recent tests, you could be better placed to craft a great application full of examples and buzzwords that could help get your resume to the top of the pile.

Psychometric testing shouldn't just be seen as a tool for employers to get to know your abilities. Get ahead of the curve and use them to your own secret advantage before you even hit submit on that job application.