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Is it time to call time on psychometrics..?

 

OK, so I am about to make a complete 180 on an opinion I have held for a very long time. Having worked in the leadership development and executive coaching space for a VERY long time, psychometrics have been core to my work. Indeed, I have all the relevant qualifications required to administer various tools, and have myself been psychometric tested to within an inch of my life. In fact, I once worked in a business that developed a psychometric tool, and transformed the organisation around it.

But here’s the thing. I have honestly never seen a psychometric tool being used responsibly or appropriately. (Gosh, I can almost hear the backlash as it rushes towards me…) And this is the question:

Should we morally be allowed to make decisions about someone’s career based on their personality?

I hear the cry again ‘They don’t INFORM decisions, they merely contribute to the bigger picture!’

Are you sure about that? This is the guidance of psychometric companies, but is this really how it pans out in reality?

The second cry ‘This is not about judgements! All personality styles have their strengths!

Hmmm… Not quite true is it? If you used Neo Personality Inventory for example, and somebody came out as low in conscientiousness and high in neuroticism, would they EVER be your first hiring choice? They are certainly not traits I have ever come across on a job description.

 In fact, the same psychometric has not only been found to have item bias (easy to cheat), but there is also evidence of different neural circuitry in individuals with high neuroticism. Think about it. A supposed personality test could cause you to make a decision about somebody based on a physical difference. That, I’m afraid, is discrimination.

But here is the bigger problem, which all organisations MUST recognise.

Neurodiversity is being embraced by many organisations, understanding around it is increasing and reasonable adjustments are being made. Great stuff. Many organisations are looking at their recruitment practices, ensuring job descriptions contain just the skills required for the job and nothing more. Good for them.

And then, as part of the recruitment process, they include psychometric testing.

The question is, where is the delineation between personality and a neurodivergence? It is very unclear and can certainly not be deciphered from a psychometric test. As with the evidence of different neural circuitry as described above, any decision made could in fact be discriminating under the Equality Act 2010. Organisations are being encouraged to make recruitment processes fair and accessible for neurodivergent people by evaluating

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