Pros and Cons of Psychometric Testing

For a long time now we’ve heard a lot about the benefits of psychometric testing, and personality profiling for business. But is there a better way?

Recently I was asked for my opinion on psychometric assessments, aptitude testing, personality profiling, and the like.

You’ve probably heard of – or even undertaken one of the following:

  •  an IQ test;

  • a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI);

  • a DISC assessment (where DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness);

  • the Belbin Team Role Inventory (BTRI);

  • or even Colour Profiling (where reds are extroverted, greens are organised, etc).

In my work as an Organisational Psychologist and Executive Coach, over the years I have relied on normative profiling and standardised psychometric tests less and less.

Problems with Personality Profiling

Like any tool they can be useful when used properly and in context, but I feel that they are some disadvantages with these types of testing:

  • People often feel disappointed that they are not a certain ‘type’, and yet there is no need for this because no personality type is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

  • Individuals are exactly that – individual, shaped by our environment and experiences, both good and bad, as well as our genetic makeup.

  • Our personality is also not static. As human beings we are constantly growing and changing which means that the results may be very different at different points in our lives.

  • Personality profiling is often undertaken as part of the recruitment process – yet I’ve always thought that attitude is far more important!

  • These tools may not take into account cultural differences, or the possibility that the person completing them may be at a disadvantage if English is their second language.

So Why is Psychometric Testing So Popular?

As human beings, our brains like shortcuts. Being able to put different labels on ourselves and others might seem convenient, but misses so many of the nuances and quirks that make us unmistakably us.

It is my belief that we miss out on a lot of quality candidates if we hire or promote based solely on profiles.

In our Leadership Circles Executive Leadership Program, we have made a deliberate choice not to rely on psychometric testing.

Instead, we have found that it is much more useful in this particular setting, to facilitate deep pondering and self reflection – and so we’ve developed questionnaires that allow participants to rank themselves, and then get a second opinion from other people in their life who know them well.

Instead of a simple ‘tick and flick’, at Peter Doyle Coaching we encourage self-awareness, and gaining a greater understanding of your tendencies (and those around you), to help you become a better leader.

If this sounds like the sort of leadership coaching which would work for you, I invite you to sign up for our monthly newsletter using the form below – or get in touch and we can chat further!

Or perhaps you would first just love to gauge how you are currently tracking along your own path to becoming an Extraordinary, Inspirational, Next Generational Leader: then please click here to utilise our free self-rating questionnaire!

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