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A conversation between a sceptic and a convert: How psychometric testing during recruitment can be more than just a tick box exercise.

Karumba’s Marketing Director, Lucy Wain, interviews Karumba’s CEO, Simon Wise, on how using testing when resourcing project teams can add real value if done well, and why it so often doesn’t. 


LW: I’ll confess, I’m a total sceptic about the value of psychometric testing during the recruitment process.  In fact, I’m a sceptic about any form of testing other than technical tests where there are no grey areas.  Can you change mind on this? 


SW: Firstly, I’ll say I was also a sceptic.  That was until we started to build project teams, in addition to our technology transformation work, and I wanted to make sure we developed a recruitment process that was better than the traditional approaches that are still commonly used.  My main objective was to ensure that when our clients met the final two candidates for the first time, they were guaranteed that either one of those individuals had both the technical capabilities and would be the right fit for their organisation.  By doing this we take all the hard work from our clients so they can focus on their day jobs. 


So, as well as designing an interview process that had the right number of stages to identify the best candidates, I also looked at all the tools and techniques available to help with that.  The conclusion I came to was that no single type of test, or no single type of interview technique was valuable if used in isolation.  And the application of multiple different tools and techniques would also not be useful unless the process was tailored to the role and the organisation.  Also it was essential that the dots were joined between the various sources of insight gathered on each candidate for it to be of any value. 


LW: So, are you are saying is there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to excellent resourcing and that all forms of testing do play a role? 


SW: Yes, in one sense, it is extremely effective if a business, or their resourcing supplier, can tailor a recruitment process and the candidate tests involved, to that role and scenario.  On the other hand, I do believe that, particularly where you need someone to hit the ground running, a combination of technical testing, psychometric testing and person-to-person interviewing gives a more effective outcome. 


LW: Ok, that makes a lot of sense.  Can you tell me more about how you approach the testing aspects within the Karumba resourcing model?  At this point I am still a little sceptical! 


SW: Sure, the Karumba model approach to testing candidates (whether technical or from a cultural fit) is to focus on the three areas of values, abilities, and skills.      


Our first round is always the technical skills test as often we receive high numbers of CVs and this is a cost effective, and accurate, way of reducing the pool to a manageable number.  To test the technical skills needed, our experience leading technical programmes ourselves means we can create custom technical tests depending on the role and experience required.  Equally we can take a clients’ pre-existing test and ensure they are completed within the process.  Either way, we will advise our clients on which option is likely to ensure we find the best candidates for the role.  


The next round is always a phone or video call to ask some basic screening questions and to get a ‘human’ sense of whether that individual would be a good fit for the role and our clients’ business.  


After this comes the psychometric testing.  The unique way in which we approach this is to not just use one psychometric test as, believe it or not, some candidates are able to cheat/game these.  By using a selection of tests, in conjunction, we can eliminate this risk. 


We make these psychometric tests mandatory because the longevity and success of an individual in any role is usually down to whether they are a good fit for that role and for that organisation.  It might be that the perfect candidate is a real introvert, but through the personality testing they demonstrate they have a strong ability to engage and communicate with others.  Or it’s possible that the candidate profile you may look for in a permanent team might be completely different from the candidate profile you’d look for on a project team.  Using a selection of psychometric tests in an interview process can provide several clues to see if you’ve got the right characteristics and personality to compliment your existing team. 


During the interview process, we will start to join the dots between all the insight we have gained on each candidate.  We can then take the data from the recruitment process, and corelate candidates  against skills, capabilities, salary expectations and location. That way we can demonstrate evaluate a range of candidates (sometimes with a client alongside) and understand hwere teh best skills, abilities and values map agianst market rate and location. It shines light inside a, traditionally, black box.  Once a decision is made, this information enables us to tailor the onboarding and performance management to each person. 


Most importantly, the combination of testing and interviews means we are not just saying to our clients, here’s a CV and these are their qualifications.  We give our clients insight throughout the process and a view of the wider candidate market in real time so our clients know how much they should be paying for which skills.  This data can also be used to inform future hiring decisions. 


LW: Ok, I think I might be a convert… almost!  Hearing that you use a selection of tests, and not just one, was interesting and I can see how that gives you a really rounded view of the candidates.  One last thing I’d be keen to understand more about is the value of the aggregated candidate data – in particular how you use the salary data in an accurate way? 


SW: Overall generating data during multiple recruitment processes gives you a real-time baseline with which to make decisions from.  When it comes to working out the correct salary, organisations either rely on their recruiter to tell them, they will look at LinkedIn to find adverts of a similar roles that show a salary, or they will look to a standard annual salary benchmark report (usually produced by a traditional recruiter).  With all these methods, there are so many unknown variables and, in the case of benchmark reports, data ranges are used and the parameters are often unknown.  With our data model, we use real time information and analytics so our clients can make an informed decision. 


LW: This is interesting, and not something I’ve ever seen offered to me in all my years of recruiting.   


SW: That’s right, the Karumba Consulting way of finding and retaining good talent for our clients is different, and the most important aspect is that we take the entire burden of recruitment from our clients.  We can guarantee that when the client enters the process to meet the final stage candidates, every one of those candidates can do the job.  This removes, not just the recruitment fees, but our clients valuable man hours and the opportunity costs of getting it wrong. 


This resourcing service is something we have developed, and offer, alongside our core digital and technology transformation services.  The Karumba way of working is to own the outcomes on behalf of our clients, so whether that’s leading a complex technology transformation programme or building a best in class programme team, we always take the challenge out of our clients’ hands and deliver back the best results possible. 


LW: That’s been hugely insightful, and I think you may possibly have a convert here! 

For more information or to have a chat please do contact us at


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