If you ever visit an exhibition by the visionary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama you will come away with the unsettling feeling that any one of the tiny dots she creates is more alive than you are. Drayton’s Testing & Assessment Lead, Sophie Edwards, an admirer of Kusama, recently attended her latest show – Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate. An immersive installation which transports you “into Kusama’s unique vision of endless reflections.”
Edwards was, perhaps, drawn to Kusama’s ethereal obsession with other selves by her own fascination with psychometric testing. In particular, the Occupational Personality Questionnaire, the test Drayton usually deploy to assess candidates at CEO and MD level.
‘Some tests, like Myers Briggs, although good,’ says Edwards, ‘classify you as a type of person, an ENFJ or an ISTJ. But the OPQ analyses your personality across thirty-two different dimensions. And it doesn’t try to definitively put you in a box. The results it produces are much more subtle and nuanced than that.’
For Edwards, then, just like Kusama’s shimmering installations, the testing process is a journey into the unexpected. And that is the thing she enjoys about it the most.
‘At the screening stage interview with our consultants, I get a certain impression of a candidate, but the testing reveals a whole different side to them. Sometimes almost a whole different self. And that new interpretation is hyper-relevant and insightful. Particularly useful, both for us, the candidate, and their prospective employer.’
Classically, psychometric tests evaluate four main psychological components – aptitude, behaviours, personality, and emotional intelligence. Based on her experience, which one of these does Edwards value the most?
‘Emotional intelligence stands out to me. Especially among the executive level positions we place here at Drayton. These days, having a high EQ is even more important than a high IQ. The modern CEO has got to be able to deduce things and make decisions based off people's reactions – things you can’t always see, you have to be able to sense.’
Just like Kusama’s dots, most candidates have elusive qualities. But Edward’s psychometric testing painstakingly uncovers them.