Myths Busted – Psychometric Test Edition


Personality tests, also known as personality profiles, psychometric tests or behavioural assessments, are a popular consulting and human resource tool.

Personality tests are no longer just being applied to Recruitment, they are now used for all aspects of business including; Team Building, Organisational and Leadership Development, Communication, Sales Training and even Sports Coaching (just to name a few!) A study by the London School of Economics found as many as 70 per cent of companies use psychometric tests as part of business development!

With the growing effect of behavioural assessments on Human Resources and consultancy, several myths and objections have been circulating the business world. So, here are five myths that are associated with psychometric tests in the workplace.

MYTH ONE: Assessments put People in a Box and Limit their Careers!

A personality profile will reveal your natural and behavioural styles. This can help you identify jobs that you will naturally excel at, or identify your development areas to help you excel in your current role. Acknowledging your strengths, challenges and development areas can actually expand and enhance your career and make you more valuable to your organisation. Receiving such feedback can help you avoid wasting years in the wrong role, or the wrong career! It can also help discover engaging career paths you never considered! Understanding your preferred job content and environment can help enhance your job satisfaction and overall well-being.

MYTH TWO: You Need to be a Trained Psychologist to Use Them!

This myth is simply not true! You do NOT have to be a trained psychologist to administer the test and produce a credible outcome. While training and experience can help you dive deeper into the debriefing process, most psychometric providers offer support, training and guidelines that help to interpret the results.

Psychometric test reports can be easily understood at a basic level, however, providers will offer accredited training to anyone consultant and team member to help them develop an in-depth understanding of the results (you don’t need to be a qualified psychologist to attend this training, anyone can go!).

MYTH THREE: Personality Tests Cost too Much!

There is a common misconception that psychometric testing is expensive. While some tests can be expensive for what they provide, most are good value!

To put it in perspective, think of the time and money it takes to train and up-skill your employees or hire a new candidate for a role! The actual price of a behavioural test can be less than $100 (or even lower if you are on a licence fee). Using personality profiles during recruitment, team, or career development can help to identify candidates who will be satisfied, perform well in the role and who will fit in comfortably with existing teams. This helps to identify and overcome any issues before they arise.

In most cases, personality testing remains highly cost-effective and beneficial as it can significantly reduce the costs associated with employee turnover. One of our clients noted that 50% of candidates did not continue work with them after a 3 month trial period. However, after completing the Extended DISC® Behavioural tests, only 22% of candidates did not continue work after 3 month trial period. We recommend that the cost of behavioural profiling be compared to potential returns on your hire or team development, before you make a cost based decision.

Personality tests also can help reduce company spend in other areas of business. Our Extended DISC® Health and Safety and Communication assessments help the drive to create a positive, healthy and safe workplace culture. These assessments can help reduce workplace costs associated with safety incidences by identifying an individual’s approach and response to workplace issues.

Using Psychometric tests in all areas of business can help to improve performance and your bottom line!

MYTH FOUR: Personality Tests are Time Consuming!

Before personality tests became available online, candidates would have to fill out a score card on paper. A trained professional would then manually score the test and write up a report. Very time consuming! Nowadays most psychometric tests are completed online, and take less than 15 minutes to answer!

Sometimes businesses feel overwhelmed with the idea of adding an extra tool into existing processes. Some also fear that personality profiling can ‘mess with a good thing,’ and add too many steps in company or recruitment processes.

However, implementing behavioural tests is a fast and simple process. Your psychometric provider will also be able to help you during the implementation of the systems and with any future queries.

Reading and interpreting the psychometric tests will take you no more time to interpret than a candidate’s CV. If you are at the later stages of the employment process and are looking for more in depth information you can take more time to interpret the reports at a deeper level. Behavioural assessments provide valuable insight that enables you to make a well informed decision.

Personality tests can help you easily identify which candidates are more suited for a role through comparisons of their natural styles and required job role competencies. This enables you to make much quicker decisions during recruitment. Any of you who have had to hire for a specific role understand how long it take to choose the best candidate when they have a very similar education and experience. Using the psychometric tests you can quickly generate shortlists and save time by overcoming indecision.

Side note: The Extended DISC® Personality Tests are completed in 8 – 10 minutes. The results are almost instantly available in your inbox!

MYTH FIVE: All Candidates Fake Responses!

If everyone faked a questionnaire, by giving what they believe to be ideal answers, psychometric tests would have no validity. It’s actually quite difficult for people to ‘cheat the system’ and fake their results. Personality test design ensures that the candidate does not recognise a pattern. This is possible through ipsative test design, which also picks up any attempt to rig the assessment through misleading and inconsistent answering. Candidates being tested may not answer entirely truthfully to make themselves appear better than they believe they are. The questionnaire is designed to identify this attempt at deceit and manipulation (Extended DISC® will recognise this through the adjusted profile – how the individual believes they need to behave in the current environment, and how they naturally are).

There are numerous indicators that suggest someone may have cheated. However, profiles with inconsistent answering can also be due to special cases. More often than not, these cases are only apparent due to extreme circumstances in a person’s environment. Such special cases can help you distinguish between someone who has cheated the system or are rather going through a stressful period in life. Please remember, a high level of training is needed to recognise and interpret these special cases.