I just returned from the ERE Expo in San Diego. What a fun time. Recruiters really are a fun bunch of folks. Despite all the time I spent socializing, I still managed to walk away with some great ideas about assessment’s role in the game of making good hires. Here’s what was going through my head on the plane ride home (besides wondering what ever happened to the free pillows). keep reading…
Dr. Charles Handler
As a technology lover and futurist, I spend time at each new year thinking about the trends shaping the future. It’s cool to look across my experiences in aggregate and gain a feel for phenomena that are real and meaningful. So without further adieu, here’s what I see unfolding in pre-employment assessment for 2011. keep reading…
Most discussions about pre-employment assessment are focused on how assessment is used, what type of assessment is used, or how assessment results are used. But what about the actual people whom companies are asking to take the assessment? Shouldn’t we spend some time talking about how assessment relates to them and the experience it creates for them? As those involved in recruitment and hiring continue to develop a sense of importance around employment branding and candidate experience, it’s about time we talked about the rights that candidates have when it comes to pre-employment assessment. keep reading…
After missing last year, I was happy to be able to spend a good part of last week attending this year’s HR Technology conference. As usual between the networking, the tradeshow, and the sessions, it was sensory overload. I made sure to take some time to try and notice the forest from the trees, while still sniffing around for interesting details.
Given my specialty focus on assessment, I want to focus my commentary on my specific thoughts about what the show says about the position of assessment within the bigger picture. However, to frame this commentary, here’s a very short summary of the main overall trends I took away from the show, as follows: keep reading…
Those of us in the testing and assessment business are very proud of what we do. We have about 50 years of experience in helping companies to make better hiring decisions, resulting in happier employees and increased ROI. Some of the benefits of pre-employment assessments include:
- Sound methodology: when created correctly, assessments provide an accurate and reliable way to measure constructs important for job performance
- ROI: we have tons of data to show that assessments provide a strong value add to the hiring process
- Variety: there are thousands of tests available, covering almost every job and industry
- Versatility: tests can be used for both pre- and post-hire assessment, helping them offer more value
Despite the advantages listed above, we need to be realists and face the fact that testing is a difficult game to be in. Despite a huge shot in the arm provided by technology, the basic testing paradigm still involves candidates filling in small circles and likely grousing a bit in the process. keep reading…
by Dr. Charles Handler and Mark C. Healy, M.A.
Many ERE readers know that we at Rocket-Hire have a fanatical interest in the pre-employment assessment industry, and continuously comment about its trends and happenings. This interest in how end-users such as recruitment, HR, and line management actually use online assessment has led us to continue to run our Online Assessment Usage Survey, annually dating all the way back to 2002.
At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to this year’s survey. Please take a few minutes to help us and other members of our community learn more about assessment usage trends by providing us with information about your company’s screening and assessment practices (Don’t worry: all responses are confidential and we will only report aggregate data).
Given the steady increase in interest and the lack of information about this industry, we feel the results will continue to have value for the ERE community. We look forward to reporting our findings right here on ERE sometime this fall.
In order to provide some extra motivation, here’s a quick summary of the key findings from last year. keep reading…
I’ve been raving for a good while now about the fact that the resume is doomed.
Lets take a quick look at the facts: keep reading…
Taking a relaxing bath last night, I found myself thinking about making an update to my Facebook page and about how I need to get going on creating an invite for an event I am having in a few weeks. My thoughts then wandered to musing on how I had used LinkedIn extensively during my daily work and how absolutely helpful it had been. In the space of about an hour I: connected with an old colleague who I hadn’t spoken with in a few years; found the right contact to speak with regarding one of my client engagements; entered into a really interesting theoretical discussion with other I/O psychologists and was invited to a networking event at an upcoming conference.
Reflecting on my Facebook and LinkedIn experiences got me thinking about the excellent article about Brazen Careerist that recently ran in the ERE Daily and how it is seeking to use social networking to change the way people demonstrate their ability to perform jobs. It was at this point that I had an “aha” moment in which I realized once and for all that Social networking is here to stay.
Forgive me for being a master of the obvious but I think that while many of us are actively using and benefiting from the latest in web technology, a good number of us have yet to fully contemplate the gravity of the changes that are currently going on right under our very noses. To begin comprehending the depths of what is going on, just observe any person under 30 for even a short amount of time and you will realize that connectivity and interconnectivity are becoming firmly woven into the fabric of our modern existence.
I then must ask myself why it has proven so attractive. keep reading…
While assessment can be beneficial in most situations, it is better suited for some scenarios. I’m going to highlight a few situations for which I feel assessment really is a good fit.
There are all kinds of assessments (anything used to evaluate an applicant and make decisions using the results of this evaluation is considered an assessment by the U.S. EEOC) and my purpose is not to make specific prescriptions; rather it is to present some food for thought. So, if your answer to any of the questions below is “yes,” consider using some form of assessment. keep reading…
It may be a stretch to say that 2009 was a good year for assessment. The impact of the downturn definitely hit vendors of assessment just as hard as it did those in other areas of recruitment and staffing. Most of the vendors I have spoken with over the year definitely felt the impact in terms of booking less new business during the first two to three quarters of this year. This makes sense, as the overall pace of hiring slowed to the lowest point in decades during the majority of 2009.
Despite a slowdown in new business, most vendors have been able to continue to generate revenue from their existing client base. Vendors who have assessments that can be used for both hiring and development are finding their ability to diversify beyond hiring to be a serious asset. This makes sense given the fact that many companies have chosen to invest more in their existing employees instead of investing in hiring new ones.
Many vendors I have spoken with have taken this past year to concentrate on developing new products and ideas to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running once things start to pick up. From what I have seen, the evolution of assessment tools has continued in a very positive direction.
Most of my conversations with vendors over the past few months have been more positive then they have in some time. Everyone is starting to see some movement in a positive direction, with pipelines starting to fill up with increased opportunities.
I am a glass-half-full kind of guy. So, here are a few reasons why I feel very optimistic about what we can expect in terms of assessment uptake in 2010. keep reading…
It is not a stretch to say that the validation of pre-employment assessment tools is both one of the most important, and one of the most overlooked, aspects of any legitimate pre-employment assessment program.
Validation is a best practice that can provide both critical information about the ROI of an assessment and the documentation required to support its legal defensibility. Unfortunately, proper validation is not the norm when it comes to the use of assessments. While many companies make use of assessments that have been validated in the past or that do satisfy some of the requirements for test validity, conducting the validation work required to fully satisfy best practices and gain an understanding or ROI is often not on even on the radar screen.
When it comes to validation, my experience shows that the biggest stumbling block is a lack of understanding of just what validation is and why it is so important. While the concept of validation definitely has its complexities, it can be boiled down to a few simple concepts which are discussed below. keep reading…
Article and research by Charles Handler and Mark C. Healy
For the last seven years, Rocket-Hire has surveyed users of web-based pre-employment assessment tools, so we again asked members of the ERE community to tell us about their usage of typical pre-employment screening, testing, and assessment programs. As with years past, we zeroed in on the pulse of pre-employment assessment usage. And in an increasing climate of legal scrutiny for testing, and the hoopla surrounding the Ricci case, we decided to focus the content of today’s article on two issues that are inexorably linked: Implications of evaluating one’s assessment strategy, and attention to relevant legal issues.
Those interested in obtaining a copy of our full report can email us (email@example.com) and we will be sure to send you a full copy once it has been completed.Or, check out an upcoming Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, probably the October 2009 issue, where we’ll have an in-depth analysis.
A Word About our Methodology
This year, 148 recruitment and hiring professionals completed the Rocket-Hire Online Assessment Usage Survey. Respondents were evenly representative of recruiters, recruiting leaders, HR executives, business owners, and hiring managers, and featured a wide variety of organizations and hiring situations.
Use of Assessment Tools
Overall usage of assessment tools was generally about the same as in past years — roughly two-thirds of respondents. Of that two-thirds, 54% are deploying both paper-based and online assessment, and 30% are using exclusively online assessment. The remaining employ only paper-based tools. Most use a variety of different assessment methods, with the majority using between one and three different types. The table below reveals the proportion of firms using various common tools.
Usage rates of common assessment tools
It has been an interesting week as I have watched issues that I deal with on a daily basis become part of the mainstream news media. For those of you who are unaware, earlier this week the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in a case that deals with discrimination and employment testing. This case is highly relevant to what myself and other I/O psychologists do, and its complexities do not surprise me at all. I cut my teeth as a psychometrician for the City of New Orleans, helping to create and validate police and firefighter testing. I can say with confidence that, when it comes to test development and validation, public service testing carries with it by far the most potential for litigation. There are many reasons for this, all of which seem to hinge on the promotion (or lack thereof) of those in a protected class (e.g., minorities) over those in non-protected classes.
A complete discussion of the intricacies and technicalities of validation, discrimination, adverse impact, and differential prediction is beyond the scope of the words I am writing today. Suffice it to say that this case has placed competing priorities in the use of testing in the spotlight. These competing priorities are using fair testing while striving to eliminate discrimination in hiring. While title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has attempted to provide some guidance in relation to these competing goals, the Ricci case has laid bare some critical issues that in my opinion certainly call for the government to re-evaluate and modernize the standards it has set.
We are mandated to use valid tests. Valid tests can often lead to minorities being hired at lower rates than those of other races. This is seen as OK as long as the test has been validated, because in theory this means the test is job-related and job-relatedness is the standard by which the legality of testing is determined.
However, what are we to do when sticking to the use of validation — as we have been asked to do — creates a situation that actually inhibits the goal of ensuring diversity and fairness? This has been a thorny issue for those of us in my profession for a long time. There is no magic bullet. The dissenting opinion in this case led by Justice Ginsburg rallies around the idea that the spirit of diversity and fairness should be the highest standard to which we aspire in hiring. It is hard to argue with this point … except for the fact that there are technical issues which can stand in the way of our achievement of this goal.
So, what does all this mean for hiring in the corporate world? I offer my humble answer to this question as follows: keep reading…
We are approaching the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission in which the world witnessed the first human to walk on the moon. This event was an historic moment for mankind and one that will live on as one of the most triumphant moments for the human race. keep reading…
Every year thousands of industrial-organizational psychologists gather for our society’s annual conference. This conference always proves to be an interesting and fun event chocked full of useful information. Readers who are unfamiliar with SIOP should definitely check it out. While much of the conference is highly academic, there is probably no other place where one can learn more about the actual implementation and measurement of assessment tools.
One of the most exciting things for me at this year’s conference was the launch of SIOP’s new blog/interactive community site, the SIOP Exchange.
I was part of a team that created this blog in order to help promote I-O psychology and build an increased sense of community amongst SIOP members and other interested parties. I encourage those folks in the ERE community who are interested in the viewpoint of I-Os on topics related to our work to check it out. The Exchange offers RSS feeds that will help keep you aware of topics that may be of interest to you.
In addition to launching the blog, this year I participated in several panels in which assessment solution providers and the end users of assessments discussed important issues related to technology and testing. It is rare to such varied experience and expertise in the use of assessment in one place. I want to share some of the hot topics with ERE readers to help keep the ERE community updated on how testing and assessment experts are handling important issues that impact the use of technology based testing. Here is a quick rundown of some of the themes that were represented. keep reading…
Those of you who have kept up with my writings over the years know that I firmly believe that simulations are the future of pre-employment assessment. Over the years I have dedicated a good deal of thought and practice to understanding how technology can be used to begin creating the next generation of simulation tools.
The purpose of this article is not to provide a detailed outline of the virtues of simulations (please refer to some of my earlier writings for this type of information). Beyond this, the crux of the issue is that simulations offer some really nice advantages over simple employment tests. These advantages include:
- A high degree of candidate engagement. Simulations are more fun and engaging then simply filling in radio buttons.
- A high degree of accuracy. Since simulations are miniature replicas of the job for which a person is applying, scores on simulations are likely to be strongly correlated with actual job performance.
- A realistic job preview. Simulations provide candidates with the opportunity to try out the job in question and allow applicants who do not feel the work is for them to remove themselves from consideration saving time and money.
- An employment branding tool. Fun and engaging hiring practices can really help reinforce an employment brand. Considering the trend in gaming and computer simulated environments, this may offer a competitive advantage when it comes to the coming generations of job seekers.
- Reduced bias. Simulations offer a way to help reduce bias and subjectivity in the hiring process due to their realism.
In order to better understand the future of job simulations for selecting employees, let’s take a quick look at the past and present state of affairs.
Like it or not social networking, the next logical extension of the connectivity provided to us by the Internet, is here to stay. We are still in the relatively early stages of exploring the various applications of social networking. While many of these tools are aimed at younger generations for whom connectivity is an essential part of living, it hasn’t taken long for folks in all manner of business to begin exploring how social networking can add value for them. Employment branding, research, sourcing, and networking are all greatly facilitated by anything that provides connectivity between persons who share similar interests.
As a relatively early adopter and a futurist, I have been doing a lot of thinking about how social networking may impact the world of pre-employment assessment. The first real application that we will see is the use of social networking to help provide accurate pictures of the culture (also called work values) within an organization. This type of matching is a big part of what we speak about when we discuss the “fit” between a person and an organization.
Matching job seekers’ cultural preferences to the culture of an organization is hardly new. However, the ability for individuals to provide data that can be used to create aggregate profiles is a game-changer when it comes to the concept of using culture matching to help facilitate fit. Most commonly, fit has been explored as a diad between one individual and a referent group within the organization. While these matches may be meaningful, they are somewhat static and one-dimensional.
One of the most exciting things about web 2.0 and social networking is the ability for large numbers of people to make evaluations or judgments about something in such a way that a relatively “true” aggregate picture of that referent emerges. This sort of thing has the flexibility to quickly account for changes in the aggregate as it is continually evolving. These aggregate profiles also keep things very honest and often provide a very good source of information for those looking into the relevance or value of something to them personally.
It is not hard to imagine how collective data about an organization’s characteristics, values, and culture could have major value for those who are thinking about working there. There are already a number of websites where one can get honest (albeit sometimes biased) narrative about what it is like to work at a company. Those of us who design tests know that there is way too much left to chance when using open-ended narratives as the foundation for decision-making.
But what if everyone involved filled out a standardized questionnaire that was designed to measure various aspects of culture?
Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a very interesting article: “Test for Dwindling Retail Jobs Spawns a Culture of Cheating.”
This well-written and researched piece is somewhat groundbreaking in that it is the first article in a mainstream media outlet to provide evidence of cheating on employment tests. Those of us in the testing industry have always been concerned with the security of our tests and have taken a variety of precautions to defend against it, but this is the first time I have ever read actual evidence that documents the existing of cheating.
As a testing expert and someone who has a high degree of familiarity with Unicru/Kronos (the company whose tests are the subject of the piece), I figured it would make sense for me to weigh in on this important article. Here are some thoughts about the article and the issues it raises:
A year ago it was business as usual for most of us in the staffing industry. My how things change! Of course the big news for 2009 is the economy. This coming year is going to force all of us to start getting creative and perhaps re-think the way we do things in order to accomplish our goals with fewer resources. But what, if anything, do these changes mean for the world of pre-employment assessment?
The most significant change I expect to see in pre-employment assessments in 2009 is a slowing of uptake as some organizations slow their hiring to a trickle or cut things seen as non-essential (i.e., assessment) from their budgets. I am not going to miss the opportunity to suggest that cuts to the budget for assessment are unwarranted because a well-designed assessment program can provide ROI — no matter what the economic context may be. My thoughts about a slight slowdown in the use of assessment are just speculation; it will be interesting to see if hard data such as that provided by our 6th Annual Screening and Assessment Usage Survey supports this speculation. If you have not taken the survey yet, I encourage you to do so. It only takes about 10 minutes and the information you provide is very valuable.
Despite the possibility of a slowdown in the purchase of assessments, there are a number of trends, nine in all, that will help mark 2009.
by Dr. Charles Handler and Mark C. Healy, M.A.
We I/O psychologist-types tend to be real data hounds. Much of the work we do for our employers/clients involves the use of data to investigate specific hypotheses in order to illuminate the underlying truth in a situation. The outcome of this work often has tremendous value to organizations because it provides them with hard data on which strategic decisions can be based. Additionally, the collection and analyses of data often helps us to identify new trends that we haven’t yet thought about.
Many of you who follow our articles know that we have a keen interest in the pre-employment assessment industry, and write quite a bit about its trends and happenings within. Our interest in data and trends has led to an annual online screening and assessment usage survey.
The idea for this survey was born back in 2002, when we became frustrated over the lack of available information about the usage of pre-employment screening and assessment tools. This lack of information has been a challenge because though everyone seems to be saying that screening is becoming a hot area, there’s little actual data available to confirm this statement or to tell us how hot it really is. This lack of information also makes it hard for those of us who follow this industry closely to provide factual information about how companies are using online screening and assessment tools, and what the results of this usage have been. This year we have made a few changes to the survey questions to help us be sure we are staying up to date with some of the major trends and issues that pertain to assessment and the manner in which it is integrated into the hiring process.
At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to this year’s survey. Take a few minutes to help other members of our community by providing information about your company’s screening and assessment practices. The more data that’s collected, the clearer existing and emerging trends will become. Last year, we had a record number of responses, a fact that seems to indicate the increased interest level in screening and assessment. Given the steady increase in interest and the lack of information about this industry, we feel the results will continue to have value for the ERE community. We look forward to reporting our findings right here on ERE sometime this coming Spring.
In order to provide some extra motivation, here’s a quick summary of the trends identified in last year’s results.