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The test-taker is always the highest priority


We recently published a whitepaper on best practice for the ethical use of psychometrics.

The process of producing this paper with the team raised some interesting points for us in the way that we manage this service for our clients, and the way in which we care for and consider the candidate or participant in any assessment process, whether it be for selection, or development purposes.

At Mapien, in any assessment process that we manage, the test-taker is always the highest priority. I am incredibly proud of this fact, and I see how this philosophy permeates our practice across the business, not just in our testing and psychology team, but across all consulting teams and support teams in the business. The degree of importance that we place on the most vulnerable participants in our services is second to none, and that is the way that it should be.

Why the candidate comes first

It can be easy to forget that we wield an enormous amount of power when using psychometric tests in any context.

With a simple and ethically administered testing process, we can provide a new job opportunity and career path boost that can completely change and improve somebody’s entire life and standard of living, and potentially that of their family and loved ones. Similarly, we can open up developmental and skill pathways, and provide new discoveries for participants to again potentially improve their career prospects and quality of living, again benefitting them and their family ongoing.

By extension though as we outline in our whitepaper, testing also has the potential to create vulnerabilities for our test-takers. It can uncover traits that we don’t like about ourselves, highlight deficiencies in ability or skill that we are ashamed of, or uncover an unknown attribute that surprises and upsets us.

To balance these pros and cons, our ethical principles must be followed to the letter above all other priorities.

The most important stakeholder

This results in the test-taker being treated as the most important stakeholder involved in the process, at all times.

Requests from our clients that contravene the candidate experience or wellbeing, or deviate from ethical practice are not entertained, and we will generally find another way to accommodate what we are trying to accomplish.

Similarly if another candidate makes a similar request of us, we find other ways to address any concerns so that all candidates get an opportunity to provide the best account of themselves possible. Although sometimes difficult, we always find a way to ensure that every candidate that we take care of is able to provide their best effort possible, while ensuring complete fairness and objectivity across all candidates.

  • If a candidate indicates that they have a disability or condition that won’t allow them to perform to their best ability, we will apply reasonable adjustments for that candidate, while ensuring that they are not more or less advantaged than their competitors.
  • If a candidate wishes to complete a timed ability-based assessment again with a resit because they were not happy with their results and think they can do better with another attempt, we do not provide this option. ‘Practise effects’ will almost guarantee that they will produce a better result, but this would disadvantage any other candidates in that process who did not get a similar opportunity.
  • Conversely, if a candidate is legitimately disrupted, or in some way is prevented from sitting a test to the best of their ability, we will provide a solution for a re-sit that is fair to them and also the other candidates on a case by case basis.
  • If we are asked to administer a 360 evaluation, and the participant is not fully informed by our client about the purpose of the evaluation, how the information is planned to be used, or worse still the outcomes look like they will be used in a punitive manner, we will provide guidance on why this is not an option and explore others.
  • If a candidate asks for feedback on their testing, we will of course provide it happily, however this needs to be given only after a selection decision has been made and all candidates have been informed. This ensures that no single candidate gets any sort of advantage over another simply through receiving feedback that can assist them in the subsequent interview process.

These are just a few examples, but suffice to say that we maintain our vigilance every day to ensure that our candidates are not adversely impacted in any way, and any decision that we make of course ensures that the remaining candidates are not disadvantaged either. This consideration extends not only to the actual experience of the testing in the moment, but also in the event of potentially distressing or unexpected test results for a test-taker, we take the time to provide feedback on results in a holistic and supportive way. This means that care is taken to provide the whole picture around context and interpretation, and that we advocate for the test-taker as strongly as possible, whether it be in a selection, or development/360 scenario.

There is an unfathomable amount of trust involved in the work that we do with clients and test-takers, and we take the responsibility very seriously to do only good for everybody.

In following the core guiding principles of informed consent, confidentiality, justice and fairness, and integrity, we naturally have a laser-sharp focus on the test-taker experience, being the most vulnerable participant in the process.

It does not surprise me that this is a sentiment that is shared right across the business – we are in the business of helping people, and Fairness and Integrity are literally two of Mapien’s exact core values. In the testing team, we are psychologists, and candidates are trusting us with their inner lives. We take that seriously.

Connect with us

If you would like to know more or discuss how psychometric assessments may benefit you &/or your workplace, please contact and a Mapien Workplace Strategist will be in touch within 24 hours.

Have you checked out our Psychometric Assessment whitepaper series? Check out the full series here.

Written by:
Dr Ian Haslam
Ian’s consulting career and experience is backed by his deep interest in the application of science behind human behaviour, and psychology to engage clients and achieve sustainable results.