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Stop Making Huge Hiring Mistakes – Learn How to Use Pre-Hire Assessments the Right Way

Stop Making Huge Hiring Mistakes – Learn How to Use Pre-Hire Assessments the Right Way
From Recruiter - September 21, 2016

Last month, we published a list of our top 10 pre-hire personality and behavioral assessments. In that list, we included the EQ-i 2.0, an emotional intelligence assessment that was recommended to us by workplace psychologist Christine Allen, Ph.D., who is also the vice president of Insight Business Worksand president of the New York Psychological AssociationsDivision of Organizational, Consulting, and Work Psychology.

In other words: Allen knows what shes talking about when it comes to personality and behavioral assessments.

After we posted the article, Allen reached out to us about the DiSC, one of the assessments that made the list.

I use the DiSC or MBTI afterhiring to help figure out how someone will work together with others, she wrote in an email. They are not normed assessments, so in my view, technically shouldnt be part of pre-hiring assessment. Just my two cents!

We thought that was a pretty darn valuable two cents, and we saw an opportunity we couldnt pass up. We asked the esteemed psychologist if she wouldnt mind answering some questions about assessments for usand she thankfully agreed.

Below is a transcript of our email-based Q&A, lightly edited for style and clarity.

Recruiter.com: Can you explain the difference between normed assessments and assessments that are not normed? Why is this difference important to HR people? How does EEOC compliance fit into the picture (if at all)?

Christine Allen:Normed assessments allow you to compare one candidates scores against anothers to determine which person may have more or less of a particular personality trait. Normative scores are typically on a percentage scale from 1to 100. So if one candidate received a score of 58 on extraversionsay,on the WorkPlace Big Five assessment from Centacs this score means that they were more extraverted than 58 percent of the sample population.

On the other hand, if someone answers a quadrant-style assessment (like the MBTI/Meyers-Briggs, DiSC, True Colors, or PeopleMap) and comes out with a very clear preference for one dimension, such as extraversion on the MBTI, this simply reflects how this individual sees themselves. Another person could answer the same questions and score similarly and you would not truly be able to compare their scores. For example, it would not show whether you are more or less extraverted than someone else in the population because there is no normed group that your scores are being compared to. This score reflects more or less how we perceive ourselves, which usually has some validity (also called face validity). For most of these quadrant-model assessments, there are four basic types with approximately 15-16 combinations; they dont allow for people who are really more mid-range on traits.

Normed assessments have validity scales that help to detect abnormal answering patterns, such as trying to make a good impression or answering randomly. They must have good test-retest reliability and, most importantly, have been shown to predict job performance to be useful for selection.

While quadrant-model self-assessments can, in my opinion, provide tremendous value for self-discovery, team building, coaching, enhancing communication, and numerous other developmental applications, they are not good choices for selection or hiring due to limited predictive validity, low test-retest reliability, lack of norming and an internal consistency (lie detector) measure, etc. I use the PeopleMap and the MBTI frequently for team building and communication training. The Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommend against using non-normative assessments for selection and hiring.

Plus, such assessments are not EEOC-compliant, which means that the company is vulnerable to potential lawsuits. A company is more likely to be successfully sued for discrimination if ituses an assessment that is not properly validated or EEOC-compliant.

RC: Can you give some common examples of both normed and non-normed assessments used by HR people?

CA:Some commonly used normed assessments include the Hogan (which has some validation specifically for hiring and selection, i.e., that takes into effect the good impression candidates are trying to make); the WorkPlace Big Five; the CPI260 Coaching Report for Leaders; the EQ-i 2.0;the Caliper; the Harrison Assessments; etc.

Non-normed assessments include the DiSC, the MBTI, True Colors, and the PeopleMap (which I particularly like). This doesnt mean they have no validity and reliability. For example, these instruments have been found to be fairly reliable (meaning that if you take them now and then again a year from now, the results are likely to be pretty similar) and valid (meaning that their scores have been correlated with other instruments assessing generally the same qualities). And they have face validity, meaning that people generally feel that the results accurately describe them. But they are quadrant models emphasizing type over traits. People have much more complexity than these models allow. Traits are viewed as categorical or bi-modale.g., you are either extraverted or introvertedwhereas research shows many people are ambivertedsomewhere more in the middle of the distribution.

In quadrant-model assessments, there are only four dimensions of personality, not five. They leave out the very important dimension of need for stability/adjustment/emotionality, which generally assesses how reactive we are to stress.



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