Are Single Focus Assessment Strategies Giving you the Full Candidate Picture?

By Posted in - Recruiting on May 14th, 2015 4 Comments

Single Focus Personality Assessments

The use of personality tests for employee selection has surged in recent years. Josh Bersin of Deloitte estimates that 60% – 70% of companies currently use personality tests for selection. This is up considerably from survey results of about 40% usage five years ago. The rise in popularity stems in part from the assumed economic benefits of improved selection as well as the historical research indicating such tests lack adverse impact on protected groups. There is face validity component as well since recruiters and HR professionals can logically see connections between personality constructs and job performance.

However, it is interesting to note that such professionals do not cite or even seem to be aware of evidence supporting the predictive validity of personality tests. Traditionally, personality tests were viewed by industrial psychologist as having very modest validity coefficients in comparison to other more powerful selection tools. However, the emergence of “Big Five” personality tests designed specifically for employee selection and recent research results have increased optimism for their value. These personality tests measure specific constructs that cluster into five primary factors:

  • Openness to Experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Emotional Stability

Even with these improvements in personality testing, however, the relative predictive power of such tests are still relatively low with validity coefficients in the range of .20 to .25. At this level of validity, such tests would only explain about 6% of the difference in job performance. It is clear that the single use of such assessments is leaving unexplained about 94% of the differences in job performance. Organizations are not getting a very complete picture of their candidates.

Getting the Full Picture

Personality tests do not provide critical information that should be considered in a selection decision. Organizations need to have a full understanding of a candidate’s background, career preferences, experience, competencies, and innate abilities. That is not to say personality assessments should not be used. A better strategy is to use personality tests in conjunction with other selection and assessment methods. It has been demonstrated through research that personality tests can add incremental validity to the significantly more powerful cognitive ability tests. Combining personality tests with cognitive testing increases predictive power while diminishing the adverse impact associated with cognitive tests alone.

Additional incremental validity and further mitigation of risks associated with cognitive tests are achieved by adding norm based job experience inventories. Behavioral interviewing is another very powerful selection method that should be added to an organization’s overall selection strategy. The trick is knowing when and how to use these methods and how to integrate the data to make an accurate overall prediction of job success.

The OMNI Matching Process

In response to the limitations of a single focus assessment strategy and the need to capture a full understanding of a candidate, OMNI has developed a unique matching approach to employee selection. This approach maximizes predictive validity, utilizes research based selection methods, and combines data in a scientific manner to generate a match index that summarizes the likelihood of job success.

The OMNI matching process includes a well validated personality “Big 5” assessment but has a much broader measurement focus that includes cognitive ability, experience, background, competencies, and preferences and motivations. The OMNI personality assessments are well integrated into a total selection solution that includes other assessment components, behavioral (blended) interviewing, screening steps, and selection workflow process controls. Recruiters are able to select and combine these components in creating a custom selection process that is appropriate for any specific job.

While OMNI assessments include extensive norms for various job types as one comparison point, the match comparison point is a comprehensive job requirement profile created by subject matter experts. The job requirement profile establishes the relative importance of each measure in the talent profile for job success. The talent profile is then compared systematically to the job requirement profile to determine the degree of match. Depending on the nature of the job, the matching process can include the following components:

  • Background
  • Career Preferences and Motivations
  • Competencies
  • Technical Skills
  • Experience
  • Personality
  • Mental Ability

Overall Match is expressed as a percentage that reflects the degree of job match and is based on the total integrated talent profile for the candidate.

Contact OMNIview to find out more about how to improve your recruitment and selection processes and implement a longer term strategy for improving candidate understanding, selection efficiency, and predictive accuracy.

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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