The Merits of Psychometrics

... and why businesses can no longer ignore them


More and more South African businesses and government institutions are reaping the longstanding financial, procurement and other benefits associated with conducting background screening checks to prevent employing candidates with false credentials. However, the need to assess whether candidates are the right fit for the job – from a procurement, recruitment, talent acquisition, succession planning or HR point of view – is becoming all the more prevalent.

Unlike aspects such as education, skills, experience, appearance and punctuality, the behavioural traits, personality and competence of a candidate can be much more difficult to ascertain during an interview. An interview process can be fairly subjective and although employers will normally assess skills and experience fairly accurately, much is still left to first impressions and internal instinct regarding aligned values.

That’s why psychometric assessments have such an important role to play in the overall recruitment and screening process. Not only do they provide an objective view of one’s strengths and development areas, but they also quantify a person’s current and potential skills and capabilities. All of this can then be aligned to job requirements and organisational strategies.

“The right process and correct battery of psychometric and competency-based tests have a higher probability of leading to a great hire, thereby empowering decision-making and removing the guesswork. Ideally, an organisation needs to select an assessment partner who provides a holistic solution, based on best practise methodologies, with knowledge and experience in the South African job environment.

For employers, psychometric testing could help to employ job applicants with high levels of integrity (significantly decreasing chances of corruption), predict the future performance of a candidate and hopefully improve employee retention by making successful hiring decisions. It is essential for an organisation to ensure a good fit that will allow for employees to be efficient and productive. Formal education and past experience will not always provide a clear, up-to-date assessment of personal skills. However, psychometric assessments can, for example, help provide a better, more realistic and current view of a candidate’s abilities than a formal certificate of education.

In light of corruption in the business environment, it makes sense for organisations to employ applicants who score high in the areas of integrity and honesty. One just has to look at the media to be made aware of the risk of fraud and corruption in organisations. And while many will think it won’t happen to them, they should rather be implementing strong selection and retention policies to minimise this risk.

Companies who have incorporated psychometric and competency based assessment into their applicant vetting and selection have seen vast improvements in their recruitment decisions.



ina-red-coloursIna van der Merwe, Director and CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) started the company 28 years ago with the belief that there was a need for confidential clearance screening in the private sector. Ina Van der Merwe set the benchmark for the Background Screening industry by laying a solid foundation and implementing only the best practices.
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