Screening by psychometric assessment

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Psychometric assessments are tests, exercises or questionnaires, designed by psychologists to measure cognition, behavioural and personality constructs of an individual. These tests further establish abilities, values, motivations and their interests or preferences.


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Psychometric assessments are tests, exercises or questionnaires, designed by psychologists to measure cognition, behavioural and personality constructs of an individual. These tests further establish abilities, values, motivations and their interests or preferences.
The results of such assessments offer such valuable information that cannot be obtained through an interview or from an applicants CV. And, although, like any other screening tool, the information cannot be used in isolation, it can provide some very critical decision making guidelines.
Such assessments ensure that the candidate is fully suited not only to the job, but also to the working environment and the organizational culture.
There are a number of assessment tools available, measuring many dimensions of an applicant. Companies can choose a single measurement or a battery of tests depending on the level and the position.

1. Cognitive assessments; measure of cognitive ability and in some tests a persons cognitive potential. Such tests measure mental alertness, analytical and logical reasoning, numerical ability, original and creative thinking, spatial relations and concept formation and alertness to detail. Such tests can give an indication at what level of an organisation an individual will function optimally.
2. Personality; these assessments measure how a person acts, relates to other people, thinks, makes decisions and feels. Many of these tools look specifically into a person’s personality in the world-of-work. Personality assessments also typically entail measuring work style matters such as role orientation; leader vs. follower, independence, drive, thinking styles; analytical vs. logical, creative vs. conventional, people orientation; introverted vs. extroverted and emotional orientation.
3. Integrity; there are tools developed to measure very specific behavioural constructs such as "Integrity’.
4. Competency; there are tools that have been established to determine an applicants competence in a certain field. i.e. Security personnel and drivers.

Psychometric assessments can add such value to the selection of the right employee for the prospective employer. They also add value by validating your decisions.
It is important however, to follow guidelines as set out by the Employment Equity Act (1998, p.8) which determines the following: "Psychological testing and other similar assessments of an employee are prohibited unless the test or assessment being used -

• has been scientifically shown to be valid and reliable;
• can be applied fairly to all employees; and
• is not biased against any employee or group'.

To deal with this in practice, one will first of all need a good and accurate method of job analysis - breaking down the job into dimensions or competencies. Next one would need simple and verifiable tests for these job-related competencies. One would of course also have to keep statistics of applicants at all stages of the selection process, so as to defend oneself against any allegations of differential impact.
There are so many benefits that assessments have for the organisations that use them as part of their selection process; It adds to the fairness of the selection process as your success or failure does not just hinge on a verbal interview.
Prospective employers have more information to aid the decision-making process. ssessments assist the employer gauge whether or not a candidate's skills and behavioural style makes them suitable for a specific role. The tests can reveal, with a great deal of accuracy, information about the applicant's suitability. If an applicant is chosen, assessments can also be used for development purposes

It goes without saying that good psychometric assessments, as part of a holistic screening process can reduce recruitment costs and the time it takes a new recruit to become fully effective. Thus, the impact on the bottom line is huge.
EMPS is South Africa’s oldest pre-employment screening/vetting company. EMPS is also an accredited reseller of a number of psychometric assessments, including but not limited to the COPAS (Cognitive and Potential Assessment), IP200 (Integrity Profiles200), IMI (Integrity Measuring Instrument) and PAW (Personality at Work) for more info go to: www.emps.co.za
ISSUED BY EMPLOYERS’ MUTUAL PROTECTION SERVICE www.emps.co.za
FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT TEL: (011) 678-0807 OR E-MAIL: [email protected]

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