Psychometrics have become a popular tool as part of employee selection. There is a high correlation between assessment results and performance on the job. However, in some cases it has just become a tick-box exercise for companies to be seen as doing the right thing rather than a valuable process for the right reasons.

The use of psychometric and competency-based assessments is not only limited to the selection process, they are used extensively to identify potential talent, vision and leadership within an organisation making then part of the entire HR value chain.

South African businesses are increasingly using psychometrics to enable people decisions. Some, however, see the implementation of psychometric assessments as checking the box, just part of another HR process, to give management the comfort that it has been done.  Unfortunately, if assessment is not conducted with meaning and purpose the stakeholders start to question the relevance and value.


Know WHY you are using assessments;

The organisation needs to have a clear reason for doing assessments- to hire right-fit talent, identify potential, or develop underperforming team members.  If you understand why you are using assessments, you will be able to select the right tools and know how to apply the results. The type of assessment tools and how you apply them would greatly differ depending on your purpose.  Knowing what you are trying to achieve as a business and HR department is the starting point.

Decide WHAT you are going to assess, with WHICH tools;

It is very important to understand the science behind the tools that you select. You need to make sure that they measure your key constructs, they are appropriate for your applicants or employees, they can be evaluated against appropriate benchmarks, they have a track record in your industry and results can be easily interpreted.

Plan HOW you going to assess;

Some needs to champion the process – decide when to introduce psychometrics,  will you use online or administered tools, outsource or use internal capability. Asking these questions will help you gain insight on process, time and return on investment.

Link the process to overall organisational strategy;

Get company-wide buy-in. A company that values great talent should align best practice processes within their strategic direction, this enables employers to make better decisions in regards to their human capital.

Measure the return;

Make sure you use your assessment data to help you learn more about your people, answer key questions about your talent and target organizational areas for improvement.  Psychometrics should enable you to lower employee turnover, increase employee engagement levels and predict higher performance. You will need to be able to demonstrate the ROI in order for assessment to be sustainable.


Over the last 15 years, through our own practical experience we have seen how psychometrics has helped many companies reach their full “talent” potential.  The cases where the value has and ROI has been low is where it is just done as a ‘tick box’ exercise.

Kirsten Halcrow