The Benefits and Challenges of Psychometric Profiling

Terri Hill
April 16, 2024

Psychometric profiling can be defined as ‘the process of understanding an individual’s personality, behavioural style, and reasoning skills using a data-directed, objective, and structured approach’.

There’s a ton of psychometric assessment tools out there, and they’re often used during recruitment processes to assist in determining a person’s suitability for a role based on the required characteristics, which can include abilities, aptitude, behaviours, motivation, personality, preferences, styles, values and more. There is an increasing number of businesses who are now also recognising the power in leveraging these tools and insights to drive development, innovation and growth initiatives across their organisation.

So let’s take a look at some of the benefits and challenges below.

  • When used thoughtfully, psychometric assessments are a powerful tool that can provide accurate and objective data. For example, when recruiting for technically complex roles, assessments that measure cognitive ability can be a successful predictor of performance and potential.
  • Psychometrics provide standardisation, removing individual bias and providing a consistent approach. This adds validity to recruitment processes, which helps ensure fairness and an equal playing field for candidates.
  • Introducing psychometric tools for coaching and development helps build awareness of strengths, areas of opportunities, preferences and avoidances not just in individuals but also in teams and organisations. Often these insights can provide both an ‘aha’ moment of clarity, as well as a sense of validation around what they already know to be true. This can have a direct impact on engagement and job satisfaction, and provide valuable insights that drive future capability development initiatives.
  • They also create a common language that can encourage open dialogue around topics that may have previously been considered taboo or challenging to navigate, and they can provide confidence and opportunities for discussion and inclusion for those who may have previously hesitated to share their thoughts or ideas, leading to improved communication and collaboration.

  • There can be a number of challenges when using psychometric tools, particularly during the recruitment process. The obvious one is when it comes to behavioural and personality profiling tools which are typically self-assessments, candidates of course want to put their best foot forward and may attempt to game the assessment and falsify the result in the hope of being seen as the more favourable candidate.
  • The experience and skill of those reviewing the data also comes into play. The results of psychometric profiling should never be used in isolation to make a decision; people are more than just a test result. It’s important that those reviewing the insights are qualified to interpret the data accurately and are able to remove their own bias and avoid misinterpreting, overinterpreting or oversimplifying the data leading to incorrect assumptions or decisions.
  • Some styles of psychometric assessments also have the potential to disadvantage those from diverse backgrounds, especially when it comes to culture, linguistics and neurodiversity. As someone who is neurodiverse, I’ve more than once found myself burning time during an assessment by poking holes in the logic of questions or scenarios, rather than focusing on the assumed literal intent of the question.
  • When it comes to coaching and development, it can be easy for individuals and teams to fall back on using frameworks and terminology as rationale or excuses to double down on avoidances or areas of opportunity. It’s also important that profiling insights are not used to label or pigeonhole others, and that discussion is respectful and aligns with best practice for the tool at hand.

Why do we care about psychometrics?

At OBSIDEA we’re certified in two of the world’s most popular profiling tools, The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI) which measures thinking styles and Extended DISC (EDISC) which unlike other DISC assessments measures both hard-wired and adjusted behavioural styles.

We’ve used these tools in organisations we’ve worked both in and with, and we’ve seen the impact they can have firsthand on self-awareness, communication, motivation, and engagement in organisations across a variety of industries. We don’t promote anything we don’t wholeheartedly believe in ourselves, and we also recognise that when it comes to psychometrics every organisation’s needs are different, so we’re also not here to be a jack of all trades. Our focus is and always has been the learning experience and development of people.

Whilst HBDI and EDISC are not designed to be used in conjunction with one another and there are fundamental differences between the two, there are also some similarities in both the way the insights are delivered and in the way they can be utilised for development. Now here’s where you’re expecting the “Reach out if you’re interested to know more” sales pitch, right? Wrong. I mean, it’s coming, sure, but we didn’t get into psychometrics to sell stuff.

One of the primary reasons we care about psychometrics, and specifically HBDI and EDISC, is that having an understanding of thinking preferences and the behaviours and traits that can manifest from these preferences helps OBSIDEA improve learning design, accessibility and knowledge retention outcomes. This is just one enabler of how we’re able to ‘bridge the relationship between complexity and simplicity with simplexity’ for our clients.

Personally, I believe using validated frameworks and data driven insights to build learning experiences that cater to everyone trumps knocking out content based on mythical ‘learning styles’ any day, but that’s a debate for another day.

We’re passionate about these tools because they help us help you; being able to offer them as way to develop your talent and organisation is just an added bonus.

Reach out if you’re interested to know more, or click here to read our offering.😉