Every year I attend the annual Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology conference to learn and make sure I am in touch with the latest goings-on in my field. This past year I was very excited to walk away with an unpublished research paper titled Legal Risk in Selection: An analysis of processes and tools, by Kate Williams, a doctoral candidate at Clemson University. This article has direct and practical value for the members of the ERE community. If you are in any way involved in shaping the staffing strategy of you organization or if you really want to know the practical requirements for ensuring the EEOC and OFCCP stay out of your kitchen, you need to read this paper, or at least the short summary of its major points that I provide below. keep reading…
Dr. Charles Handler
The web sure is an interesting place. Where else can people you have never met find you and reach out for highly specific advice, providing real world stories that help us keep in touch with the end-user perspective?
I received the e-mail below from a frustrated job applicant who must have found my website when searching for some straight talk about her pre-employment assessment experience.
Hello, My name is #####, and I am an insurance and financial services professional in (city, state). I work for a good company, but just this week I was contacted by large national competitor who was interested in hiring me. After speaking with a recruiter with that company, I was asked to complete a few questionnaires, sign and fax agreements to let this company research my credit and other very private information, and then was sent an email last night to complete an online assessment. I followed the directions, took the 139-question assessment (which took me about an hour) and was emailed this morning saying that I am not able to interview for the position.
I was blown away with surprise, as my credentials are outstanding and I have a clean, strong professional history. I asked for the results of the assessment, and I was denied any information as to why I was dismissed. The questionnaire asked me a few different times about my age, sex, and ethnicity, which I answered completely and honestly. My industry is typically dominated by white male professionals, but I haven’t had any problems with discrimination in the past. I am not assuming that this is discrimination, however, don’t I have a right to know what the results of my professional assessment is? How am I to know what the company views as weak or inadequate professional characteristics without answers or explanation? I want to be as professional and kind as possible with this matter, but I am not sure what to do. Any advice?
Here is my response: keep reading…
This is a very special week for me. June 1st marks a full decade that I have spent dedicated to the work my company, Rocket-Hire, has been doing to promote the benefits of best-practices-based screening and assessment programs.
For those of us who are working to move our field forward. it is often easy to lose the forest for the trees, as our daily efforts to implement assessment often keep us focused on the issues that still hold us back. So in reflecting on the past decade as a thought leader for the assessment world, I have worked hard to refocus on the big picture. When I took time to change my perspective a bit, I realized that zooming out to the treetops has presented a view that is extremely positive and encouraging. This vantage point has reminded me that, while we still face all kinds of crazy challenges in the moment, we have seen some quantum leaps in the testing game that have made the use of pre-employment screening and assessment an even bigger value add then ever.
Here is a quick review of my thoughts on the big picture when it comes to innovation and progress in our industry over the past decade. keep reading…
The general climate among HR and staffing professionals is that pre-employment assessment is a complex and confusing matter that is not really worth the hassle. Why is this so? My own research and experience has led me to the following plausible explanations:
Assessment can be complex: There is no one magic bullet and the choices to be navigated make constructing good testing programs a blend of both art and science.
Assessment is often oversold or mis-sold: Vendors often fit round pegs into square holes because they only sell the round pegs and their motive is to hammer as many pegs in as possible.
Testing is not fun: Let’s be honest. Most applicants don’t really enjoy doing complicated math problems or answering questions about how outgoing they are at parties. It is not hard to see why many firms would want to spare applicants from these forms of mild torture!
Where’s the beef?: Many companies totally ignore the value proposition for assessment because they don’t make a game plan for testing that directly allows them to see the ROI it can deliver. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat? You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!
Consumers do not follow best practices: When the consumer is not aware of the steps required to ensure success with assessment, they make it harder to achieve success. Failures often represent the end of the line when it comes to testing programs.
The reasons go on, but all of the above issues can be overcome more easily than you think. I don’t want to downplay the complexities of assessment — they are real and they are many. However, I do feel that if you use the following four steps as your mantra, you will come out on the good side when it comes to assessment.
Above all, the key ingredients to making these steps work for you are: keep reading…
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…
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.