Choosing the Right Tool for the Job James Shimmen

James Shimmen - August 2017

I recently attended the Psychological Testing Centre's (PTC) Test Publishers Forum where they presented the results of the 2016 annual member's survey and this provided some interesting statistics and some food for thought.

The PTC are part of the British Psychological Society who set the standards in testing and provide the nationally recognised qualifications in test use required to use most psychometric tests.

The results of the annual survey showed that a massive 80.5% of test users base the decision of which test to use on familiarity with a tool. Essentially we are all happiest to stick with what we know. But by doing that is there a risk we are not using the best tool for the job?

With so many assessments available on the market how do we find out more about the tests available and what information should we be looking for?

Where to look?

A good place to start when considering test choice would be the PTC website . The PTC register of tests provides a list of psychometrics that have met a certain standard in terms of the key EFPA criteria, including the quality of the test's technical and user documentation, the quality of the test materials, the test's validity, reliability, and the provision of norms or other information necessary for meaningful interpretation of scores. As well as the register they also provide test review that provide a deeper independent analysis of the assessment and its strengths and limitations.

Do your research!

Once you have found what might be the right too for the job it's important to check the quality. When asked what were the most important features of a psychometrics test RQTU members over 91% of members said that reliability and validity were 'very important' which is great as it means we are all remembering our training! But is that all we should be looking at? There are other factors to consider! Face validity is really important particularly when selecting an ability assessment for a recruitment project. It should be clear to the individual completing the test why. If you're not sure, ask the test provider to see examples of the questions is there a clear link between the test and the role. As well as being important to the candidate, the result of the test should be giving you some useful information on if the candidate has the abilities and traits required to perform a role.

Don't be afraid to ask!

When speaking to a new test provider about an unfamiliar test it's always a good idea to ask to see reliability and validity data and to give the test a try to make sure it fits with what you are looking for. With any new or existing test client we are always happy to answer questions about tests and make recommendations when a client is not sure what the best assessment might be and despite having one of the largest range of tests available we are not afraid to suggest tests we can't provide if we feel it will be better for the client. One of the benefits of being able to provide tests from a range of supplier's means that we can provide an independent recommendation and are not wedded to any single suite of tests. We will always suggest what we think is best and if someone is not familiar with a tool; provide the information they need to feel comfortable taking the leap with a new unfamiliar survey.

Talk to us

If you have any upcoming assessment projects and are wondering if its time branch out from the same test you've been using since you qualified then give us a call on 01491 845 536 or email us at and we'd be happy to help broaden your psychometric horizons!