Do Candidates Hate Psychometric Assessment?

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Sharing with someone that you’re an ‘Organisational Psychologist’is always an interesting experience and one which almost always comes with questions, curiosity and ordinarily ‘What is that? Sounds different?’. Whilst this may speak to our need to promote ourselves properly in the market as you pick what element of your working life to share you invariably fall back on ‘Have you ever done an assessment when applying for a job?”

This question often sparks ‘oh yeah I hate those’ or something stronger, and often a debate about the needs and merits of assessment, especially for those who feel they have ‘proved’ themselves in other roles so what more do you need to know?

This raises a point that is always at the forefront of our mind when working with clients, and that is ‘are we being fair on the candidate’ and how will the candidate experience this? It speaks to the fact that applying for a job is a two way engagement between the organisation and the candidate where both ultimately want a positive experience to begin a working relationship and trust is important from the beginning. So what can we do about this?

Firstly, there is the research (Schmidt et al, 2016) which tells us that candidates tend to perceive online assessments of ability or actual work simulations as fair. Candidates report seeing a prestige in the role and appreciate steps an organisation may be taking to ensure the best candidate; and can naturally see an alignment between the assessment and a work role. However, there appears to be less favourable views of motivation or personality questionnaires and other less ‘direct’ assessment methods despite the value we know exists (see ‘Not All Assessments Are Created Equal’). The fact that candidates perceive value in ability assessments speaks to the perceived relevance of the assessment process so how can we enhance this in all aspects of a process?

Appropriate Assessments

It goes without saying that the appropriateness of an assessment methodology is not going to be a ‘one size fits all’ exercise. Ensuring that the time we are asking candidates to spend on assessment, and the alignment between assessment and job role is critical. Drawing from 200+ assessments from around the world Chandler Macleod is better placed than any organisation and we take care in the assessments we choose. Could you be using shorter timed assessments without losing accuracy? Are you aware of new technologies and approaches to minimise assessment time? Does your candidate really need to complete a difficult numerical test? These questions are all naturally good places to start if you have been hitting all candidates with the same approach you are using for senior managers.

Highlight Fairness

Whilst it may seem trite in what is a competitive process whereby someone ‘wins’ the job and others miss out, the opportunity exists to highlight the fairness and objectivity of the process to candidates (see ‘Assessment is About Fairness’). With each candidate having the exact some opportunity to demonstrate their ability many will agree this is more favourable than being hired because someone ‘liked you’ the most. Who wants to miss out on a role to someone with lower ability after all?

Highlight Shared Purpose

With less ‘direct’ measures of capability it is important to highlight shared purpose and value for the candidate. With respect to personality assessment we always encourage clients to highlight that decisions are not based on these alone but can provide insights as to where candidate strengths lie and how best to help them perform in an organisation. Perhaps there is an opportunity to redesign elements of a job role, ensure there is additional support and critically incorporate the information into future career development and talent planning within an organisation. The value of assessment should not stop at the selection stage of the relationship!


At Chandler Macleod we offer telephone feedbacks to candidates whether they are successful or unsuccessful and is something we value in our organisation. Highlighting the opportunity for feedback to candidates increases their engagement and importantly provides value to the candidate who is likely to gain some insight, understand the tools better, and perhaps be better equipped to manage their career, future interviews, perhaps even life! If we ask candidates to undergo a challenging process, it is only fair that candidate care extends beyond the final selection decision.


Broadly, it may be an enlightened candidate who ‘loves assessment’ and sees it as an opportunity to really demonstrate their skills, but ensuring for everyone else they see value, benefit and fairness in the process is key to protecting your brand reputation, increasing trust with your candidates, and delivering best outcomes for all. If you feel you could lighten the time burden on your candidates or improve your candidate communications speak with a consultant to learn about the latest products or approaches in the market.

If you want to get the best insights with the best possible candidate experience reach out to understand more on 1300 664 305 or at


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