Thirty years ago psychometric tests were largely administered by men in white coats and viewed by most managers with a healthy dose of scepticism. Now, most people in senior business roles will have completed a psychometric questionnaire either as part of a recruitment process or within a leadership development programme.
In recent years the number of psychometric tools has increased significantly. Quality varies hugely along with cost. A quick search on line or flick through a magazine will provide access to numerous free questionnaires, all claiming to unveil your hidden abilities and confirm your suitability to a given job role. At the other end of the spectrum you can pay several hundred pounds for a tool that will generate a ‘personal report’ an inch thick full of psychological terminology and coloured charts. Both have their place and probably contain some useful insights, if you are able to find them.
We prefer those that can be completed in a controlled environment (just because someone is online it doesn’t mean they are calm, well rested or sober). And most importantly the results can be easily understood, not just by the participant but also by his or her team mates, peers and superiors.
Whilst the men in white coats no longer administer questionnaires they are working on the next generation of assessment tools. Using brain scanners to monitor the way in which our brains make decisions they can assess our strategic thinking ability. Rory Cellan-Jones recently visited Reading University to see the scanner in action and to be tested himself.