One of the questions that we are commonly asked by new customers is whether our psychometric reports are computer generated or written by a person. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each of these, depending on the purpose of the assessment, your budget, and how quickly you need results.
Many people are familiar with the instantly computer-generated reports that are offered by a number of personality tests – you would likely have seen variations of these for free online, telling you which Simpsons or Game of Thrones character you are most like, given your responses to a series of questions. There are also more comprehensive versions that are commonly used for developmental or team building purposes. Some of the features of computer-generated reports which can make them appealing to use include:
- They are generated quickly and available immediately after completing the assessment
- They are easy to do at scale with large numbers of candidates
- They often don’t require interpretation by an accredited professional
- Because there is no interpretation required, they can be a cheaper option
While computer-generated reports may be useful for some situations, they do have some downsides. The interpretation provided is, by nature, quite generic and not tailored to a role, organisation, or often even work-specific behaviours. The interpretation is also much less nuanced, and unlikely to take into consideration specific combinations of personality traits and how these come together with others to influence behaviour for a specific individual.
For selection purposes, we always opt for tailored reports written by trained consultants and psychologists, using data from reliable and valid work-related personality assessments. These assessments give us information about the relative strength of a candidate’s behavioural preferences on over 30 different personality traits, compared to people in similar roles. Our consultants look at the raw data from these assessments, the job description for the role, and map the candidate’s results onto the competencies required. We then provide both a written description of the candidate’s likely approach or behaviours for each competency, as well as a traffic-light rating indicating their strength, competence, or development requirements for that competency.
Other advantages to using tailor-written reports include:
- The interpretation can be tailored to a specific role or organisation, in an easy-to-read format for recruitment and/or hiring managers to review and understand
- We can pull out specific things that the hiring organisation is interested in (e.g. how well will this person handle multiple competing priorities and different stakeholders)
- Multiple assessments (e.g. personality, cognitive abilities, safety behaviour) from different providers can be pulled together in one interpretation
They provide a more nuanced interpretation (looking at the interaction between multiple traits, rather than just looking at each trait individually) and therefore a better picture of candidates’ suitability and development areas for that specific role
- Because there is more interpretation required, we can capture a greater range in personality variance
Given the time and expertise taken to write tailored reports, this option can take longer and cost more than using computer-generated reports. However, the richer information that these reports provide, especially when combined with a verbal de-brief from a consultant, provides an extra level of confidence when making important hiring decisions.
By Courtenay McGill