Psychometric Testing: How to Put Your Training into Practice

Psychometric Testing - Selection by Design

You’ve done all of the hard work to become an accredited psychometric testing practitioner. You have your BPS Test User qualifications in hand, or at least can locate them in a filing box or proudly hanging on the office wall. Now what?

A vast amount of knowledge and skills are acquired through Selection by Design’s Test User training courses. The thought of pulling it all together and applying it in practice can be a bit intimidating.

When your employer, manager, colleagues or clients request testing, or could potentially benefit from adding psychometrics to an evaluation or decision process, what do you do?

Here are a few practical suggestions to get you started when it’s time to put your new testing skills to use:

1. Discuss assessment goals with your client.

Talk to your client about what they want to measure and why. What is it they hope to achieve, or need to figure out? Why might the results of psychometric tests be useful or helpful?

Encourage your client to think this through carefully and to be as specific as possible. For organisational testing, some useful areas to explore might include: What positions does the company need to fill? What is the manager trying to accomplish? What are the team members trying to achieve?

For forensic testing, it is also essential to discuss the intended purpose of assessment. What will the potential impact of results be? How will reports or conclusions be used, and by whom?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the types of tests or measures that may be useful for the specific context. It is important to also keep in mind that psychometric testing is not necessarily the best approach. In addition, test results should not be used in isolation. As you may recall from training, no test is infallible or all-encompassing—no method of measurement is!

Ultimately, as a qualified test user, do you recommend psychometric testing to help meet your company or client’s needs? If your client has previously used testing, this step might be relatively straightforward. For someone who has not, be ready to explain what tests can offer.

2. Decide on what you will test.

If you and your client agree psychometric testing may be useful, you next need to agree on the qualities or attributes to be measured.

The testing market today offers an incredibly wide range of qualities that may be tested. For recruitment or selection, examples include abilities, aptitudes, competencies, values or fit with an organisation’s culture. If the interest is individual development, it could be useful to assess aspects of personality, attributes such as resilience, or interactive skills such as emotional intelligence. The realm of forensic testing includes aspects of risk, psychopathy, intellect, and personality disorders.

Your client may be experienced in using test results, completely new to using psychometric measures, or anywhere in between! Be prepared to offer guidance both in terms of attributes to measure and specific tests you might suggest be used.

3. Recommend specific tests.

Depending on your client and your relationship with them, you may be positioned to personally select the tests you will use. Alternately, you may wish to present your client with a few options.

With hundreds of tests on the market, it is not possible to have a thorough understanding of each one. Many Test Users begin their psychometric work using the tests they learned about during training. Other potentially useful sources of information on different tests are discussed in the SxD blog 5 Essential Resources for Selecting and Comparing Psychometric Tests.

To narrow down your choice of tests to use, remember to consider:

  • Options for scoring, and available norm groups.
  • Test language versions.
  • Evidence for reliability and validity.
  • Administration options, and associated security.
  • Types of reports or results format.
  • Costs—including the test itself, report, and potentially use of the test publisher’s online platform.
  • Accessibility: Are you qualified to use the specific test, and do you know how to interpret the results?

4. Decide on your role in evaluating test results.

Before you begin testing, have a clear understanding of who is responsible for interpreting or sharing results with the intended audience. For brief assessments and reports that are designed to be readily understood, it is less of an issue. For more in-depth reports or results that require professional evaluation, you may need to be more involved in interpretation, verifying scores, making recommendations, or conducting feedback.

Clarify your role and any associated fees with your client. Depending on how test results will be used, it may also be appropriate to discuss responsibility in the event of any legal challenges to test-based recommendations or decisions. It is far better to be prepared than to be faced with unanticipated disputes. Offer guidance when requested, and ensure that you adhere to your own professional knowledge, ethical standards and best practice in testing.

The above suggestions should help guide your early work in psychometric testing. At the very least, they highlight the kinds of things to consider when preparing to conduct assessments. For some, there may be a time gap between completing your Test User training and beginning to use psychometric assessments. In our next blog, we’ll consider the best ways to maintain and practice your testing and assessment skills while you’re waiting to get started.

For anyone who isn’t yet qualified in psychometric testing, now is the time to enrol! Our final Test User courses of 2021 are coming up in October and November. These include Test User: Occupational Ability and Personality, Forensic Test User, and 16pf 6th edition Specialization Training.

Happy Testing!

Psychometric Testing in Practice

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Psychological Testing Resources