My personal experience of psychometric testing has been very positive and I would heartily recommend their use in certain situations. They can reveal a great deal about the person being tested and future employers as well as the employees themselves can use them to strengthen the way in which the staff team is constructed and help decide if a given candidate is the right match for a given task or role. However they do depend on the person taking the test being honest about themselves and they are not infallible. A friend once took a test and intentionally misanswered some of the questions – instead of revealing anything about his qualities or character, the test reported that he was very confused and did not have a clear sense of what he wanted to achieve. Not surprisingly he did not get offered the job!
Although there has been a great deal of criticism for Esther McVey in suggesting that people who are struggling to find work, could be offered such tests to help them and the people at DWP to find appropriate work opportunities, the principle behind the idea is sound. The practice does however depend on the DWP staff being trained to understand how to use these tests (there are a range of different types) and having the time and resources to support the job seekers into work, and that there are jobs available. The worry that many have including myself is that these tests will be used to give the appearance of changing the game without really making any difference. However I do think that having raised the idea of the tests in the public realm, that we might all benefit from their use.
One of the most frustrating aspect of our electoral system is that the Political Parties ask us to elect candidates based on what the Party can offer, with only a small amount of background information from the candidates themselves. What about asking all of the candidates for the election to all undergo a psychometric test prior to the election. The test would need to be carried out by an Independent body that could ensure that the tests were the candidates own work. However then instead of testing if the candidate was wearing a Blue rosette or Red rosette etc, we would have some of the character traits which could help us to work out which of the MPs, Cllrs, PCCs or MEPs would make the best representative, based on our criteria. This along with the manifesto promises would offer a much more comprehensive way of selecting our elected officials. If testing is good enough for the long term unemployed, why not our own representatives?