Could University Students Benefit from Psychometric Testing?

Psychometric tests are now commonplace as part of any recruitment process and career development in thousands of organisations throughout the UK. There are elements (ability testing and identifying aptitudes) that can support students as they graduate.

This has recently been discussed in an in-depth article in The Guardian which highlighted the struggles of students graduating from university in 2009.  Six students from University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University discussed how they had gone about finding employment over a twelve month period.

Each and every student started off with slightly unrealistic expectations but with aspirations of the sort of roles they wanted to gain from journalism through to online research development and sound design.  They were all prepared to be flexible in the roles they gained which helped.

There was one quote towards the end of the story which really made us think: “The only career guidance we got was to write a CV each year for their records,” says Page. “I was taught nothing about how to succeed in interviews.”

At the end of the twelve months none of the students were quite where they had hoped they would be. One was contemplating travelling around South Asia before returning to the UK; another was hoping to start work shortly at a headhunting agency; the remainder in employment were in receptionist work and working in a theatre.

The question is, could psychometric testing and support have benefited such graduates?  The answer (predictably some may say) from us would be a resounding “yes” – with one caveat in that aptitude testing, when used in conjunction with career guidance and advice and how to find the hidden jobs in the marketplace would have assisted.

Targeted hidden jobs is a discipline in its own right and one that companies such as Holst Group strategic Partner, The Connor Consultancy, will be discussing in a future article on www.psychometricblog.co.uk. In today’s crowded job market the number of people going for each role is incredibly high and will remain at this level for the foreseeable future.

But back to how a psychometric test such as McQuaig could have supported students graduating from specific courses.  Those studying in industry specific degrees such as media and science could utilise the results of an aptitude test to identify the right sort of role for them. This will give them the opportunity to hone their efforts towards the jobs that they can get.

One interesting point made from an employer within the article was that such is the competition for each role by the graduate population that they are often ill prepared for the interview. In one instance, an interviewee could not spell the name of the company in spite of the fact that the organisation’s name was clearly visible in the application form.

Psychometric testing should be offered to graduates where aptitude testing could add real value, enabling people to get into a role far quicker.