Are psychometrics becoming meaningless ?

I have been working in the Organizational Development field in India for the past 10 years and have noticed a disturbing trend in the past 2 to 3 years: the explosion of psychometric specialists and of home made psychometric tools. To be honest i wonder the impact this has on our market. Psychometric assessments, whether psychological or behavioural, are extremely powerful tools in order to create self-awareness, social awareness and to better manage relationships, if these tools are valid and reliable (in the academic sense of these terms). The fact that so many companies are advertising their own ‘home made’ tools is probably taking a lot away from the credibility of tested psychometrics and harming our industry as a whole. I’d like to share three examples that i have come across. The first one is a young independent consultant that I met in Chennai a few years ago, when trying to hire new local consultants for our bangalore based OD firm. He introduced himself, biz card and all, as a psychometric expert. Since we use a few of them (MBTI, HBDI, Social Styles, Hogan, IDI) in our interventions, I thought he could be an interesting consultant. When i asked him about his expertise, he told me that he had developed his own tool. Intrigued, i asked for more information. It turned out that this young man can look at you for 30 seconds and tell you ‘all about your life’. That was his psychometric assessment…Second example, i was approached, a few months ago by another independent looking to partner with us. There again, his LI profile and resume introduce him as a psychometric specialist. Always interested, i get him in for an interview. When i probed him on his expertise, he told me that he was coming out of a 4 day intensive psychometric certification (open) workshop where he was certified on 16 (!) different tools, including MBTI and Firo-B. The MBTI certification alone takes 4 days and the the certification for India on both these tools belong a Anahat consulting through a partnership with CPP (owners of the MBTI). His certifications are not valid! I really felt sorry for him as I am sure this young man is a very good trainer and he got ripped off by an unethical company. However, i cannot even think about using his ‘certified expertise’ for my business. Last example, i just came across a company that creates tailor made psychometrics for its clients. I am sure this company has good intentions and their psychometric developer seems very experienced and qualified. Nevetheless, I wonder how these tools are validated (officially there needs to be a certain numer of PhD research papers done to validate a psychometric) and how reliable they are (what algorhythm do they use and who verfies that the algorhythm works as it is intended?). Without validation and reliability these are questionnaires/test but NOT psychometric assessments.

If these practices do not change, I am afraid that professional, and ethical, psychometric administrators, will suffer a strong backlash from their clients.

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One Response to Are psychometrics becoming meaningless ?

  1. Sukh Pabial says:

    I didn’t realise there was such prevalence of the development of bad psychometric tools. Thanks for writing and sharing this.

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