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assessments RSS feed Tag: assessments

What’s a Degree Worth? A New Test Will Help Employers Know What a Graduate Has Learned

by Aug 29, 2013, 1:18 am ET

Letterman-BuildingIs a degree from Harvard worth more than one from Oklahoma State? By how much? A year at Harvard costs $52,650 versus about $9,000 at OSU. So is a graduate of Harvard almost six times better than one of OSU?

You may soon be able to tell, courtsey of a new test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment that supposedly provides an objective, benchmarked report card for critical-thinking skills. keep reading…

What Have You Done for Me Lately? Entrance to the C-suite Requires Data on the Economic Impact of Job Performance

by Aug 6, 2013, 12:58 am ET

If I hear one more speech about how HR needs to be strategic, I may lose it. Of course, we all want and need to make a difference, get noticed, and help our companies be successful. I’m not trying to suggest that we avoid the idea of thinking strategically, but there is only one true way to be strategic when in front of business leadership: show them the money!

Until we HR, talent acquisition, and talent management professionals have the tools and know-how needed to directly quantify the economic impact of our efforts to hire people who will perform effectively, it will be hard  for us to be truly strategic and triumph in our quest to be taken seriously by the C suite. While there is no doubt that the tools used to predict which applicants will be the best performers provide an important contribution, the only way to gain insight into the value of these tools is to tie their effectiveness directly to financial metrics of job performance. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a major challenge.

Below is a short list of the major roadblocks to HR (specifically talent acquisition and talent management) being truly strategic when it comes to measuring the economic impact of the hiring process. Since the value of the hiring process hinges on the ability to show the impact on the bottom line through the people who are contributing to it, these issues all center around problems related to translating insight about workplace performance into financial metrics. This is a data problem and thus it is no surprise that all of these roadblocks are related to the data used to measure job performance. These issues include: keep reading…

Hiring for Both Attitude and Aptitude

by Jul 18, 2013, 6:30 am ET

Lately there has been a push to hire based on cultural fit, over skill set. There are several reasons that this makes sense. When you hire for cultural fit you end up with a more cohesive workforce, and it improves engagement and retention rates. Leadership IQ performed a three-year study of 5,247 hiring managers and tracked 20,000 new hires; 46 percent of them failed within 18 months.

But even more surprising than the failure rate was that when new hires failed, 89 percent of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11 percent of the time for a lack of skill. Bad attitudes or attitudes that aren’t in line with the company culture will lead to high turnover. High turnover then leads to low morale, upset productivity, and high talent acquisitions costs. It’s clear then: hire the smile!

But wait, there’s another side to this equation. keep reading…

How Valid Is This Test?

by Jul 16, 2013, 6:45 am ET

9781118531181_cover.inddNo business wants to spend time and money on a measurement method that does not work. This is why most businesses know to ask this basic question: “How valid is this method or test?” The challenge only begins here, though, because you then need to be able to understand and evaluate the answer. To help you, try following these seven tactics.

(Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Talent Intelligence: What You Need to Know to Identify and Measure Talent by Nik Kinley and Shlomo Ben-Hur. Copyright © 2013.)

Ask for Evidence. We were recently looking at the validity of a popular U.S. interviewing system that described itself as being accurate and valid. On a Web page entitled “Validity,” the vendor described a wide variety of research showing that interviews can be valid predictors of success. Yet there was not a single mention of any research that the vendor had conducted into the validity of its own system. So rule No, 1 is that you need to get specific and ask vendors for the evidence that their particular method or tool is valid. And beware of statements such as, “The test is predictive,” but do not come with any specific validity figures or evidence.

keep reading…

The Problem With Personality Tests

by Jul 12, 2013, 6:03 am ET

It seems counterintuitive. Some people claim that personality has everything to do with job performance. Others know that every piece of serious research shows personality scores have almost nothing to do with job skills. I’ll repeat that: personality scores seldom, if ever, equal skills.

Soooo, if personality has nothing to do with skills, why do so many organizations used it to predict job performance? The answer depends on how and where you look. keep reading…

Do You Look for Cultural Fit, or for Innovation?

by Jul 5, 2013, 6:24 am ET

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. — Charles Kettering

There has been a lot written lately about “cultural fit.” In fact, you could say that cultural fit is the latest rage in talent acquisition.

In an article in the American Sociological Review, Northwestern Professor Lauren Rivera concludes that companies are making hiring decisions today “in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners.”

The 4 Most-asked Interview Questions keep reading…

Employment Tests Say: Give Us Mobile or Give Us Death!

by Jun 26, 2013, 6:00 am ET

state dept appWhen it comes to linking people to information and opportunities at scale, mobile devices represent “a perfect storm of opportunity” for driving engagement because they provide personalized information on demand. This allows companies to win customers through dynamic ads that are location- and context-specific and can be based on prediction of intent.

Statistics for mobile device uptake show that it is increasing exponentially over time such that mobile internet access is poised to overtake fixed Internet access by 2015

This trend is even more pronounced in emerging markets such as India where mobile technology allows for the chance to skip over older technologies (i.e., land-based cables) that requires a deeper investment in infrastructure.

We are moving toward the global eventuality that an increasing number of things that we do on a daily basis will involve a mobile device. What seems less clear is a firm handle on where are we in our ability to really use these advantages in a consistent and strategic way when it comes recruiting and hiring. That’s what I’m going to talk about, below. keep reading…

Cultural Fit in the Workplace: How Personality Affects Hiring and Teamwork

by Jun 21, 2013, 6:43 am ET

introvert vs extrovertPeople differ in their personalities, attitudes, and values, and an understanding of our individual personality is profoundly important in maximizing our happiness and productivity at work.

We spend a third of our lives at work, and people are moving around from job to job more frequently, seeking a company that allows them to maximize their potential, earn more money, or achieve a better work-life balance. For some, all of these factors will be equally important, while others will prioritize them differently.

Whatever our priorities, work feeds into many different aspects of our lives — it influences our self-identity, self-esteem, and opportunities for personal growth. If work was just about making money, it wouldn’t matter so much where we worked. But for most of us, it’s about far more than that. This is where cultural fit comes into play. But what exactly is cultural fit? Organizational psychology guru Adrian Furnham offers this definition in his seminal academic textbook, “The Psychology of Behaviour at Work

“A fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organization and those of the person.” (page 116)

Although, as Furnham goes on to discuss, fit is not only about the person and the organization — fit to coworkers and supervisor is also of importance (that’s what we’re working on). A simple example of how an individual’s personality might determine their preferences at work is shown in the diagram above (adapted from Furnham’s 2012 work).

The scale on the vertical axis shows the preference of each of the two personality types — introvert and extravert — for open plan versus separate cubicle offices. The introvert, who likes peace and quiet to get on with his or her work, strongly prefers the comforting seclusion of separate cubicles, and dislikes the noise and activity of the open-plan office. The higher the person’s introversion score (imagine it on a continuous line), the stronger their preference for the separate cubicles.

On the other hand, the extravert, who works best around other people, shows the opposite pattern — the more extraverted a person is, the more strongly they prefer the open-plan office. So what does this mean? keep reading…

Develop a Recruiter Scorecard … Because Champions Demand That You Keep Score (Part 2 of a 2-part series)

by Jun 17, 2013, 6:07 am ET

How to develop a recruiter scorecard for assessing individual corporate recruiter performance

Champions insist that you keep score. If you understand that concept, you will ensure that in addition to function-wide metrics, you will supplement them with a scorecard for assessing the performance of each individual recruiter. Everyone knows that corporations are measurement crazy, so I have found that by not measuring something (in this case recruiters), you are inadvertently sending a message to executives and employees that whatever you are doing is not strategic or even important (because if it was, we would measure it).

So unless you want to purposely send a message that “having top performing recruiters doesn’t matter,” you have no choice but to develop an individual recruiter scorecard. In order to do that effectively, you first need to understand the foundation design principles for individual scorecards and then you must select the actual measures that you will use in your scorecard. In part one, I introduced the concept and provided three examples of what a scorecard might look like. In this part two, I will cover the design details and a list of the measure to consider for your scorecard. keep reading…

Develop a Recruiter Scorecard … Because Champions Demand That You Keep Score (Part 1 of a 2-part series)

by Jun 10, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Sample recruiter scorecards 

Champions insist that you keep score. If you understand that concept, you shouldn’t be surprised that one of the best ways to separate champion recruiters from weak ones is to bring up the topic of assessing individual recruiter performance. The worst corporate recruiters and way too many third-party recruiters that I have come across almost instantly react negatively to the topic of individual accountability. Their protests usually include some variation of three different excuses which are, “professionals don’t need to be measured,” “recruiting is too subjective or soft to measure,” or “it’s not my fault, others are to blame.”

In direct contrast, the very best in sports, sales, academia, high tech, entertainment, and yes, corporate recruiting, not only love to have their performance measured but they also like it to be compared and ranked against their peers. If you are a corporate recruiting leader and you want to know which recruiters to reward or to keep (I recommend that you release those who complain the loudest about individual accountability), you need to move beyond broad recruiting department metrics and dashboards and to also develop a “recruiter scorecard” for assessing the performance of every individual recruiter. keep reading…

Before You Require Poem Writing, Take These 7 Steps to Ensure Your Hiring Matches Your Culture

by May 22, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 10.17.15 PMDuring a trip to a suburban mall near Cleveland, I saw a man wearing a jacket with a logo for Hyland Software, a business-to-business software developer whose global headquarters are located nearby. In the B2B world, Hyland has a reputation of being a stellar employer with a fun streak. As evidence, it has a giant tube slide in the middle of its headquarters and has earned several top workplace awards in recent years.

Hyland also has a quirk in its interview process. Candidates applying online are required to write and submit a poem. Not an essay, not a biography — a poem. How does that strike you? keep reading…

Employment Tests Are Anything but Irrelevant

by May 21, 2013, 6:42 am ET

Last week, I found myself wearing down several hours sitting in an airport by catching the latest and greatest in the HR/employment sphere through LinkedIn, when I stumbled onto an article by Dr. Charles Handler titled “Employment Tests Are Becoming Irrelevant for Predicting Job Success.”  I was intrigued. After all, I am a consultant for a company in which a core area of our business is from said employment tests. Especially with that title, shock value achieved.

The article brings to light a number of interesting ideas about big data via social media and how it stands to influence the way we look at pre-employment. However new and edgy gathering such data via social media may be, it isn’t without its flaws.  Furthermore, if someone has to stand up for employment tests, I begrudgingly accept.

From the first excerpt, “The Impact of Publicly Available ‘Free-range’ Data,”

People born in the past decade or so, along with all persons to come, will begin accumulating a personal digital fingerprint that will be associated with them from cradle to the grave … We are even starting to see research that suggests we can gauge an individual’s job success from social media data such as one’s Facebook usage. keep reading…

Smarterer the Big Winner in the Startup Contest at Recruiting Innovation Summit

by May 15, 2013, 7:38 pm ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 9.45.07 AMSmarterer has won the 2013 startup competition at the Recruiting Innovation Summit.

The award comes with a $10,000 prize. It was selected by three judges: ERE Media Founder David Manaster, Greylock Partners Talent VP Dan Portillo, and Universum Founder Lars-Henrik Friis Molin. The judging panel considered in its decision the results of an audience vote done via text message (judges and the crowd each received a 50-50 weighting).

Friis Molin says the Smarterer tests are “perfecting themselves” through crowdsourcing. (Here’s more on Smarterer.) He sees it as one of the potential future gold standards in the assessment field. David Manaster said he tried the test and found it as fun as Smarterer claimed. He also said that given Smarterer’s “consumer approach” he also thought the test could be a future gold standard.

It was the elite of an elite group of new tools and technologies rolling out for recruiting departments, including one that would help companies hire teams (vs. individuals); another that would add a one-page candidate proposal to the application process; and another that would help companies create mobile careers sites. And more.

Meanwhile, two other companies were also winners at the event. keep reading…

Employment Tests Are Becoming Irrelevant for Predicting Job Success

by May 8, 2013, 5:35 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 1.42.47 PMLet’s talk about the future of predicting job success and why the world’s biggest evangelist for pre-hire assessments thinks tests are in danger of becoming extinct (and is OK with it).

There are a number of emerging trends in hiring right now that center around the currency of the new millennium: data. The impact of our ability to collect, organize, and interpret data is rapidly changing all areas of the economy. Should employment be any different? There are three ways in which data is slowly killing the employment test as we know it. keep reading…

Here’s How to Avoid Picking a Shoddy Assessment Vendor

by Apr 3, 2013, 5:46 am ET

Selecting a pre-hire assessment vendor is not always easy, but doing it right can make a huge difference.

I’ve written about this subject before, as has my fellow I/O psychologist and ERE author Dr. Wendell Williams, and I’ll be doing a webcast with ERE on this very topic soon. I’m going to give you selection tips in a minute.

First, three major reasons why the vendor selection process can be so hard. keep reading…

DIRECTV Improving Funnel, Turnover Among Call Center and Technician Employees

by Mar 20, 2013, 6:20 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 3.34.40 PMThe satellite TV company DIRECTV is in the process, apparently successful so far, of improving the performance and the turnover of front-line employees, partly through the use of an hour-long assessment. That online tool is meant to find out who’s most interested in a customer service or dish installation job, give candidates a good feel for what the work would be like if they get the job, see who’s got the qualities top employees have, and get people more excited about the roles and the company.

Linda Simon is the head of talent management. She started a couple years ago. About eight months before that, a new CEO and then a new HR head had come in. Business leaders and the HR team started looking at the front-line roles — they were all on board — asking themselves if they’re really getting the best people, and whether they can do something about the turnover so common in customer-service, phone-surgically-attached-to-your-ear sorts of jobs. The company was also thinking about the people who come install your satellite TV; in July 2008, it had brought those jobs in house.

In the fall of 2010, it looked at adding a new screen or assessment tool to its hiring process. keep reading…

The Black Hearts and White Knights of Pre-Employment Testing

by Mar 4, 2013, 1:07 am ET

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. — Abraham Lincoln

Honest Abe must have known about hiring tests. You see, the results of a foolish test will always show-up as soon as someone takes a closer look. Foolish tests make bad candidates look good on paper, but crash on the job; and, they make good candidates look bad on paper … but never get a job offer.

Like Abe said, you can’t fool everyone all the time.

I call the difference between good and bad hiring vendors “Black-Hearted” and “White-Knights.” A White-Knight vendor presents thorough research showing its test predicts job performance with a very high degree of accuracy. White-Knight vendors always report jobs, demographics, charts, tables, subjects, correlations, and probability of being wrong. They are very dull. A Black-Hearted vendor presents happy-user stories that are very light on real data and heavy on nonsense numbers.

You might ask why they do this. Well, I guess they might be reluctant to say anything negative; they don’t know how to develop a professional quality test; they don’t know any better; they don’t care; or, a little of all the above.

Right or Wrong, Never in Doubt keep reading…

These 5 Trends Are Shaping the Future of Pre-hire Assessments

by Feb 21, 2013, 5:36 am ET

2013 is going to present the start of a major tipping point in the way people find and are evaluated for jobs (and vice versa), and a blend of technology and assessment content will play a big role in these ongoing changes.

This opinion is not founded on trends within the pre-hire assessment industry, but rather on the bigger picture of emerging trends in internet technology. I’m talking about major changes in the way humans use information and connectivity to support business and social interactions.

The following are key technology trends that are bigger than any individual industry but are already impacting products being offered in the pre-hire assessment market.  I know about many of these companies because I’ve worked with many of them over the past year. In many cases their products are still not fully completed (and some have even asked not to be mentioned due to this), but 2013 will be a year that sees a ton of new companies live and open for business. keep reading…

Hires That Will Transform Your Company

by Jan 17, 2013, 5:39 am ET

Steven Tyler-PRK-032194You have staffed your team with all the right people: they graduated from top universities, worked at leading companies, stayed at each company the requisite length of time, and exuded intelligence in the interview process. Yet you see other companies with far less surface talent achieving incredible results and outstripping you. Why is this?

The most likely reason your company is failing to progress is that you still hire based on standard interview processes that have been followed for decades. You focus on qualifications only, and ignore focusing on the individual attributes that will help you find superstars, or game changers.

A game changer is a person who thinks outside the box and approaches problems differently from the rest of us. They approach problems with passion, a unique perspective, and their thinking inspires others to build on their ideas.

With game changers on your team you can move from average to an industry leadership position. Good examples are Apple and IBM, which transformed themselves from fading brands into dominant positions by adopting the ideas of leaders who were game changers. Three football teams have had great success this year bringing in game changers. The Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson), Washington Redskins (Robert Griffin III), and Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck) have seen vast improvements after they drafted rookie quarterbacks who have the unique attributes of game changers.

An example of a game changer in the music industry is Steven Tyler. In his entertaining autobiography he discusses how he approaches the four elements of writing a song: melody, words, chords, and rhythm.

He explains, “You know right away if a song has that magic. It has to have those extremes — the one thing it can’t be is okay. Okay is death.

He adds: “Never mind the melody, never mind the chords — no, no, no. You start with infatuation, obsession, passion, anger, zeal, craze, then take a handful of notes, sew them into a chord structure, create a melody over that, and then come up with words that fit it perfectly.”

His diverse way of thinking is completely different from standard music writers, but as a game changer, his unique perspectives have resulted in incredible successes.

If we analyze the way the majority of companies hire, we see a system that is designed to hire okay performers. We focus solely on the tangibles: the candidate’s job history, education, and interview performance. We ignore the intangibles like diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense.

As an example, diversity of thought means approaching challenges using varied thought processes based on personal creativity and different life experiences. If you can combine diverse thinking with a strong work ethic, intelligence, and common sense, you have a game changer. The results of game changers can often transform the way we do business.

To hire game changers, you will need to make modifications in the following areas:  keep reading…

Lessons from Great Coaches and Other Myths

by Jan 9, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 7.18.29 AMEvery so often someone publishes an article about lessons learned from great coaches, offering advice about how to select people. Sorry, this is useless nonsense.

Great coaches don’t work with players who pass an interview. Their players are thoroughly pre-screened by skilled talent scouts who watched each and every one of them excel at the game. Only the best and most talented players ever got to meet the coach. In the corporate world, coaches would be similar to line managers. Talent scouts are represented by recruiters. But the analogy ends with titles.

HR recruiters in the corporate world don’t use tryouts, so they don’t really know whether candidates can do the job. Line managers are generally promoted into their job because they were good individual contributors, so about 70% don’t have any coaching skills at all. Just imagine what a team would be like if talent scouts used corporate recruiting methods: “Are you fast? Yes. Agile? Yes? What kind of barnyard animal would you most like to be?” And, if coaching consisted of “Do what I tell you.”

Yep, organizations seem to think advice from great coaches them all they need to know about candidate skills. But have you ever considered how great people are really selected? keep reading…