Friday, January 05, 2007

Assessment in the mainstream press

The January 2007 issue of Prosper magazine has an article on assessment, and it provides us with a good example of what's written about our area in the popular press.

With apologies to Steven Colbert...

Tip of the hat for:

- Providing so many good examples of the utility of good tests, including: higher caliber of candidates, reduction in drug test failures, higher retention rate, and fewer probation failures.

- Reminding test users to consider language issues (e.g., do you need to have the test translated?).

- Correctly pointing out that medical tests can only be performed post-offer.

- Emphasizing that instruments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and DiSC Profile are not appropriate personnel selection tools.

- Highlighting the fact that knowing the job (i.e., performing a job analysis) is essential.

- Correctly advising employers not to use a single test as the sole decision maker.

- Reminding readers that understanding test results can be tricky and an I/O psychologist can help in interpretation.

- Cautioning employers about using another organization's benchmarks.

Wag of the finger for:

- Stating that in the U.S. it is a legal requirement to "have the assessment instrument deemed reliable and valid." There is no legal requirement to show evidence of validity unless you're sued (say, for discrimination). That said, it is obviously best practice is to validate your selection instruments.

- Stating that assessment instruments have historically been used "primarily for sales personnel and senior-level executives." Actually serious assessment began in the military and has been used for virtually every type of job. If there's been an interview, there's been an assessment.

- Suggesting that organizational psychologists and psychometricians "avoid using the term 'test'." If this is true word hasn't reached me yet. I can think of several recent publications that used this word.

- Incorrectly stating that drug tests can only be administered post-offer.

- Recommending that employers use tests that ask applicants to compare themselves to others. Actually we know that people do a lousy job of comparing themselves accurately to other people.

- Suggesting that you should always check to see if the test should be in the language of the reader. If the job requires proficiency in the language the test is written in (and you've documented that), then this is not an issue as long as the reading level is appropriate.

Criticism aside, I do appreciate the publicity for our field! (and, honestly, I've seen much worse)


Resources Unlimited said...

The DiSC Profile is used successfully as a hiring tool by many of our corporate clients. We spend time with our clients teaching them how to use it legally and effectively. For instance, if you are going to use an assessment with one candidate, you must use it with all candidates. Also, we highly recommend using a pre-interview tool called the DiSC Role Behavior Analysis. This assessment is completed by the manager that would oversee the open position, and possibly other employees who know the position requirements well. It will give you an idea of the type of behavior needed to do the tasks effectively. You can then compare these results with the candidates' results. Determine whether the candidate is a good fit, stretch, or redirect. Then, use the Performance Coaching questions at the end of the Comparison Reports as an interview guide to learn how the candidate can adapt his/her behavior if needed. For more information, visit our website at:

Resources Unlimited is an authorized Inscape Publishing distributor and trainer of the DiSC profile for 30+ years. Feel free to call our office at 800.278.1292 if you have any questions.

BryanB said...

I'm happy to hear about your emphasis on consistency and on analyzing the needs of the position. I look forward to seeing more published research that validates the usefulness of the DiSC in personnel selection.