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Can Candidates Fool A Psychometric Assessment?

These days most leading employers use some kind of psychometric testing and proven selection techniques, along with a lot of hard-earned hands-on experience and good judgment to narrow the list down to one or two possibles from hundreds, sometimes thousands of hopefuls.

You can learn a lot about someone from a well constructed psychometric test

You can learn a lot about someone from well constructed psychometric assessments, even if it is that they tend to answer how they think you want them too. They probably picked up the ‘vibe’ during the first interview or phone inquiry chat and ran from there. The face to face interview gives the candidate a good feel for the culture prevalent within the workplace but you want to know how they will be out in front of the customer, not back in the lunch room among their colleagues.

We know from thousands of recruiting projects that smart sales candidates will often accurately sniff the air to discern which way the criteria wind is blowing and adjust their personality to suit. They select answers on the personality test that apparently has no pass/fail criteria, the ‘we just want to see what makes you tick’ kind, with the express aim of getting your ‘tick’ of approval. They often believe there is pass/fail criteria because if the test reveals you to have a personality the employer feels is unsuited then you won’t get the job. The truth is yes, and no.

So is adapting your ‘personality’ and answering the questions how you think they should be answered rather than honestly, ethical? Some applicants feel they need to manipulate the process as much as they can, but swear they will toe the corporate line if they are successful. Others might feel the employer has the job and the power and so it is only fair to level the playing field a little.

Psychometric testing is pretty scientific these days.

At Peak we use a very powerful test with clever features that identify applicants trying to manipulate the outcomes. The test results include meters that help us decide if the applicant is consistent in their response choices or just guessing what they think the employer wants to hear. The reality is that if a candidate wins the position through deceiving the test program, they are also deceiving themselves and there is every likelihood that the job they just won won’t be a good fit and could end up being a blemish on their resume.

Yes a candidate can fool a psychometric test, but a good test will alert the employer who is likely to be more interested in someone who is sure to have the qualities they claim to have than someone who is posing.

Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting

Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless. Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner. He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.