Written by Wea van Heerden of Assessment Toolbox. Contact: Tel: 082 857 7813 - email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -

So often, clients view psychometric assessments only as a product – you do a test to see if someone is able to do a job and that must mean you are following best practice, right? In reality, this means that clients do not critically analyse whether their current service provider is really adding value. Often people believe that merely by doing an assessment with any provider using any combination of tests; it will give the same result. Over the years we have come across a variety of blunders in assessment reports that have convinced us that this is not true. In order to provide our clients with the benefits of this experience, these blunders can be grouped in the following way:

Blunder 1– absence of a competency matrix

In this blunder, the report contains no information about what specific tests were used to assess the information contained in the report. This allows the report to claim anything about the particular individual – for example, what the person’s ability to solve problems is, when no such test was done. A competency matrix serves as a “road map” for the reader and therefore gives the reader more confidence in understanding where the comments in the report come from.
Blunder 2 – long narratives that end up saying nothing

This is a common occurrence – we see reports that are not competency-based and only consist of a long narrative. It does not give a recommendation or outline the risk of appointing a person and makes it very difficult for a line manager who lacks knowledge of psychological assessments to understand the intended meaning.

Blunder 3 - copy and paste madness

Assessment reports are written by junior staff who only copy and paste from computer generated results. It lacks any interpretation of the results in relation to the role. In essence, what the client pays for is a test administration service, rather than an interpretation and integration of the results.

Blunder 4 – pseudo-scientific scores and jargon

Many assessment providers prefer to make use of only graphs and tables that show specific scores and this makes it easier for a line manager to understand and use the report in decision-making. A word of caution though – if your current provider makes use of such scores and graphs, please make sure that you as the end-user understand where these scores come from.

Blunder 5 - standard battery of tests for all roles

One of the reasons why companies use tests is to establish whether there is a match between an applicant and a position. If assessment companies use exactly the same tests for all positions without relating the results into unique competencies for the position, it is much more difficult, if not near impossible to establish job match.