Charity careers and recruitment special: psychometric testing

It's useful - but it can be expensive, writes Joe Lepper

The use of psychometric testing is becoming more widespread. The method involves looking closely at the psychological profile of a job candidate and examining their personality, their reactions in different situations and their skills in areas such as numeracy.

Dr Steve Blinkhorn, managing director of Psychometric Research and Development, says psychometric-focused recruitment campaigns involving thousands of people can cost up to £50,000.

"They are becoming more popular in recruitment, but very few charities use them because they can be quite expensive," he says.

Off-the-shelf tests are available for as little as £5 a candidate, but Blinkhorn urges caution. "Some are good, but many are not," he says. "The key things to watch out for are bogus promises about effectiveness, little evaluation and tests that focus only on personality rather than on the actual skills needed for the job."

Dr Lea Brindle, a freelance occupational psychologist, recommends that charities contact the British Psychological Society before buying a test, because it can provide a list of its approved testers.

"Those on the list will have the psychological skills to analyse results and will acknowledge that psychometric testing is useful in recruitment but is only one part of the process of finding the right candidate," he says.

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