In simple terms, reliability indicates consistency which means scores of a test and set of data should remain stable spanning time period and instances of application. This can be understood from a simple analogy of using a weighing scale. If a person weighs himself or herself several times a day, then a reliable scale is going to give the same results.
Psychometric assessments are administered by organizations to figure out a candidate’s cognitive capacities, behavioural styles and personality traits to understand if they will be a good fit for the job and the company’s overall culture. When it comes to reliability, psychometric tests are no different than weighing scales. If a test gives consistent scores for personality characteristics of an individual, it is said to be reliable.
It is crucial for psychometric assessments to be reliable because they help organizations take hiring decisions. According to studies, bad recruiting decisions are responsible for close to 80% of employee turnover. So, we see how important it is for organizations to choose a psychometric test which is both reliable and valid.
Test reliability depends upon a number of factors like the timing between two test sessions, the construction of test elements (including test instructions), the conditions specific to the test-taker and more. However, one needs to keep in mind that it will not always be possible to remove all discrepancies in test reliability. The thoughts and feelings and the environment (in which the test is taken) may vary across time and this may bring about variance in scores.
Organizations need to consider all the factors that may lead to variance. Other aspects such as inadequate instructions, bias or prejudice while scoring and making assumptions about the test-taker also affect reliability.
As a hiring manager, make sure the psychometric tests you use are measuring what they are supposed to. Check out this infographic below to know what aspects you need to keep in mind:
About the author:
Nishant Muralidharan is a Senior Associate, Insight Marketer in Mettl, one of India’s largest, fastest growing assessment and skill measurement company. Among other things, Nishant has taken to developing strong content around insights for the HR fraternity derivative of his communication with professionals of the field. He is also a published author in the fantasy genre, releasing a book titled the ‘Tempestatem’ in 2015.