Psychometric analysis and recruitment | Free essay | Management essays


1. Introduction:

1.1 Preview:

The main idea of this chapter is to discuss the introduction of the research and its background and to discuss about psychometric analysis and its importance in recruitment. In this chapter, the researcher is also introducing justification of the research, aims and objectives of the research and explained the sequential outline of the study.

1.2 Research Title:

“Analysis of Psychometric Assessment in Recruitment – Using a case study on ‘Tesco’”

1.2.1 Research Aims:

The aim of the research is to analyse the use, advantages and disadvantages of the psychometric assessment. This also includes a case study based on Tesco, a retail industry.

1.2.2 Research Objectives:

The objectives of doing this research using the study are:

  1. To study about the effectiveness of psychometric assessment.
  2. To analyse the psychometric assessment using a case study.
  3. To study how successful is psychometric assessment in the recruitment process.
  4. To know the advantages and disadvantages of the psychometric assessment.

1.3 Research questions:

  1. How useful is psychometric assessment?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of psychometric assessment?
  3. Are the employers and the candidates happy with this assessment?

1.4 Scope:

The scope involves understanding how the psychometric assessment works and how useful it is. And the study also includes the advantages and disadvantages of the psychometric assessment.

The study covers the following topics:

  1. The study covers the importance of psychometric assessment in recruitment process.
  2. The satisfaction of the employers, employees and the candidates.
  3. Analysis of the psychometric assessment in recruitment process.
  4. This study is done in a retail industry situated in UK.
  5. Involves role of employers and employees of the organisations in research.
  6. Involvement of candidates who have attended the assessment but are not working in the organisations.

1.5 Research Rationale:

The concern to the psychometric tests with regards to selection has been increasing.

According to Kline, 1993, “Psychometric assessments maximise the chances of recruiting the correct candidate for the specified job. It is understood from the Research on a wide range of businesses and roles that the use of psychometric assessments, with regards to the ability tests, increases the success rate”. (Kline, 1993, p.374)

It is important to note that reliability should be there on testing and should give the same result which is valid always, and continue with their type of testing maintaining records for the proofs when an assessment is marked.

The rationale behind the development of this tool is that those who have high levels of both linear and lateral thinking, i.e., diagonal thinkers, are far more likely to succeed in the advertising industry.

The cognitive skills are judged from the abilities and the reasoning assessments which are to be applied in the workplace. These assessments show the performance of the candidate on the job and also their capability for improvement and development in the organisation. Tests typically used in this form of assessment are those which test. “The verbal, quantitative, and abstract reasoning are tested using these assessments. These are recognised as crucial factors of a person’s capability for performance and development in the workplace.” (Iles and Salaman, 1995)

And the personality assessments help in testing the suitability of a person’s attitude with the organisational culture and also the abilities needed for the role. Such characteristics often taken into account are:

  • “interpersonal interaction in the workplace
  • style of thinking
  • consistency of work performance
  • emotions and self attitude
  • Coupled with ability assessments, the motivation and abilities required for a job are shown in the personality tests.”.

Ref: Bridge Consulting, Specialist Recruitment, 27/2/2008

Psychometric testing is now used by over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. (Web 1, 2008). Information technology companies, financial institutions, management consultancies, local authorities, the civil service, police forces, fire services and the armed forces all use of psychometric testing in a wide way. (Web 2, 2008)

1.6 Conceptual underpinnings of the research:

Psychometric assessment can be followed in a straightforward way at the beginning stages of recruiting to take off the candidates who seem to be not suitable for the job or, using a more sophisticated approach, to guide on career progression for the employees.

Psychometric tests are divided into five types. Ability tests and Aptitude tests which try to measure your mental abilities, Personality tests and Motivational tests which try to measure aspects of your personality and Other tests which measure the both.

The potential of an individual may be identified by undergoing the self-assessment tests which can be found on the internet or in newspapers, books etc, an exact result – and a feedback could be achieved through defined tests used within organisations, which are prepared by psychologists, derived from an accurate and deep research, and are eligible to be used only by the trained and approved ones.

“There’s a real danger when personality profiles are used as labels, by us and others.” (Gavin Andrews, 2008)

1.7 Background of Research:

Psychometric analysis is becoming important and familiar as many of the HR professionals have been showing interest in this perception of science.

Psychometric analysis is useful in the recruitment process for the appraisals and also for the training purposes. This perception of science would surely be very useful tool to HR personnel for selecting the correct candidate for a correct place.

“Psychometric analysis would also help the youngsters to make a choice on their career.” (Bonnet, D.G., 1979). Each and every individual has their own talent, whereas only a few recognise that and would have a successful career. Therefore, Psychometric analysis helps an individual to choose their career by identifying their own talent.

Psychometric test, as the name mentions has nothing to do with calculating one’s psychological ability. The suitability of individual’s behaviour and the attitude towards the organizational culture work are measured by the employers using these assessments. The employers started believing that the relevant skills for the required job role are only not necessary but the candidate’s attitude also important while selecting in the recruitment process.

Psychometric tests are used by most of the organizations in order to reduce the man power in the recruitment process. The organizations find the psychometric assessment tool more convenient in selecting a number of candidates on a regular basis and therefore, there has been a rapid growth in the usage of this tool abroad and also in India in this millennium. And also, at present most of the organizations are showing interest to invest more on the recruitment and the development process. This is the main reason the researcher has chosen the research on analysis of psychometric assessment.

1.8 Introduction:

1.8.1 Psychometric assessment in recruitment process:

In the present world, Occupational testing has been familiar in the organizations by the employers in the process of recruitment and for development. In the perspective of the employers or the organization, the outcome of the assessments would help in assumption of the career choice. “Tests generally contain a standardised set of questions or tasks, which are used to measure the comparative skills, knowledge, abilities and other characteristics of individuals in an employment context.”(Barry Fitzgerald, 2008)

Interviews alone are no longer useful for the selection process based on the experience and a visual representation. Psychometric tests have become important in the aspect of the employers in selecting the candidates, as it gives a bigger picture and view about the candidate. However, candidate’s fear of the word “Psychometric Assessment” alone has been enough for them (candidates) to hold back. (Web 5)

Candidates going for an interview for a job or a promotion would be very busy preparing their CV’s and for the difficult questions which would be asked in the interview. It is more important for the candidates to be ready and prepared for the psychometric assessment as 70% of the organizations would be using the aptitude tests as the first and important process in their recruitment process. (Web 6)

1.8.2 Company History:

Jack Cohen the founder of Tesco in 1919 started selling more number of groceries from a stall in the East End of London for which he earned a profit of one pound with the sales four pounds. Tesco Tea was the Jack’s first own brand product in 1924 before the company was named. The name ‘Tesco’ has been derived from the initials of Jack’s partner TE Stockwell and CO from Jack’s surname. Tesco has started its first petrol stations in 1974 and the annual sales reached one billion pounds in 1979. First electronic stores have been introduced in Tesco in 1982. Tesco becomes the market leading food retailer and also introduces club card in 1995. is established in 2000. Tesco declares plans to establish cash and carry business in India in 2008. (Web 7)

1.8.3 Structure of Tesco:

The customer is located at the top in the Tesco’s organizational structure. Tesco requires candidates with suitable skills at all the levels in the structure. The organizational structure consists of six levels including management and the staff for which each level has its own required skills.

  • Work level 1 – frontline jobs working directly with customers. Various in-store tasks, such as filling shelves with stock. Requires the ability to work accurately and with enthusiasm and to interact well with others.
  • Work level 2 – leading a team of employees who deal directly with customers. Requires the ability to manage resources, to set targets, to manage and motivate others.
  • Work level 3 – running an operating unit. Requires management skills, including planning, target setting and reporting.
  • Work level 4 – supporting operating units and recommending strategic change. Requires good knowledge of the business, the skills to analyse information and to make decisions, and the ability to lead others.
  • Work level 5 – responsible for the performance of Tesco as a whole. Requires the ability to lead and direct others, and to make major decisions.
  • Work level 6 – creating the purpose, values and goals for Tesco plc. Responsibility for Tesco’s performance. Requires a good overview of retailing, and the ability to build a vision for the future and lead the whole organisation.

There is a seven-part framework in Tesco which explains the required important skills and behaviours for each role at each level. Therefore, from this the employees would able to know if they are suitable for that specific role or not. (Web 8)

1.8.4 Company Profile:

“Tesco PLC mainly operates the food retailing stores and had some more activities in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia”. “Tesco PLC’s other sources include many other activities such as retail, purchasing, finances, investments etc. Tesco PLC has 3,278 stores around the world providing a variety of services and products such as Tesco express, Tesco Metro, Tesco Superstore and Tesco Extra. The Group operations focuses on four strategy which is Core UK, International, Non-Food and Retailing Services.” (Web 9)

1.9 Psychometric Analysis in an organization:

Any organization would not be able to be successful unless it has the suitable candidate in the roles, in spite of the company investing on the huge new equipments or the technologies which would lead to the degradation of the company’s fame. If the employers think that selecting the correct candidates for a role would lead the business to a successful path, they have to think twice. It is highly needed for a successful and moving forward company to recruit the highly capable candidates while recruiting and it also requires understanding the employees properly. It is also important using psychometric assessment to check if the candidate is placed in a suitable team environment in order to accomplish their skills and also encourage the team’s work and the performance. And then he/she also should be able to identify the skills of the employees for the further development requirements in the company. The main prospect of choosing psychometrics in selecting candidates is to have the participation of all the candidates to increase the profits on the investment. Once the candidate’s motivators are recognised, it is very easy to manage and mould the employee according to the company’s needs and would lead to the company profits. (Web 10)

1.10 Justification of Research:

As discussed in above path of research regarding psychometric test, the researcher came to a conclusion that the psychometric test plays an important role in every company’s recruitment process. So the author thought to look for a company which uses psychometric test to larger extent to recruit most of their staff. Tesco is a company who believes in the continuous development of their employees and looks after that everyone is equipped with the skills required in their role. They also make sure that everyone gains a good overall knowledge of retailing. Tesco is the biggest private sector employer in the UK with over 285000 employees. It is the largest British retailer by both global sales and domestic market shares with profits exceeding 3 billion pounds. It is currently third largest global retailer based on revenue behind Wal-Mart and Frances, Carrefour, but second largest based on profits. The company has operations in the rest of Europe, including the Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Tesco also operates stores in Asia, including Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan. Therefore, all the above factors motivated the researcher to select the topic.

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1.11 Outline of the study: The researcher has divided the research into six chapters as follows.

  1. Introduction -The author has started the introduction by explaining about the introduction of psychometric assessment in recruitment process followed by research aims and objectives, research questions, scope, research rationale, conceptual underpinnings of the research, background of the research, psychometric analysis in an organisation and justification of the research.
  2. Literature Review – Literature Review is sub-divided into the following exercises. The author has started the literature review by giving the definition of psychometric assessment followed by the psychometric assessments, then its origin and background, then an explanation for why and when the tests are to be used, then the types of psychometric assessment, followed by explaining the measurement of tests with an interpretation of the tests with an example of a norm curve, then the limitations, advantages and disadvantages of the tests concluded with the critical features of the test.
  3. Research Methodology – The researcher has explained the research strategy followed by Sampling and the data collection. The research consists of both qualitative and quantitative methods in collecting the information for the research questions. After a huge research the researcher has chosen to go for both the methods. In qualitative method, researcher has chosen the face to face interview using an interview schedule (questions). And in the quantitative method, questionnaires have been used for many of the employers, employees and the candidates who have gone through the psychometric assessment.
  4. Data Analysis – In data analysis the researcher have given the information which has been collected from the interviews and questionnaires and also the information from the primary and secondary data sources. Therefore, the researcher has given an analysis of the research from the qualitative and quantitative data collected.
  5. Conclusions – The conclusion of the research has been given by the author by explaining how she has met the research objectives, how was the aim addressed, and what was found by the author from the research.
  6. Recommendations – In this chapter, after doing the analysis of psychometric assessment in Tesco PLC, the author gives some important recommendations depending on the research carried out.

1.12 Summary:

The author has given the research aims and objectives and a brief introduction of the research in this chapter. The following chapter is all about the important key people who have written and explained something which are relevant to the present study.


2. Literature review:

2.1 Definition of Psychometric Assessment?

Financial Times LEXICON defines psychometric test as, “A scientifically-based test that measures someone’s ability and their thinking skills, and also their personality and attitudes, in order to find out if they are suitable for a job”.

2.2 Psychometric Tests (Assessments):

Psychological tests have become familiar. Psychometric means ‘measurement of the mind’. Psychometric tests try to measure the psychological features including personality, motivation, career interests, competencies and intellectual abilities. At present the psychometric tests can also be found on the computer whereas earlier, it was made in multiple choice format and the answers would be handwritten b the applicants. A number of things would be faced by the applicants while undergoing the test in the given time. Most of the tests would be like the applicant should choose one option from different choices given.

Ref: Alan Price, 359

An example of such question is as following.

Q. I am the sort of person who…

  1. is a good team builder…
  2. is able to encourage others…
  3. gets good results…
  4. can be relied upon by others…

“At present, the importance and the usage of psychometric assessments have been increasing in the recruitment process (Fletcher 1993). Shackleton and Newell (1991) report results from their survey. They found that the use of personality tests had increased to 37 per cent compared with Robertson and Makin’s (1986), undertaken five years earlier, which found a 12 per cent use. At the same time the use of cognitive tests had increased from 9.3 per cent to 41.1 per cent. Newell and Shackleton (1994) report that testing is more likely to be used for management and graduate jobs than for administrative, secretarial or manual jobs, as shown in following table.”

2.3 Origin and Background of Psychometric Assessment:

In order to measure the intelligence, an experiment was carried out with a work both theoretically and practically in psychometrics. Making connected and useful tests including mental tests of his anthropometric measurements, Francis Galton is always named as the father of psychometrics. There is a relation to the study of psychophysics with the origin of psychometrics. The proposal to the measurement of intelligence by the psychometrician L.L. Thurstone, founder and first President of the Psychometric Society in 1936, made a theoretical study which was known as “law of comparative judgement” and which was similar to the study of psychophysical theory by Ernst Heinrich Weber and Gustav Fechner. And also Spearman and Thurstone have been a great part of the statistical method which is derived from the theory and experiment of factor analysis which is being used widely in psychometrics.

In the recent past, the study of psychometrics has been put into practice in calculating the attitudes, abilities, personality, academic accomplishment etc. Assessing such qualities without observing is not easy in which the purpose and the combined art of the assessment is to know and measure such qualities. Critics and many important persons of the physical sciences and social activists have said that such justification and measurement of a candidate’s intelligence could not be perfect and would also be difficult and also those calculations would be misused, like the way the psychometric tests used in the recruitment process:

“Example – an employer who wants a candidate for a position which requires the attention for a regular detail check would not be ready to appoint a person, who is creative and will not be happy with the repetitive detail checks.”

Ref: Psychometric Assessments. ‘Psychometric Assessments’, University of Melbourne.

2.4 Why are the psychometric tests used?

The tests are used to make an advance prediction or estimation of the job performance by the candidate. The psychometric assessment would give more information about the candidate and his abilities prior to the interview. The candidate’s abilities to fulfill the required role and the organizational culture would be measured in the test. The candidate’s attitude, mental position, emotional stability would be calculated, tested and compared if the candidate would be suitable for the position or not. The consistency and the dedication of the candidates through his psychological measures would be measured and tallied.

Ref: Criticism of psychological testing, HRM in a Business Context, Alan Price, 362[Source: Adapted from IRS (1997)].

2.5 When should tests be used?

Psychometric Assessment is used during the recruitment process in order to choose for the next step or for the final declaration, promotions, internal or external development, and team-spirit and also for counseling. Psychometric assessment plays a very big and vital role in the recruitment process. Using the psychometric assessment it is noticed if the assessment is helpful in any way to achieve the required objectives. In each case, the situation must be evaluated to see whether the tests used would be appropriate to help achieve the desired objectives. Though the tests are useful, there are a few situations when the tests are not to be used. Like, when there is a proof of a job performance it is worthless to put the same psychometric assessment for the candidate. Tests would be useful when used for recruiting the candidates who are entirely new to the organization. In the same way, the company may also avoid using some tests for some specific applications. Tests are used as the best decision makers. For an instance, to take a decision for a promotion of an employee, the previous tests results would be combined and compared with the present interview result and the decision would be taken depending on the records of the candidate considering all these factors to give a best detail if the candidate is suitable for that role. Using the result of psychometric assessment only should not be preferred.

The process for following and considering the test results should be genuine. Among many of the candidates applying for a role, the tests can be used to shortlist a few candidates who would be suitable for the role and should be forwarded for the interviews so that a direct and a last detailed check can be done for the candidate’s suitability for the role. Tests may be used for a company’s recruitment process or development and counseling purposes. Rather than these, if any external uses should be reported to the Central Testing Unit for their approval.

2.6 Types of Psychometric Assessment:

     “Kline (1992) mentions that psychometric assessment fall into one of the five categories:

  • Ability tests which measure intelligence, general reasoning, verbal, numerical or spatial ability.
  • Aptitude tests which measure the skills in which the candidate is specialized.
  • Personality tests which measure the characteristics and the attitude or traits.
  • Motivational tests which measure the interest and the motivation.
  • Other tests which include measuring mental disorders or are able to perform lesser than expected.”

Ref: Advanced Psychology through diagrams (Controversies in Psychology), Grahame Hill, 20

2.7 How are these tests measured?

Ipsative and Likert Scales :

Ipsative test scale is the one in which a respondent is forced to choose only one from one or more similar or suitable options. This is also sometimes called as ‘forced choice’ scale whereas in Likert test scale the respondent is able to select an option which best suits and the respondent satisfaction to a given question with more than two options.

Ipsative tests are useful in taking a decision in the selection process whereas it was not supported by some psychometricians who told that it is not correct to be used in recruitment process. In fact, Ipsative test is a tool which confuses and forces a person consisting of one that suits most and least which would be similar to choose. Ipsative tests compares the capabilities within an individual but do not compare different people.

Interpretation of psychometric tests:

Depending on the type of the assessment, interpretation is divided into two methods. According to a record of Employability Office, “Psychometric assessment Interpretation is made comparing the scores achieved by an individual and a reference group in the psychometric assessment. In order to distinguish the abilities and the personal nature of the applicants, the human resource department (personnel) measures such type of external characteristics in the recruitment process. This reference group is called a norm group due to its relationship to the normal curve.”

“Few psychometrics are referred internally rather than being referenced externally, in which the respondent would be required to select a asking the person who would be answering to choose a preferred style and in this case no reference or comparison group is used.”

Ref: From Leeds metropolitan university, a document of Employability Office

The Normal Distribution Curve:


2.8 Limitations:

  • In order to take the psychometric assessments, the employers need to be trained according to the personality theory whereas the untrained would not be able to understand the theory.
  • Psychometric Assessment coming into effect is the debatable issue. One of the reason for the issue is, the candidates who are giving the test more than one time would find the test easy and would be easily successful because they would know the answers. And these candidates might help the others who are giving the test and the questions in the psychometric test would become familiar.
  • There is a time limit for any tests.
  • Most of the candidates have a problem with the language proficiency in going through a test. Though the candidates are more confident in their own different language and are from a typical ethnic background, they are going through a recruitment process in the dominant country language like English.
  • Their talent is covered by set of questions and their skills to give their answers in an understandable language which is easier for the selectors. This would be a credit and spontaneous responses would be coming for the native speakers as it would be their own language. Whereas the mental speed would be lowered for the persons who are not from the native as they have to convert the language in their mental level. Instead of being an assessment of mental ability, the test in this case would be like a ‘proficiency in English’.
  • Therefore, the tests would be unfair for the one’s whose first language is not English.
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Ref: Criticism of psychological testing, HRM in a Business Context, Alan price,

Example of a test:

– Is your first language English?

  1. Yes
  2. No

– If no, did you have any problem in understanding the questions being asked in test?

  1. Yes
  2. No

– Is the time offered for test sufficient for you?

  1. Yes
  2. No

– Do you think you would have been able to perform the similar test if it was in your own language?

  1. Yes
  2. No

2.9 Advantages and Disadvantages of psychometric assessment:


  • Tests scores would be in numbers with relation to the comparison of the other candidates of the same assessment.
  • Tests results would give a good scope to compare the predicted future performance of the candidates with the actual performance.
  • Tests give the exact and clear results whereas the interviews and the employee referrals would be long and transmitted in order to maintain secrecy.
  • Tests measure the contents and the abilities instead of the image of a candidate.
  • One test can give the broad scope of a person’s abilities and personal qualities.
  • Tests are with certain principles depending on the fundamentals of the information in theory. Their fundamentals of the theory are reliable and valid.
  • The test differentiates the good, average and poor.
  • Test determines a conceptual language to the people by helping to understand the behavior.
  • Reliable information from tests supplies attainable proof to justify decisions.
  • Test gives a deep perception and explanation for behavior which can be used to justify the rejections.


  • Respondents may give false answers in order to get the required scores for which a few contain ‘lie detectors’ to get rid of the false answers.
  • Some of the candidates have insufficient perception to give an exact answer.
  • Tests are not reliable because candidate having anxiety or headache or illness may not give appropriate answers which may lead to different results.
  • Tests are invalid because most of the tests would not measure the factors that they say they really measure.
  • Tests are irrelevant because they do not test the required principle qualities like honesty and punctuality which are relevant and required for an organization.
  • Tests need minimum knowledge of literature and should be able to know the American jargon.
  • Tests are not fair for the people who are not a white, from a middle-class etc as most of the tests have been made using them as a reference group.
  • Organizations use the same tests which destructs the testing factors and their value.

Ref: Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 3rd Edition, Alan Price, 361.

2.10 Critical features of Psychometric Assessment:

a. Validity:

There will be various kinds of validity in psychometric assessment. The human resource department is very keen about the required job role validity.

     Predictive validity is calculated by comparing the test scores to the performance, like error rate, production rate, appraisals sports, absence rate or whatever criteria are important to the organization. The validity would be very good in the case of the scores being high in relation to the future performance.

b. Reliability:

Reliability of a test is the degree to which the test measures consistently whatever it does measure. If the test is highly reliable, then it is possible to put greater weight on the scores that individual receives under test. There is no value for highly reliable test in the recruitment process unless there is a high validity.

c. Use and Interpretation:

The employers who are trained and qualified are only allowed to use and interpret the tests. As in the personality test, interpretation is to be used very carefully as they also measure some characteristics which are not related to the job profile. Wills (1990) reports concerns that tests are carried out by unqualified testers. “The British Psychological Society has now introduced a certificate of competence for occupational testing at Levels A and B. Both the BPS and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have provided codes of practice for occupational test use. It is recommended that the tests are not used in a judgemental final way that too stimulates discussion with the candidate based on the test results”. Research by Newell and Shackleton (1994) suggests, unfortunately, that the tests are not used as a basis for the discussion. Giving a feedback to the candidates who have gone through the test is an important issue. Still Newell and Shackleton found that the feedback is not always given. Adding to this in CIPD code, it is suggested that the test data alone should not be taken in order to select(which could contravene the 1998 Data Protection Act), but always should be used as a part of wider process, where the opinion from the results can be taken up by other users. Norm tables and additional data of the tests are the crucial features to check. For example, Ceci and Williams(2000) warn that as the norm tables vary over time as a part of intelligence check, usage of old tests with the old norm tables would be misleading.

d. Context of tests:

Test scores should be judged in the aspect of different information about the candidates. Recruitment decisions are to be taken considering various types of information. The results may not be considered as relevant to the job performance as there are various related features to a candidate which cannot be from a test.

Ref: Ceci, S. and Williams, W. (2000) ‘Smart Bomb’, People Management, 24 August, pp. 32 – 6.


3. Research Methodology:

3.1 Preview:

In this chapter, the researcher explains about the research methodology and the methods used for collecting the data, how and from where was the data collected and how did she manage to get the data.

3.2 Introduction:

3.2.1 Research Methodology:

According to Mosby’s Dictionary research methodology is described as, “The section of a research proposal in which the methods to be used are described and the study of the research design, the population, and the research instruments, or tools, to be used”.

Ref: Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009

Research methodology is a way of solving an issue or a problem. It is a study which shows the way research would be carried. The process of prediction and explanation carried out by the researchers is known as ‘Research Methodology’. The study of methods through which information is known is also Research Methodology.

Researcher should be able to design a methodology in order to solve the problem that is selected for research. It is to be noticed that though there would be two similar problems, the methodology would differ. Therefore, the researcher has to consider both the methodology as well as the methods during the research. For example, if there is any problem a few points are to be kept in mind by the researcher. They are: the researcher should be able to analyse which method would be the suitable one for the research, what would be the quality of the nearness to the outcome of the method, and the ratio of the output to the input given by the researcher and so on. Therefore, research methodology contains all these elements.

3.3 Research Design

Methodology contains the information which allows the researcher to explain and analyse the methods including the limitations, consequences, problems, in relevance to the capability of the research (Miller 1983). As per Clark, “the research design confirms the types of questions that can be addressed and the nature of the evidence that is generated (Clark et al. 1984). Therefore, research methodology is important to any research or study. The observance phenomena to test the employee’s job performance and the attitude helps as a useful tool to improve and increase the views on the discussion of research design. According to Churchill, “Research design provides an overall guidance for the collection and analysis of data of a study” (Churchill 1979).

According to Saunders, “The Research Design would act as a guide for the researchers in the case of finding the answers to the research questions”. (Saunders et al. 2007).

In relation to the onion research, there are different layers and approaches used in collecting the data in advance, analysis of data and thinking carefully about the issues should be done.

Ref: Saunders et al. (2007, p.132)

3.4 Hypothesis:

The research would help the researcher to conclude that psychometric test is important in Tesco’s recruitment process and to prove that that test is cost effective. It would also help her to find that the time involved in the process is reduced and the level of quality of candidates had been improved. The researcher also would be able to find out that the productivity of new candidates has been increased and gives an answer for the question if the test results are used in future to do the appraisals for the employee or the candidate or not.

3.5 Research Approach:

There are two different methods of approaches in research. They are deductive and inductive approaches.

a. Deductive Approach:

William M.K. Trochim states that, “The Deductive Approach is an approach which is from the more general to the more specific. It is also called as ‘top-down approach’ informally. The conclusion would be from the facts available. This is a step of direct confirmation”.

According to Trochim (2008), the format of the deductive approach is: “Theory, Hypothesis, Observation, and Confirmation” (p 17). It is understood from this approach that if something is fair about a feature or a thing among a group then that fact applies to all the things or features in that group. Any difference would certainly give an invalid conclusion. There is also a disadvantage in deductive approach because as the approach depends on the starting premise, if in any case the starting premise is not correct the whole process would be affected and would be a mishap.

b. Inductive Approach:

William M.K. Trochim states that, “The Inductive Approach is the vice-versa of the deductive approach that is, an approach which is from the specific observations to the general and theories. It is also known as ‘bottom-up’ approach informally. Conclusion is based on the premises. This is a step of observation which is uncertain”.

According to Trochim (2008), the format of inductive approach is: “observation, pattern, tentative hypothesis, theory” (p 17). Though a useful tool in the scientific processes, Inductive approach is not recommended in the research as, a general view or principle cannot be correct always.

3.5.1 Deductive approach to the analysis of Psychometric assessment:

After considering the two approaches, the researcher has decided to proceed with the deductive approach which is more suitable for the analysis of psychometric assessment conducted by the author. Because the deductive approach needs small study sample which is best suitable in this case. And also in this research the author derives the hypothesis followed by research strategy. Therefore, the researcher selects the deductive approach in order to start the research in a general view then go through the theory then observe and analyse and then she would conclude it with the available facts.

3.6 Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods:

According to Saunders, “The quantitative and qualitative research methods distinguish both data collection ways and data analysis procedures. The easy way to differentiate both is one provides data based on numbers and the other on words. Quantitative is basically used as a synonym for any data collection method like questionnaire, or data analysis procedure like graphs or statistics. And qualitative is used as a synonym for any data collection method like an interview or data analysis procedure like categorising data. Qualitative method could also be other than words, like pictures and video clips.”

Ref: Research Methods for Business Students, fourth edition, Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis, Adrian Thornhill:

3.6.1 Mixed Method:

‘Mixed method’ is a term used when a researcher uses both the qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods in the research design.

The author has decided to collect the data using both the qualitative and quantitative research methods that is a ‘mixed method’. The author will be collecting data using primary and secondary data in the form of questionnaires and personal interviews. As concerned to the qualitative research method, in the personal interviews the data would be collected by taking personal interviews with the high level management team including Area Personnel Manager (HRM), Express Operational Manager (EOM), Express Store Manager and Duty Managers of Tesco PLC. And in respect to the quantitative research method, the author would collect the data by getting the questionnaires filled by the employees of Tesco PLC and also the candidates who have appeared for the test but are not working. In the quantitative research method, the author has designed two questionnaires in order to get it done, one for the management level who is unable or not ready to give an interview and the other for the employees and also the candidates who have given the assessment but are not working in Tesco.

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3.7 Research Strategy:

     Research strategy is planning the way to answer the research questions that the researcher has set in the research. What matters is that the strategy that is appropriate for the research questions and objectives be chosen (Saunders et al., 2000).

     Therefore, in the research the researcher has carried on with the hypothesis and the samples. As the survey method is the most popular strategy in the organizations, the research has selected the questionnaires as the quantitative research method. And the researcher has also opted the qualitative research method because though everyone would be comfortable in giving a survey through questionnaire, just going for the questionnaires would not give a wide range of information. The researcher has decided to do a case study on this topic as this strategy would help in gaining more information in the context of the research. A case study would be a very good way of exploration. And moreover the case study approach would have a good scope to answer the questions “why”, “what” and “how”.

3.8 Sampling:

Cochran, W G states, “Sampling is a process of research which involves the selection of people, organizations in order to get fair information from the anxious people, especially for the purposes of statistical reasons. Each observation measures one or more properties (weight, location, etc.) of an observable entity enumerated to distinguish objects or individuals. Survey weights often need to be applied to the data to adjust for the sample design”

Ref: Cochran, W G (1977) Sampling Techniques, Wiley

A sample design is obtained for a sample from the given people. It is described before the data is collected. The employers, the employees and the candidates are taken into account in the study and the samples would be taken from all the respondents involved in the study. Hence, the respondents’ size of the samples would show the capable members in the research.

Sampling all the employees and the employers randomly would be the main techniques used by the researcher in the research in order to find the solutions to my questions. The sample would be over 60 including employers, employees and the candidates who have gone through the psychometric assessment which states their views and opinions on the assessment. Therefore the advantages and disadvantages also would be cleared.

3.9 Questionnaires:

“A questionnaire is defined as a research tool containing a number of questions in order for the purpose of collecting data from the respondents, which are sometimes designed for a statistical analysis of the standardised answers. Sir Francis Galton was the inventor of the questionnaire.”

Saunders (2003) defines it as, “questionnaire is an effective way to collect the answers from more number of people before the quantitative analysis. The questionnaire type would affect the response rates, reliability and validity of the data collected”.

An advantage about the questionnaire over the various surveys is that they are cheaper and do not require much effort to get the responses and also have simple and standardised answers.

The researcher has selected the Questionnaires method to collect the data because it is an easy way to get the responses quicker as it would well designed containing only the multiple choice, yes or no and a single text answer questions for which most of the people feel comfortable. Moreover, they are less expensive and be given to more number of respondents and easy way to get quick response. As the researcher works for the Tesco PLC, it was easy to distribute the questionnaire among the employers and employees and get their responses personally. Though a few of them were not interested to fill a questionnaire, a positive response was there from most of them.

The researcher has prepared the questionnaire keeping in mind that a questionnaire should be designed with an interpretation of the results and has taken enough time to design them carefully considering the objectives, sampling group, interpretation of results, and the questions.

3.10 Personal Interviews:

Personal Interview is a face to face interview in which one person asks a question and the other person answers for it. There are three interview methods in personal interviews. They are: Scripted, Semi-scripted and Ad-lib.

3.10.1 Semi-scripted:

The semi-scripted interview method is considered as the best one for most interviews. The interviewer researches on the questions before the interview whereas the interviewee would be given questions in advance to the interview so that he/she can practice for the interview. Though personal, this method gives a very good excellentbalance betweenthe other two interview methods and is well focused.

The researcher found that the semi-scripted interview is the best way for the present research. Keeping the research, huge organization and its confidentiality and the managers’ busy schedule in mind, the author has chosen the semi-scripted interview.The interviews were taken from the Area Personnel Manager (HRM), Express Operational Manager (EOM), Express Store Manager and Duty Managers of Tesco PLC being in the top level and middle management, to know what are they using the psychometric test for, do they find it useful in the recruitment process, and the problems involved, as they would have a good knowledge idea about the psychometric assessment followed in Tesco PLC and the confidentiality would be maintained for sure.

3.11 Data Collection:

Relevant data or information is to be collected to take up any research study. Unless there is data, the researchers would not be able to get the required results. Floyd says, “One of the most far reaching decisions a researcher must make is the way in which the data will be collected”, (Floyd J. Fowler, 2002). The data or the information would be directly available sometimes whereas sometimes different sources are required to be used to collect the data. It is not possible to get an exact data from any source. There are two sources in the approach for data collection. They are: primary sources and secondary sources.

3.11.1 Data Collection Methods:

a. Primary Data:

According to Saunders et al., (2007), “primary data is the data which is collected especially for the research undertaken”. Primary data is very important to researchers to carry out the research study. Primary data can be collected from various methods.

The researcher chooses the suitable method required for the study. Different sources for collecting primary data for an analysis of psychometric assessment include: Interviews, observation, questionnaires, studies, incidents, records of the personnel department, manager experiences, previous psychometric test analysis etc.

b. Secondary data:

“Data collection methods provide both the qualitative and quantitative data. Secondary data also has a great significance in the research. Secondary data is the data that already exists. Encyclopaedias, textbooks, articles, newspapers, government statistics etc are considered secondary information sources.” (Cooper and Schindler, 2001). It is also important to researcher to gather information through secondary data and relate it to the primary data to achieve the objectives.

The secondary data has many advantages when used in the research. It saves time and money. Secondary data helps in collecting primary data. The people and sources to be approached would be directed by the primary data for the study. This would help the researcher for the primary data in preparing questionnaires, interview schedule, how to approach, whom to approach. And it also helps for the comparison of different data. In this study the researcher will also collect secondary data which is necessary for the research study. The secondary data will be collected from the company documents, websites, profiles etc. This data was further correlated with primary data.

3.12 Validity and Reliability:

Validity is the degree to which a test calculates what it demands to calculate. It is important for a test to be valid so that the outcome is exactly applied and interpreted. Validity is not mentioned as a single measure but by a complete research process that describes the relationship between the test and the attitude it is supposed to measure.

     The secondary data collected is useful for research and it has a limited validity and reliability. But primary data collected has high validity and is very close to accurate (reliability) as the data is collected directly from the object on which research is being done. The author has collected the data by using questionnaires and one to one interviews and the actual data from personnel manager and the managers who work for Tesco the data is reliable. Therefore data processing methods, questionnaires and the responses coherence has a vital role in creating issues for the validity of the data or research. To confirm the validity of the data semi scripted interviews were also conducted within the organisation.

3.13 Access:

As the researcher works for Tesco PLC, she has some mates in retail industry, who are presently working for TESCO and supported and participated in this research study. And also the HR manager for Cardiff group Ms.Stacy Preston and two managers for Tesco express Mr Mark Hughes and Mr.Nagavender Reddy Katapally who was a UWIC student had also helped in this research. So, with the help of this social network in Tesco and some retail experience the researcher helped for the access into the company information for collecting the relevant primary data.

3.14 Summary:

In this Chapter, the complete research strategy, research design, the research approach and the research methods are discussed. The study is best described as a deductive research approach.

The suitable research strategy for the study is the case study for the Exploration and the Testing processes with various data collection methods like questionnaires and interviews as primary sources, and data collection as a secondary source. And the research reliability and validity are discussed and the way data is collected from whom and when are also discussed.


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Some of the books, Journals, Reports referred:

  1. An Evaluation of the selection processes of modern organizations – Campbell, Claire Elizabeth.
  2. How to master psychometric tests – 2nd edn : Parkinson, Mark
  3. How to pass graduate recruitment tests: psychometric tests used in graduate – Bryon, Mike.
  4. Human Resource research methods/Dipak Kumar Bhattacharya – Dipak Kumar Bhattacharya
  5. Intelligence : the psychometric view – Kline, Paul
  6. Psychometric assessment of the individual child – Savage, Robert Douglass
  7. Effective Interviewing – 3rd : Fletcher, John


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