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Three Questions To Ask ANY Assessment Provider

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Many companies run the risk of lawsuit based on their hiring practices. Using assessment products that were not designed for hiring, and may cause harm to the potential new hire and to the organization using them.

3 Questions You Must Ask ANY Employee Assessment Provider:

  1. Is it fair?
  2. Is it accurate?
  3. Can you prove it?

Multiple companies provide employee assessments or what’s been incorrectly termed “personality tests.” For the record, these aren’t personality tests since there are too many components that make “personality” nearly impossible to truly measure. They are correctly termed assessments because they assess your communication preferences, intrinsic motivators, acumen, and your core business competencies.

Assessments have grown into a $500 million industry with most large companies utilizing them to filter through hundreds of applicants to find the two or three that meet the company’s needs. The industry is growing at 15% or more per year as organizations seek to find applicants with the right mix of various characteristics they believe to be ideal for their open positions. Many firms also use them for mentoring, coaching, and employee development.

Assessments can give a company insight into an existing or potential employee’s behavioral tendencies and how those preferences would mesh with a particular position. Over the course of several hundred or even several thousand data points, assessments have proven to be eerily accurate.

Is it fair?

Fairness is usually a subjective evaluation that depends on the people involved but for assessments in the USA, fairness all boils down to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and the OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs). Those two regulatory bodies determine if a hiring practice is deemed fair or not. If you’re outside of the USA, you should consult with your provider to determine the correct regulatory body for hiring practices.

The key phrase? Adverse Impact. Does the assessment have an adverse impact on federally protected classes? Do certain classes get excluded or included based on how the assessment is scored or how the questions are worded?

If your assessment provider cannot produce EEOC and OFCCP studies showing that their assessments meet the federal standard, it may be a good idea to find another provider. Ask questions like:

  • Can I see your EEOC/OFCCP study?
  • How was it conducted?
  • Has it stood up to court or regulatory body challenges?

The best providers will have this information readily available.

But don’t stop there. Make sure your provider has conducted an adverse impact study on all 14 protected classes. It’s also a good idea for employers to conduct their own adverse impact study on their particular hiring practices (interview questions, resume review process, background checks, etc.).

If your assessment provider cannot produce this information, it may be time to seek another provider. The risk of lawsuit is too great.

Is it accurate?

In other words, does it measure what it claims to measure? Is it VALID?

Validity has to be a constant concern for providers of employee assessments. Why even bother if the provider cannot produce documentation that the assessment is accurate? You aren’t testing just for the fun of it.

I won’t bore you with all the science (14% will want it anyway — contact me and I’ll send it), but in the simplest of forms, validity needs to be measured in terms of “construct validity” by a third party. “Face” validity cannot count here since that’s merely an opinion from a provider. If you’re interested in the statistics and science, ask for the assessment’s Cronbach’s alpha score (a reliable statistical measurement). The higher the score the better. Anything less than a 0.6 and you may not be getting the information you think you’re getting. Many argue for a higher standard of 0.7, but anything above a 0.8 and you’re getting a highly valid report. Again, the higher the better.

If your assessment provider discounts reliability studies or fails to perform them at all, you may want to look elsewhere for assessment reporting.

Can you prove it?

Investigate your provider. How long have they been in business? Can they provide references? Have you checked those references? Does your provider conduct regular data norming, run Cronbach’s alpha, use structured equation modeling, sampling, and regularly perform data analysis to provide the highest level of accuracy? If not, you may want to pursue a different provider.

What is the provider’s commitment to both accuracy and fairness? Are they using robust adverse impact studies and validity measurements to insure the reliability of their reporting? Are they willing to defend their reports legally?

The EEOC and OFCCP both require periodic monitoring of assessment and employment practices with proof of the ongoing concentration on compliance from an assessment provider being required. Can your assessment provider produce this proof? If not, you may want to look to another provider that meets these federally mandated requirements.

If your current assessment provider dismisses things like validity and accuracy as measured by Cronbach’s alpha or ignores the federally mandated requirements to run adverse impact studies on a regular basis, it may be a good time to find one that won’t put your company at risk.

Image by nirots via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Certified as a professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning. Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881. And yes, TTI assessments meet the requirements mentioned above.