Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thinking Critically About Hiring Assessments: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

Assessments can provide tremendous value in the hiring process if used correctly. To determine whether or not you're getting the maximum value from assessments, ask yourself the following questions. 

Note:  The items with asterisks are taken directly from the Department of Labor’s Guide to Testing and Assessment (page numbers are cited)

*1)   Are we using assessments in a purposeful manner?
The DOL states: “Often, inappropriate use results from not having a clear understanding of what you want to measure and why you want to measure it. As an employer, you must 
first be clear about what you want to accomplish with your assessment program in order to select the proper tools to achieve those goals” (page 9-1).

*2)   Are we using a “whole person approach”? Or are we making decision on only one data point, or one dimension of a candidate? (DOL page 9-1)

*3)   Is the population we’re assessing with the instrument (i.e. our job candidates) similar to the group on which the instrument was developed or normed?  (DOL page 9-2)

*4)   Have the tools we’re using been demonstrated to be valid for the specific purpose(s) for which they are being used in our organization? (DOL page 9-3) In other words, can we show that scores on our assessment(s) are directly correlated with some outcome of interest in our workplace (i.e. turnover, job performance, sales volume, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, etc.)?

*5)     Do the tools we’re using measure stable traits and have high test-retest reliability?
The DOL states: “If a person takes the same test again, will he or she get a similar score, or a very different score? A reliable instrument will provide accurate and consistent scores. To        meaningfully interpret test scores and make useful career or employment-related decisions, use only reliable tools” (page 9-2).

6)        Are we measuring constructs with high predictive validity?  I.e. Integrity, General Mental Ability, or a combination of several constructs?

7)        Are we using assessments in the correct point in our hiring process for maximum benefit?

8)        Are the tools we’re using “working,” and how do we know? Can we tie assessment results to metrics that are important to our company? Can we calculate ROI?

If the answer to any of the above questions is "no" or "I don't know," you may want to take a critical look at your hiring process.  Contact me with questions, or to request a copy of the Department of Labor's "Testing and Assessment: An Employers' Guide to Good Practices."