Only 24, Delhi student Prashant Navin Gupta has already had a taste of what many senior managers did not experience in their entire careers: a psychometric test. But the student at Delhi's Indian Institute of Foreign Trade did not know that when he took part in an online competition by infotech firm Cognizant Technology Solutions.
Gupta had to solve a business case study and answer some unusual questions such as: how many traffic signals would be red in Mumbai at a particular point of time?
"Cognizant selectively threw open an online competition called 'The Strategist' to some business schools, and I stood second among 1,500 participants," says Gupta. "One can only provide the logic and thinking behind such queries; you are judged for your reasoning alone."
The exercise was part of Cognizant's engagement activity with some campuses, but an increasing number of infotech and consulting firms are also using psychometric tests to map the minds of job applicants.
Some firms use the tests to identify potential business leaders. "Often, they fight shy of using the test during selection at senior levels due to time constraints, but this is changing fast as they now realise that a wrong hire proves more expensive," says Chaitali Mukherjee, Country Manager, Right Management, one of the largest resellers of such tools.
There are a host of psychometric test packages in the market. Several companies use the Hogan Personality Inventory, which seeks to measure preferences of individuals and how these impact decision-making.
"There is no right or wrong answer in these tests. It is social science and seeks to map people's personalities and their aptitude for certain roles," says Devashis Rath, Senior Consultant, DDI India, which has developed a range of patented tests.
|How to Handle the Tests|