Business Times - 05 Mar 2007I previously took one of these psychometric tests. My then-employer did not use these tests to screen potential hires. Instead the tests were used to identify the strengths of all senior managers and all high-potential employees.
Psychometrics picking up steam among firms
Some use the tests to ensure candidates fit their corporate culture
By OH BOON PING
FEW local organisations now use psychometric tests to recruit staff - but that could change.
'I believe it will slowly pick up among smaller firms,' says GMP Group chief executive Annie Yap. 'Plus, firms are trying to cut down on the number of wrong hires, which can be quite costly. A psychometric test can help reduce that.'
Similarly, Alex Lee, general manager of SHL Group, which administers psychometric tests, says Singapore companies that have expanded overseas have grown more aware of psychometric techniques.
The tests are said to measure a candidate's suitability for a job by assessing their personality traits and other qualities. Some companies use the tests to ensure candidates fit their corporate culture and have the aptitude to succeed.
According to both consultants, the tests are generally used by bigger companies like multinationals, which adopt a scientific approach to recruitment.
'These big corporations often look for certain personality traits and emotional quotient, besides educational qualifications and experience,' says Ms Yap.
GMP says the tests can pick up traits such as leadership qualities, which are crucial for strategic roles. The company has been using psychometrics tests for the past decade and found them a useful supplement to interviews and other screening. Other organisations known to have used psychometrics for recruitment include the civil service and big names like DHL International.
The test we took was the Gallup Strengthsfinder. I really like the underlying philosophy of this system. Its whole idea is to focus on the person's strengths, and not his weaknesses.
Gallup's extensive research on highly successful people had led to the following conclusion. Highly successful people do not become highly successful by overcoming their natural weaknesses. Instead they become highly successful by developing their natural strengths.
For example, Beethoven was successful not because he was good in sports, but because he was great in music. Maradona was successful not because he was good in music, but because he was great in sports.
Going by Gallup's philosophy, what should we do if we had a young Beethoven and a young Maradona today? We should encourage the Beethoven to pursue music, and the Maradona to pursue sports. Sounds rather obvious, actually.
However, in Singapore, the problem is that we would penalise both Beethoven and Maradona, for being bad in Chinese. Next, we would send them into NS to be riflemen. After that, we would make them study life sciences, to support the government's latest economic drive.
Anyway, back to Gallup. For organisations, the correct strategy is firstly to identify the natural strengths of their key employees. Secondly, you encourage them to be aware of their strengths and develop them. Thirdly, you move them into positions, roles and projects where they have maximum opportunities to use their natural strengths.
I still remember my psychometric results. My top five themes were Intellection, Achiever, Strategic, Ideation and Learner. In brief, I think deep; deliver results; strategise well; produce creative ideas; and absorb new concepts like a sponge. My psychologist remarked that these are ideal traits for a future CEO in a dynamic, innovation-driven industry. Heheh.
Every individual has different strengths. For example if your top five themes were Command, Discipline, Strategic, Responsibility and Competition, you would have the natural makings of a great military leader. (War would be the ultimate competitive situation).