4 Experts Weigh In: The Most Common Misconceptions of Employee Assessments

Posted by  Alissa Parr, Ph.D.


When implementing assessments at a new company, we often hear many expectations and assumptions about the tests. Some of these are true, but a lot are false. Making decisions about an employee assessment based on untrue assumptions can lead you to choose a tool that isn’t as robust as it should be. Sometimes the decision-makers in an organization are the ones who have these negative views which can lead to more resistance to trusting assessment results.

So, we compiled together the four misconceptions we hear most often about assessments. Here they are:


5 Ways to Avoid Applicant Faking in Your Hiring Process

Posted by  Kate Van Bremen, Ph.D.

lies.jpgOne of the biggest concerns I hear from HR professionals regarding selection assessments is that the right answer is “obvious” and candidates can “game” the assessment. Here are five key recommendations to note regarding the concern of applicants potentially engaging in impression management, or faking, when completing assessments.

1) Use a selection process that includes multiple steps

We realize that candidates are inherently motivated to respond in a positive way to items in selection assessments, and may deliberately distort their responses in an attempt to “game” the system. In addition, we recognize that there is no perfect measure to identify 100% of these individuals who should be screened out. Keeping this in mind, at a system level, it’s important to use a selection process that includes multiple hurdles (e.g., pre-screen questions, assessments, interviews) to identify those undesirable candidates who should be screened out.


The 5 Biggest Myths About Pre-Employment Assessments

Posted by  Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D.

myth-factEmployee assessments are becoming more and more prevalent these days, which is certainly a good thing. More and more companies buying into assessments means that the overall quality of their workforces are increasing. There was even a cover article in TIME Magazine about the increased use of pre-employment assessments. The problem we’re noticing is that with assessment usage increasing, the number of myths about them is also increasing. I want to take a few minutes to set the record straight, so here are the 5 biggest myths we’re hearing about employee assessments:


4 Ways to Prevent Cheating on Employee Assessments

Posted by  Vicki Marlan

cheating-fakingA popular question that consultants at Select International are often asked by our clients is how we can prevent cheating or faking on assessments. So, before I provide some insight on the question, here’s a quiz to test your opinions on the issue.

What is the best way to prevent cheating and faking on assessments?

a. Provide candidates with different versions of an assessment.

b. Proctor the assessment.

c. Provide fake questions and catch candidates in a lie.

d. Tell candidates that if they do not answer questions truthfully, they will be disqualified from the hiring process.

e. All of the above


Detecting Fakers in Your Assessment Process

Posted by  Alli Besl

476406385Personality measures and assessments are commonly used for selection purposes in many organizations. However, there are some concerns surrounding their use. Specifically, many individuals believe that these types of assessments can be easily faked. In other words, applicants applying for a job may distort their responses to be more in line with how they believe the organization wants them to respond. Research has demonstrated that some applicants fake and faking is linked to decreases in test validity.


How Much Do Candidates Lie?

Posted by  Amie Lawrence, Ph.D.

What would you do in the following situation? You are given a page of 20 math items to complete and you will be paid $1 for every item that you answer correctly. At the end of 5 minutes, you score your own test, shred the paper, and tell the administrator how many you got right. Would you lie to the administrator about how many you answered correctly? If so, by how much?


5 Things about Applicant Faking in Assessment Tests That Everyone Should Know

Posted by  Amber Thomas

No one likes a liar, right? Dishonesty is not something that most people are comfortable with, because it implies that someone is trying to “pull one over on us” or “get away with something”. It follows, logically, that you wouldn’t want someone to “fake good” on pre-employment applications, their resumes, assessments, or in interviews. We want to know what we are going to get when we hire someone into the organization. We feel personally offended when someone turns out to be different than what they said they were (especially if we’re doing the hiring!). With all of this being said, it might surprise you to know that applicant faking is not always as bad as you may think. Here are five reasons that this may be the case:

  1. You may not have the perfect work environment. That’s right; there is a possibility that not every day of work is going to go smoothly for your new employee. Someone that can’t “fake” being satisfied with the job might turn into a disgruntled employee that just can’t play nice. In the world of I/O psychology we call this impression management. If your work environment isn’t perfect you may want someone that can
    roll with the punches and put a smile on even in less than desirable circumstances.
  2. You may want someone that knows what you want. Research has indicated that applicants that are “Open to Ideas” are more likely to be able to “fake” what you’re looking for (Raymark & Tafero, 2009). As a personality variable, Openness to Ideas is used to describe individuals that are curious, intelligent and likely to enjoy doing activities that provide a lot of mental effort. They have an awareness of what it takes to be successful on the job, and this in itself may lend to performance gains.
  3. The faker might just be motivated to do a good job. Many of us have taken the SAT or the GRE. I don’t know about you, but I studied intensely for those exams. The applicant that spends time figuring out the “right” answers might just be more motivated to get the job, or to make a good impression. Whether you’re asking them to complete a skills test, a personality assessment or a simulation exercise, the candidate that has gone out of their way to learn “what works” is going to be more motivated to meet your expectations.
  4. They motivate you to build a better mouse trap. We spend a lot of time at Select researching applicant faking and trying to find ways to make sure that our assessments and exercises are less susceptible to faking. At the same time, applicants have to be more motivated, able to determine what the employer is looking for, and just generally more willing to wear a smile (even if they’re not feeling perky).  They keep you on your toes, and vice versa!
  5. You can measure competencies in multiple ways. Perhaps you think you have a faker on your hands and you’re not quite sure what to do. Having a process that is designed to hit on critical competencies more than once (with a structured phone screen and interview process, for example) will increase the odds that you will find out the applicants true ability to perform on important competencies. Even within an assessment, you can include multiple measurement methods (different types of items) to help get the best measure of a person’s “true” abilities.   It might just be the case that you have the perfect candidate on your hands!

So the next time you’re wondering if an applicant is too good to be true, consider for a moment that maybe they are. But is that really so bad?


how to conduct interviews


Raymark, P. H., & Tafero, T. L. (2009). Individual Differences in the Ability to Fake on Personality Measures. Human Performance, 22(1), 86-103.


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