Spotting diamonds in the rough:Mining for top performers with psychological assessments Ilona Jerabek, PhD PsychTests AIM Inc.
Table of contents• Introduction• Hiring pitfalls• Types of assessments and tests• When to use tests• Selecting the right assessments• Evaluating results/reports and analyzing gaps• Summary and take-home message• Quick overview of PsychTests’ services
How to recognize talent Selection process • Screening process – review of résumés • Interview • References and background checks • Assessment • Work sampling
Screening pitfallsRésumé References• Candidate’s side • Candidate’s side – Cookie cutter – Choosing only people who will give – Omissions good reference – Spinning – Can cheat … fake references – “Embellishment” – May not have contact info (turnover)• Recruiter’s side • Reference – Funky résumés or those with things – Many provide only confirmation of in common with recruiter get to the employment top of the pile – Fear of being sued if they share – Screening out people who don’t something negative meet requirements exactly but who are close (especially when done by • Recruiter software) – Not asking the right questions – Not reading between the lines
Interview pitfalls – The candidate• Candidates well-trained in • Good candidates interviewing skills inexperienced in – Rehearsed responses interviewing process – Spinning – Disadvantaged – have to think – Outright cheating about answers on the spot – Can miss diamonds in the rough So you have to Read between the lines • Cultural differences Probe deeper – Humbleness Ask unusual questions – Language issues Ask situational questions – Acceptability of spinning – Appropriateness of sharing and talkativeness in this situation – Respect for hierarchy/authority
Interview pitfalls – Interviewer bias• First impression • Primacy and recency effects: – It takes seven seconds to make a – The interviews we remember first impression most are the first and the last of – 50% of it is based on the person’s the group appearance – We tend to remember the – First opinions are formed in the beginning and the end of first 12 minutes of an interview individual interviews• Halo effect • Rationalization – strength (or weakness) in one – Especially of negative aspects area is generalized to other areas if we like the candidate• Similarity bias • Self-fulfilling prophecy – Looking for someone similar – Based on first impression, to self interviewer subconsciously asks leading questions, resulting in confirmation of said first impression
Consequences of hiring errorsOn company level On individual level• High turnover • Low job satisfaction• Low engagement • Low motivation• Poor morale • Presenteeism• Lower productivity • Absenteeism• Lower quality of work • Social loafing• Lower overall efficiency • Low initiative• Poor customer service • Negativity• Opportunity cost • Poor work ethics• “Us vs. Them” attitude • High likelihood of leaving
But if you get it right … People who perform well have: • Increased self-awareness • Improved morale • Increased retention • Increased engagement • Enhanced productivity • Better job satisfaction . . . profits surge!
Solution?• Hire the right person the first time around – Hire those who match the job, team and company – Manage the gap between personality and “job persona”• Facilitate onboarding – Facilitate integration into new team and work environment – Train to improve areas that need to be developed – Tailor job functions/tasks to new hire’s strengths and preferences – Prevent future performance issues – address potential problems before they start• Increase retention of top talent – Career development – Personal development – Keep them challenged & interested – Identify leadership potential
If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it “Assess and conquer” • Define the job • Assess the incumbent • Assess the candidate • Perform gap analysis • Assess and manage performance • Assess and manage promotions • Retain your best people
Assess the job: Define the framework• Task analysis – Task description – Shadowing• Job analysis• Job description• Personality profile of the ideal candidate• Key characteristics and attitudes• Behavioral benchmarks for the position• Reach consensus among the stakeholders
Assess the incumbent: Create a blueprint• Strengths – What traits and attitudes contribute to good performance? – What are the downsides?• Challenges – What are the traits and attitudes that hinder performance? – What do you wish you could change in the incumbent?
Assess the candidate: Fit the pattern• Screen out candidates with the wrong attitudes or poor work ethics• Find people with the right profile for the position – Skills – Personality – Attitudes and values – Work environment preferences• Accurately predict successful performance• Recognize true team players
Many pieces in a puzzle • ‘Hire for attitudes, train for skills’ vs. ‘Hit the road running’ • Cannot possibly assess everything => identify the information that is essential to success on the job
Types of testsSkills and knowledge Psychological• Technical competency • Personality assessments – Theoretical knowledge – Objective – Practical skills – Projective – Experience • Aptitude, IQ and achievement – Level of expertise tests• Psychological competencies – Mechanical reasoning – Leadership skills – Analytical reasoning – Management skills • Attitudes assessments – Emotional intelligence • Rarely used in HR setting – Coping skills – Neuropsychological tests – Assertiveness – Direct observation tests – Communication ability – Soft skills
Personality tests• Personality traits – Is this person a person a good fit into a company’s atmosphere and image (e.g. extrovert vs. introvert, straight-laced vs. laidback, independent-minded vs. compliant, etc.)? – Which specific traits are a must for a position (e.g. integrity, self-control, empathy)? – What makes this person unique? Some quirks are adorable, some may cause problems.• Values – What is important to this person?• Beliefs – What views of the world, others, and self does this person hold?• Attitudes – What kind of a work ethic can you expect? Is s/he assertive, proactive, risk-taker, procrastinator?• Motivators – What drives this person?• Emotions – What makes this person tick? What stresses this person out?• Behavior – If put in a specific situation, how will this person respond? What makes this person behave this way?
When to use assessments: Pre-hire• Prescreen before interview to identify candidates who are clearly a bad fit – narrow down candidate pool to those who meet minimum requirements (lenient cut-off points)• Assess candidates who make the first cut for job fit (skills, personality, attitudes) – narrow down candidate pool to those with best potential (use benchmarks to assess match)• Interview top candidates with test results in mind – Probe deeper to validate test results – Evaluate trade-offs – Evaluate culture fit
When to use assessments: Onboarding• Focus on-the-job training and coaching on areas that need development• Use insight from tests to manage employees effectively• Tailor job functions to the new hires strengths and preferences• Facilitate integration into existing teams• Prevent future performance issues by addressing potential problems before they start
When to use assessments: Career development• Use assessments as a learning and personal development tool• Optimize training process – Identify training needs (individual and groups) – Offer custom-tailored learning opportunities – Determine the effectiveness of your training process – Monitor individual progress• Assess who is ready for a promotion, more responsibility or learning opportunities• Groom young employees for future leadership positions
When to use assessments: Engagement & Talent retention• Optimize motivation – Understand what motivates individual employees and manage accordingly – Ensure right job fit – Help them grow – Keep them challenged and interested• Problem prevention – Develop leadership and management skills of those in charge – Monitor trends company-wide – Identify budding problems before they escalate (e.g. stress levels)
What assessments CAN do• Cut costs and save time by • Improve objectivity of selection – improving the size and quality of process candidate pool by assessing large – Paint a more complete picture of a number of candidates during pre- person’s skills and personality than screening process what is offered in a résumé or – narrowing down the candidate pool references and enabling HR staff to focus on – Provide objective, standardized good fit candidates assessment, free of individual• Assess traits and skills that are interviewer biases relevant to a job (job-specific or – Give a chance to real diamonds in the rough … great candidates who are custom-designed competency humble or untrained in interviewing and personality tests) skills• Identify a person’s strengths and – Use existing top-performing areas that will need employees as benchmarks to whom you compare potential candidates development/training
What assessments CANNOT do• Replace human judgment • Prevent test-taker from “gaming”• Make the hiring decisions instead the test of you BUT there are ways to minimize• Predict performance with 100% cheating and social desirability accuracy bias – Validity scales (impression• Guarantee candidate’s future management, acquiescence, social success desirability index)• Assess all factors that might – Situational/behavioral questions possibly play a role in an rather than adjectives or short phrases individual’s performance – Well-designed questionnaire• Guarantee accuracy for everybody (avoiding leading questions, (some particular circumstances in ambiguity, double-barrelled one’s life might skew results) questions)
How do I judge the quality of a test?• Statistics – Reliability and Validity – Test must be created based on APA (American Psychological Association) standards – Overall “Cronbach’s Alpha” (statistical test of reliability) should be 0.70 or higher – Determine if any studies have been done on the test • What population has this test been used on? (Age, Gender , Ethnicity, Education, Job field) • Sample must be at least 500 or more people • The larger the test (i.e. the more scales) the larger the sample should be – What have the studies conducted on the test revealed? • If the test is job specific - e.g. sales - determine how people with sales experience compare to the rest of the population – they should score better • Determine if test is biased toward a certain population i.e. if one population is scoring significantly better than the rest – this should not be the case • Evaluate adverse impact on protected groups – score differences of 10% or more are unacceptable and the use of the test can be legally challenged
Other important questions to ask a test creator or distributor• Are the test items and test results job-relevant? – If not, the use of test can be legally challenged• What research and which theories were used to create this test?• Has the test been revised? What were the revisions, and when was the last revision? – Revisions are necessary – new scientific research may reveal new information, social and economical changes affect norms or context of test items, language changes• How often are statistical analyses run on this test? – If significant revisions have been made to the test (new questions, new scales), new data must be collected and analyzed• Is this test suitable for my test population? – Lower level vs. higher-level managers – Cold sales vs. warm – Customer service reps in retail vs. call centers
Test Structure – Questions & ReportsOverall tips• Ask for a sample of the questions or get a demo• Ask for a sample report• Assess the length of the test – Realistically, the entire personality cannot be assessed in 10 minutes – On the other hand, a 3-hr test would be impractical• Determine whether the test is assessing all the traits and skills that you need• Determine what benchmarks are available, and whether you can create custom benchmarks• Verify whether suggested interview questions based on test results are available
Test items• Should be relevant to what the test is supposed to assess (face validity)• Should not include questions about sex life, romantic life – personal life questions can be used, but cannot be too personal and need to be justified (e.g. emotional intelligence)• Must be clear and easy to read, and appropriate in terms of reading level required• NOTE: For sake of clarity, some questions need to be direct (e.g. I am punctual), but may point to the right answer – “Faking good” on a test can be prevented to a large degree BUT – Tests in which a lot is at stake (e.g. pre-employment test) should include a scale that determines whether a person answered in a socially-desirable way – a Faking or Impression Management scale
Test report• Verify whether the report offers sufficient information for you to make a clear decision about a person’s potential• Ideally, test report should include – Clear, easy-to-understand graphs with scores – Definitions of each trait or skill assessed – Interpretations of a person’s score • What does a high score indicate? • What does a low score indicate? • How does this impact performance? – Highlights areas that need improvement – Tips on how to improve on weaknesses• Unless you have access to a psychologist or a trained HR professional, make sure the report is written in layperson terms
Perform gap analysis• Measure the difference • Determine the actions that between the candidate and support these required the requirements of the changes/behaviors position• Identify significant gaps – • Predict the energy changes in behavior and requirements to make these playing a role of the “job changes and the resulting persona” are required to frustrations close the gap
Manage the gapOrganize Adapt• Assign tasks according to • Adjust management style to what personal preferences whenever works for individual employees possible or let employees • Adapt communication and volunteer for assignments information transfer to suit an• Team up people with individual’s learning style or complementary skills, personality intelligence type and preferred team roles • Customize training process to give• Ensure support and availability of employees the skills and tools tools/materials that can help to they need to succeed bridge the gap
Find your diamond in the rough• Know what you want• Assess personality, attitudes and skills of candidates using psychological tests• Probe deeper using interview questions based on test results• Keep your eyes open and avoid personal biases• Evaluate tradeoffs• Keep polishing your diamond
And most importantly …Keep polishing your diamond to really make it sparkle
PsychTests’ solutionsARCH Profile Most popular tests• Online delivery system with more • Multi-dimensional Emotional Intelligence Quotient (MEIQ) than 80 assessments available • Multi-dimensional Intelligence Test (MIT)• Features • Work Accident Likelihood Assessment (WALA) – Import users or set up manually • Entrepreneurial Aptitude Profile (EntAP) • Customer Service Profile (CSP) – Assign assessments to users • Leadership Potential Assessment (LEAP) – Invite users via email • Logic IQ Test (LIQT)• Decision support tools • Management Skills and Styles Assessment (MANSSA) – Instant reports (web or PDF) • Salesperson Personality Profile (SPPP) – Benchmarks (industry, custom) • Coping Skills Assessment (COSA) • Employee Attitude and Personality Test (EAPT) – Interview questions • IT Aptitude Personality & Attitude Profile (ITAPAP) – Comparison tools • Work Integrity Test (WINT) – Job analysis • Big 5 Personality Test (AMPM) – 360 & multi-rater assessments
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