If you’re asked, or more likely told, by your organisation to take a psychometric it is useful to know:
- They can’t tell you everything there is to know about you
- They are problematic because a lot of the research around their validity comes from the organisations that sell said psychometric
- They are often context dependant and your answers will be impacted by what’s going on for you when you fill in the questionnaire
- Most people debriefing the tools don’t have an understanding of the math behind them
- It’s not unusual to feel like something is wrong with you, especially if you are comparing your results with others
- Confirmation bias may influence how you see the results – if you’re looking for something you will generally find it and filter out information to the contrary
- They can do as much harm as good – check out this Hidden Brain podcast episode that goes into positive and negative experiences of MBTI
- People often use their results as an excuse for their behaviour and the reason they can’t change
I’m not entirely sure why organisations love psychometrics so much outside of assessment centres. Perhaps it is a cost effective way to put a lot of staff through personal development, maybe it creates a shared language so people can talk about differences and how to use them for positive impact or maybe it’s just a way to use up a chunk of time in training.
I know why I like psychometrics. It’s for the same reason I used to love doing those Cosmo quizzes, it’s a chance to get a different insight into me and why I experience the world as I do.
I like using them with clients as well because it’s a way to get people focusing on their strengths and how they can use these to develop weaker areas. Although, as I’ve been writing this letter I’ve noticed how confirmation and expectation biases might be causing me to lead my clients towards outcomes suggested by the report.
I’m reminded of a time when I was training to use a psychometric and I was practicing debriefing a colleague. A few minutes in the trainer came over and told me I didn’t have to coach it all out of him I could show him the report.
You know yourself the best. You are the expert in you, not some computer generated report that can sometimes read like a horoscope.
So if you do, do a psychometric and it resonates with you then by all means delve into it and extract as much value as you can, but if it doesn’t, then dump it.
What have your experiences with psychometric been? Let me know, I love getting email from real people and will reply to everyone.