I have worked in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, on and off, for almost 25 years. In the last 8 years I have specialized in the field of testing and assessment for talent selection and development. During that time I have worked with many different types of clients and have made many new friends along the way. As you can imagine, all of my new friends and colleagues have a vast array of experiences and opinions when it comes to utilizing competency based assessments in the employee selection process. However, I can sum their personalities and approaches into three main types. You have the I/O Disciple, the Pragmatist, and the Bargain Hunter.
These are my graduate trained partners that rely heavily on science and understand thoroughly the legal implications of cutting corners when setting up a selection system. They typically will not implement any assessment without a thorough job analysis and a stringent validation study. Sometimes, the die-hard’s, will not implement an assessment because they do not have the budget for a lengthy study. Even though, in some cases, they can rely on meta-analysis or transportability of validity (basically rely on other client’s studies). The Disciples do not have unlimited funds, but they understand that assessments should not just be plug ‘n play and customization comes with a cost.
Most of my client partners are Pragmatists and often blend with the I/O Disciples. They realize that minimizing legal risk is as important as maximizing assessment prediction. They have enough experience in the field to understand that a job analysis is a requirement and plan that into their budget when researching assessment partners. They are also comfortable with relying on the supporting validity evidence, in the right situations. There is a heavy reliance on ROI in order to justify the spend to their boss. Utilizing the right assessment and the right process will lead to lower turnover and/or safety incidents while improving productivity and efficiency. The Pragmatist usually sees that the assessment spend is quickly recuperated through meaningful ROI.
Well, as the name suggest, these folks are mostly driven by price. Often times, it seems as though there is a lack of awareness that all tests are not created equally. Some, like Select International’s, are better constructed, more accurate, and more reliable. Others can lack prediction, lead to adverse impact (different pass rates for protected groups) and overall have legal vulnerability. If all the Bargain Hunter can afford is a “Cheap” or “Free” test they are better off not using one at all. Legal claims can cost $ millions! Over the years I have turned away potential new clients because they want to cut corners and put themselves, and me, at legal risk. I mean, come on, to both protect yourself legally and ensure you’re getting the most from an assessment process, you need to do a job analysis!
Who are you?
Some of you will be surprised how neatly you fit into one of these personality types and others will find yourselves to be a blend. Regardless of where you fall, if you are looking to implement employee assessments for selection or development in your organization, a bird in the hand is not always worth two in the bush. That “Free-bird” may just put you at risk!