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Hiring A Diverse Workforce With Psychometric Tests


In this article we’re going to suggest ways best recruitment practices can help you achieve the goal of a meritocratic workplace, discussing:

  • How diversity hiring ultimately benefits your business.
  • What psychometric testing is.
  • How psychometric testing helps eradicate unconscious bias.

Psychometric testing has grown to its current level of popularity in recruitment over the past decade. It’s now used by 75% of Fortune 500 companies.


Its usage as an integral part of the recruitment process continues to increase for a variety of reasons:


  • A psychometric test, activity, or assessment is conducted in order to evaluate a candidate's performance and includes, but isn’t limited to, skills, knowledge, abilities, personality traits, attitudes, and job/academic potential. 
  • There are many psychometric test styles and formats with three main areas we’ll elaborate on later. They’re aptitude tests, behavioural tests, and assessment centres.
  • It’s highly adept at identifying candidates who are the best cultural fits for your vacancies. It does so by unearthing insights you don’t get from looking at CVs, or even from interviewing candidates. As a result, you’re more likely to secure highly engaged and aligned candidates who will remain in your business for longer, because you’re such great fits for each other. 
  • It helps challenge the unconscious bias the vast majority of us have at various levels, without realising we do. 

We now have a list of what are known as protected characteristics, defined by the Equality & Human Rights Commission. It includes key characteristics it’s illegal to discriminate against in any area of life, besides the workplace. These protected characteristics are:


  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation 

It might seem officious that we need this type of legal definition in our enlightened age. But it’s an important list to keep handy, even if you don’t think your recruitment team and your wider workforce need to be reminded about such things.


It’s important because we all have unconscious bias, even if we don’t think we do, (that’s what makes the bias unconscious).



ACAS describes unconscious bias specifically in the recruitment process as, “When people favour others who look like them and/or share their values. For example, a person may be drawn to someone with a similar educational background, from the same area, or who is the same colour or ethnicity as them.”


Diversity hiring shouldn’t be confused with positive discrimination at the opposite end of the scale, (which, like discrimination against protected characteristics, is also an illegal practice).


Respected ex-newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald said on the subject of positive discrimination, I think it would be horrible to be the person who gets the job because of positive discrimination and to have everybody in the room look around and say I know exactly why he or she has got that job, that’s awful. I’m a great believer in meritocracy.

The concept of diversity hiring supports the goal of meritocracy in business, which is a common aim shared by most businesses.


Why is a diverse workforce so important to your business?

Premium serviced office provider Bizspace compiled a list of five very good reasons why a diverse workforce is crucial to your business and its future prosperity:

  • “Differences can be valuable”
  • “Getting to know other cultures”
  • “Diversity is good for your image”
  • “Increased productivity”
  • “Limit the risk of lawsuits”
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:

Valuing and Leveraging Differences

It’s a given that diverse teams, made up of people from a multitude of different age groups, backgrounds, cultures, experience levels, and skill sets, are more progressive teams. Their different ways of doing and viewing things ensure they’re never short of collaborative new approaches and the ability to come up with innovative compromises to differences of opinion.

Being Seen As A Multicultural Business

A broad cross-section of team members from different cultural backgrounds is an asset in terms of doing business abroad. Additionally, having a diverse workforce will serve you well by making you more accessible to multiple client bases even if you don’t trade in other countries.

Boosting Employer Branding

Having an authentic and robust diversity and inclusion policy is intrinsic to your employer branding. People are attracted to businesses that actively demonstrate their commitment to equality and fairness. As a result, you’re likely to attract a broader talent pool when you’re recruiting.

Upping Productivity Levels

Productivity is at optimum levels when a diverse team of people works together with a shared purpose.

Mitigating Potential Litigation Threats

You don’t make new hires imagining that it will end in litigation against your business. But it happens. And, when it happens, it’s often instigated due to some form of workplace discrimination. But it’s much less likely that an employee will have cause to start legal proceedings against your business if you’ve got a diverse workforce and a measurable diversity and inclusion policy.

Psychometric testing affirms and enhances diversity hiring. And the good news is that it’s still getting better at what it does.

Psychometric_TestingWhat does psychometric testing look like?

There are five key categories of psychometric testing that you can use as part of your recruitment process:

  • Personality Profiling – Probes the personality types and personal preferences of candidates.
  • SJTs (Situational Judgement Tests) - Evaluates how candidates react to hypothetical workplace situations.
  • Leadership – Takes a deeper dive into the leadership and management capabilities of candidates.
  • Verbal Reasoning – Assesses the comprehension and evaluation of written statements.
  • Numerical Reasoning – Assesses the comprehension and evaluation of numerical data.

Recruiters are depending on reliable psychometric tests with growing regularity to help earmark the best candidates. This growing reliance is inevitable and justifiable as psychometric testing becomes more sophisticated. It’s a potent tool to have at your disposal if you’re actively seeking candidates with aligned values for a close cultural fit.

Additionally, the use of psychometric testing helps you to filter candidates more quickly, enabling automatic progression or rejection of candidates based on their scores against your pre-specified criteria. But it’s more than just an efficient sifting method. There are now multiple different types of tests available. Tests are purpose-designed by the business sector and/or seniority level, providing deeper insights and more powerful candidate matching capabilities than ever before.

A final point that’s well worth mentioning is that psychometric testing has evolved to be smarter than it was initially. In the earlier days, it became apparent it was too easy for candidates to ‘cheat the system’ by saying the things they thought the recruiter wanted to hear.

But the opportunity for sweet talkers to slip through the net has been removed as psychometric testing methods have become more gamified. The questions are much less prone to having the obvious right or wrong answers, candidates enjoy taking part and the results are predictively accurate. Win: Win.


How does psychometric testing address and eradicate unconscious bias?

There are obvious benefits to psychometric testing that are bound to appeal to recruitment teams, namely:

  • Revealing the best talent.
  • Identifying cultural fits.
  • Filtering applications at pace.

However, psychometric testing also challenges unconscious bias head-on. 

All insights gathered when candidates take psychometric tests are blind insights. They aren’t obtained as a result of active involvement from any of the personnel who are responsible for filling your job vacancies. So, unconscious bias is removed because candidates aren’t rejected or progressed based on demographic or visible characteristics.

But, any level of sophisticated psychometric testing is futile if you don’t know how to use it. Like Nadine Cilia of MISCO told The Independent, “Companies which choose to use psychometric assessments need to make sure that they choose the right partner. The assessments in themselves need to be valid and reliable and the assessor needs to know how to use the results appropriately.”


At Vacancy Filler, we believe we’re the right partner for you.

We understand it can be a struggle to unearth the stand-out candidates to progress to the next stage of the process – whilst also upholding diversity and inclusion - if you don’t have psychometric testing at your disposal.

Our market-leading Applicant Tracking System offers hundreds of questions for you to choose from without any additional price tag.

It comes as standard to reject or move candidates forward automatically, depending on their test results against your pre-determined pass rate.


And if you’re interested in skimming even further below the surface of psychometric testing to achieve that true meritocracy, we can show you how.


In addition to using psychometric testing for new hires, our Applicant Tracking System can process existing data to help you analyse what’s going on in the current team. This means you can identify gaps and actively tailor the questions and minimum criteria to plug those gaps when you carry out future recruitment campaigns.


We look forward to helping you leverage your brand reputation using our next-generation recruitment software. You can realistically expect our Applicant Tracking System to have an immediate positive impact on your recruitment process and your business overall.

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