My organisation (not for profit human services) is currently reviewing its employment strategy. At today’s meeting, the idea of psychometric testing was suggested. Because I am now an MT manager I said good idea lets consider it and suggested DISC. I was then asked about other tests available to look specifically at attitudes and values of potential employees

My questions therefore are

[list]1. Do any members use this type of testing and if so what type?

2. When do you use them (before or after interview?)

3. What are the cost implications?[/list:u]

Thanks folks


citius's picture

My organization currently uses HBDI ( However, we currently only routinely measure managers and to the best of my knowledge this is only done after the start of employment.

Broadly defined, HBDI measures thinking styles. It can be a useful tool for identifying the types of activities in which an individual will be most comfortable, productive, and/or effective.

I personally have found the information from an HBDI assessment to be very helpful. It has raised my own self awareness and it has helped me communicate with my peers and directs more effectively (much like DISC in that regard). It has helped me delegate more effectively. And, it has also helped me form more robust, balanced, and therefore effective teams. I am happier and my directs are happier. :D

Like DISC, once you work with HBDI for a while, you may find that you can quite reliably match individuals to their HBDI profile. So, ultimately, assessing the whole organization may not be necessary. Likewise, you may find that you can quickly perform simple measurements of candidates during an interview through careful choice of questions.

I do not know the exact cost of an HBDI assessment as our Human Resources department negotiates and budgets for that. However, I have heard that by contracting for tests in bulk through an independent, certified contractor you can negotiate significantly lower rates than those offered on the HBDI website.

I would like to offer one cautionary note. This testing will not solve anything in and of itself. Your management team must want to use it. In my organization, not everyone is receptive to these measurements. For example, some of my peers guard their profile information quite closely and do not share it. This reduces the overall effectiveness of the program. Also, some of my peers have made no effort to try to incorporate this information into their management practices. So, for those teams, the measurements were largely just an undesirable waste of their time.

-- Paul

bflynn's picture

Allow me to suggest caution. I do not like or endorse pre employment use of psychometric testing. That would suggest that only certain profiles are suitable for certain jobs. This is not true. People are far, far more complex than can be described in any profile. Additionally, you are defining the job requirements with items that aren't real requirements for achieving result on the job.

I personally go a step further and view pre employment personality testing as bordering on being unethical. Whether it is a deal breaker for the job depends on how good the job is, but at the best, it would be a huge negative to me.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


aspiringceo's picture

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Good point and it transpires that my colleague who suggested the idea did so because she found out another similar organisation had recently started doing psychometric testing.


wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi Edmund,

I'm a trained pyschometric tester and we use the SHL products for testing, both for recruitment and development.

We use their OPQ product which tests on 32 variables and gives quite a comprehensive view of the candidate - I've done feedback for people to their managers, without any prior knowledge of the candidates and the managers have been surprised how accurate the feedback is. We also use the numerical and verbal reasoning tests. The OPQ costs between £50 and £150 a time depending on the reports you take.

In defense of testing for recruitment - some companies test all candidates before hiring. If you need a minumum standard of maths or Engiish for a role, this makes sense. However, personally, I think you screen out a lot of candidates who don't want to put themselves through tests by doing that, especially with more junior roles.

Using pyschometric tests for a few candidates at middle manager roles makes more sense to me. However, it's never a screen in/screen out item, it's just more evidence to help you make a decision. I'd always ask people if they have methods of getting around their preferences where they do not fit the profile for their role. For example, my role as a recruiter requires attention to detail (nothing worse than calling the wrong candidate to offer them a job), but my opq profile says I don't enjoy detail work. However, if asked about it at interview I would say, I'm conscious that I need to work with detail, in order to do this successfully, I keep spreadsheets, I ask people to check my work, I double check before I make phone calls! If I got that response from a candidate I'd be more than happy to disregard the 'negative' in the profile.

I also ask candidates if the profile doesn't make sense with what's been said at interview. For example, I had a candidate recently who showed an extreme preference for variety in his work, as if he couldn't stick to anything. In his interview he didn't come across that way at all. So I asked him if he was doing a job which was very monotenous at the moment, which he was - and that had squewed the profile.

It's all about knowing how to interpret these things and letting them add to what you know, but not being the only piece of the information. Given that interviews statisically are only successful between 10 and 15% of the time, recruiters need all the help they can get!

I hope that's useful.


PierG's picture

I don't see at DISC as a way to make a selection.

I see it in a way to be able, when applied to other people, to find a way to be more effective with them being able to be 'on the same pace'.

I'm not sure that, if I need a sales guy, I always need to hire an High I or something like that.


vince_peele's picture

One of the main put offs for people using more professional tests is that they can be so expensive to get training in, plus the more reputable publishers also charge high annual license fees. This is because they need to fund all the research they undertake to prove their efficacy and keep population comparison groups up to date.

You dont need to pay for all your own training and licensing tho, as professional occupational psychologists can provide a full service - on a pay per use basis. The consultants that I use are Quest Partnership - they provide [url=]online OPQ testing and SHL aptitude and ability tests[/url]. They have a full online testing centre, supported with some great advice and feedback - also I have used the MBTI Myers Briggs tests that I have used for development only. I wouldnt bother with DISC - certainly wouldnt use it to make any decisions subject to employment law, as it has very little validity or reliability that would stand up at a tribunal!

thaGUma's picture

[quote]Just because you can doesn't mean you should. [/quote]
I see this as an extension of behavioural interviewing.

Testing of this type is intended to show the characteristics of an individual. A low grade company will use this as a hire/no-hire tool. A better company uses this as a tool to assist in their consideration of what might be needed to get the best out of any one candidate. Getting the right profile means better onboarding.

One concern is that I put psychiatry into the same pigeon-hole as astrology. Pinch of salt with every consultation.

kklogic's picture

I agree with PierG on DISC - I would not use it as a selection tool.

We use Caliper here. I believe it's around $100 a pop for the full-on version. It's customized to the job. We tell them what the job entails and what the idea candidate would look like.

In our last round of interviews, we were torn between four people. Our guts were telling us something funny about two of them - but everything else lined up. If you haven't read my other thread - we put our folks through numerous rounds of interviews - so this wasn't the only thing driving our decision. In any event, two of the four came out as individually-motivated, non-team players. The test was able to nail down the thing we were all feeling in our gut.

I wouldn't use one of these tests as a first line selection tool - nor would I use it to not do due diligence on interviewing. However, it is a useful tool to have available for situations like we encountered.

adragnes's picture

I agree that one should not use DISC by itself as a selection tool. But I think it would be interesting find out the candidates DISC profile and then have them being interviewed by someone with a very different profile, e.g. a high-C by a high-i. It would show you how effective the candidate is at communicating with someone with a different social style.