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Assessment Centres and Psychometric Testing

Many organisations use a variety of techniques to help select candidates for interview. None of the traditional recruitment methods are automatically discriminatory but you should review the results and consider if any of your processes are restricting your pool of talent.

Examples

We’ve recently discovered that female candidates were performing well in their assessment centre, but that men were failing the assessment. That just goes to show how much better women will be in this role.” “Women don’t want to take part in our selection procedures – particularly the psychometric testing; it’s not our fault if they don’t want to compete.” “Our psychometric tests consistently demonstrate that men are better suited to jobs in our organisation and share our values.”

Comment

If you are already aware of a possible differential impact of your tests by sex, then you are at risk of an sex discrimination claim. You must look to see why the results are skewed. All assessment techniques should be validated and judged against sex neutral criterion and any bias eliminated. Regular monitoring should take place to check that candidates of both sexes have the same chance otherwise you are needlessly rejecting talent. 

Continuing to disadvantage one sex, might well be considered discriminatory. Find ways to encourage and support applicants of both sexes.

The opinion of recent recruits should be sought on their experience and whether they felt there was any possible sex bias.