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Psychometric Tests – Recruiting young talent or filtering it out?

Deadlines for Graduate Schemes are approaching just as fast as these four weeks of University have passed. Between lectures, seeing friends and working on my dissertation, I am trying to plan my next life steps. Scrolling through Debut’s job postings and graduate schemes has become my black hole of time. My hiring potential is, supposedly, at 75%. I have archived a few business analyst graduate schemes of companies with big names, generic programs, presented as an opportunity that must not be missed. After a week of archiving schemes, I felt myself losing interest. I realized pretty quickly that my lack of motivation to go past the stage of archival, is attributable to the hurdle which follows after the timely process of writing a cover letter – psychometric tests.

My pride of being ahead of time and applying to a few positions last month dissipated quickly, when I was consistently thrown out of the race at the online assessment stage.  In good faith, I went to a psychometric testing workshop at the KCL Career’s centre and wanted to find out how I could improve. The speaker had studied psychometrics herself and worked at Sparta Global, a company which supposedly receives thousands of graduate applications every month. I expected her to equip me with tricks, explanations, golden rules. Instead, I found myself questioning the existence of psychometric tests and analysing how quickly her facial expressions changed, how spasmically she spoke and moved. Being in that room full of students who had no specific interests or aspirations and wanted the security of a track, made me realize that I had completely forgotten what I actually care about. My mind had fooled me into believing that I just needed a few years as a general analyst and then I could do what I cared about.  The enticing thought of being on a track, having the satisfaction of status and having a recognizable firm name on my CV, had clearly side-tracked me from my actual ambitions.

Although making a crude generalization, I wonder whether the nature of these companies’ online assessments reflects the approach they take towards “young talent.” Psychometric tests primarily value speed. Although accuracy can be part of them and they certainly attempt to test someones capacities holistically, they are still far from it. Maybe it’s a good thing that I decided not to go forth with my graduate scheme applications, because they clearly filter out young talent that approaches tasks differently. I thought the workplace and nature of work was progressing towards a more creative approach. Can it really, if they already filter out those below a certain score at the first stage? Perhaps what I am doing is simply letting out my frustration of getting rejected. But I think it is important to question the hiring process of these firms, who can have immense impacts on our system’s and cities’ processes. Consultancy firms are those who advise and help to transform. How creative will these approaches really be, if their way of hiring employees focuses mainly on speed and accuracy, rather than out-of-the-box-thinking? Taking psychometric tests made me think of myself as someone who is illogical, slow and lacking analytical aptitude. But I like to believe that the value of people like me, who have a different thought process, one which might be considered slower, but is often much more innovative and unique, should not be overlooked.

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