Government agencies spent more than $1.5 million on personality and ability testing in the past year – and some departments may be using the results to swing the axe on employees.
Employment lawyers and psychologists say the increasing use of psychometric testing as part of restructures and redundancies in the public service could be illegal.
I think psychometric testing can be very useful when recruiting candidates, and have seen it used often very usefully.
However I am very skeptical that it is a good idea to use it for decision making on redundancies among existing staff. Employers should know enough about their current staff that they can make decisions around restructuring without psychometric testing.
Public Service Association national secretary Brenda Pilott said it was calling on the State Services Commissioner to halt the use of testing for restructures.
“When you’re restructuring, you are dealing with people who are your staff. They will have had performance reviews – there should be very little you find out about that person from a psychometric test you don’t already know.”
But a State Services Commission spokeswoman disagreed, saying: “Such testing, in order to obtain a full picture of a candidate, is a legitimate tool alongside others, such as interviews and reference checking, to come to a considered decision on employing the best people.”
I’m with the PSA on this one. The SSC argument applies well for recruitment but restructuring is different.