Methodology of testing employed

Companies recruit personnel for blue collar and office support roles in order to fill a requirement in the organisation for certain tangible skills and competencies. The personality of these individuals in most cases is deemed less important than the skills that they hold. Due to the nature of non executive recruitment skill based testing such as typing or welding tests which prove a candidates competence is much more relevant than personality tests. The decision to test is dependent on the philosophy of the organisation.

Extreme care should be taken with regard to the legal ramifications that may occur if the testing can be construed as unnecessary, discriminatory, or not directly related to the skills or physical restraints of the job. Testing may also be costly. If it is decided to conduct testing it is best to specifically determine the reason and the objectives for doing so (Luszez & Kleiner, 2000). In today’s market, testing is sold to recruitment companies as a quick fix solution.

Recruitment firms need to stop and analyse their whole recruitment process in order to check the time versus return of investment value of some of these tests. In most cases traditional methods still produce the best and most cost effective results. Selection of employees based on their psychological traits has traditionally been viewed as a recruitment strategy exclusive to the executive sector. With an increase in competition and higher employer expectations, psychometric and skill testing is one tool that is becoming more popular across all markets of recruitment (Lievens, Van Dam ; Anderson, 2002, Terpstra, 1994).

There are numerous tests available for today’s market for non-executive roles. These tests assess competencies such as numerical skills, written understanding, information handling, spatial reasoning, dexterity, speed and accuracy and personality. The objective of this paper is to provide a critical examination of the use of testing methods including psychometric and skills testing in recruitment for non-executive positions in the blue collar and office support markets.

This will be achieved by the review of common approaches to recruitment and selection, traditional testing methods, psychometric and skills testing. This will be followed by a discussion involving the integration of theory into practice with respect to testing platforms used by the recruitment agency Integrated Group Ltd. The paper will analyse the rise in popularity of psychometric and skills testing as well as describe the issue of context validity and the problems that this may present.

When referring to testing this will include anything where information is obtained to assist in making a decision as to whether a candidate is selected for a position. This will include traditional assessment and interview techniques and skill and psychometric testing. There is no doubt that the days of making recruitment decisions based solely on applications and gut feelings are over. With a move by companies towards smaller more specialised teams, more emphasis has been placed on finding and keeping the right people (Frankenfield & Kleiner, 2000).

An organisation achieves this by having a structured recruitment process engineered to identify candidates with the necessary qualifications, skills and attitudes required to achieve the organisation’s goals, strategies and objectives. In the last 20 years there has been an increasing trend towards the use of psychometric assessment in organisations. A New Zealand study, Dakin, Nilakant ; Jensen (1994) of recruitment firms found that cognitive and personality tests were the most frequently used, particularly in the area of executive recruitment.

This study also revealed that the use of tests is partly client driven. Not only do clients request the use of particular tests ,tests, in the competitive world of recruitment, firms use testing as a marketing tool to demonstrate capability over competitors. This study, conducted 10 years ago describes a rising trend in the recruitment industry that has grown exponentially since the study was conducted. Before considering the implications of specific testing methodology it is important that general recruitment methodology be reviewed.