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By C.H.I. Talent Assessment, Mar 13 2017 10:20AM

In the summer of 2016 new Sat tests were implemented in schools across England. The Sats are tests taken by 11 year olds to track their academic progress. When the first results were returned, some local authorities had their percentages reaching the expected standard drop by almost 40%.

So, what does this have to do with the candidate assessment process? What it does, is highlights the problems that we have with expectations in assessment. To demonstrate this, I will use the example of the Sefton local authority. This region saw a drop from 81% reaching the previously expected standard to 56%. There are two possibilities of why this might have occurred-

A) Last year, 30% more children failed to reached the expected standard.

B) The expectations set for the test were incorrect - the goal posts were moved.

In 2014, Sefton saw an 80% reaching expected standards, in 2013 78%, and 2012 76%. Whilst not massive, there was an increase year on year for the past 4 years, suggesting that the area was gradually improving (a similar pattern could be seen on a national scale, with 80% reaching the expected level 4 and above in 2015, 78% in 2014, and 75% in 2013 and 2012). For that figure to then immediately drop to 56% would require a massive reversal in the trend. More likely is that the change in test was not followed by a change in expectations.

If Sefton’s results were taken in isolation, then they would be highly worrying. If there was no external reason for the dip in the number of students reaching expectations, then you could expect overhauls of the schools in the region. A change in approach to how the children were being taught, along with an investigation into the quality of teachers who are teaching in the region, would be expected. Fortunately, we have access to the national data as a comparison group, and can see that the standards set for the new tests were not reached by almost every region in the country, so Sefton need not panic just yet.

Consider your business, and how you’re currently assessing your job applicants. How can you check your standards? Unlike the Sats, typical job interviews and CV checks don’t have national statistics to compare your candidates’ results to, and many psychometric tools do not have the proper comparison groups. If the tool you're using doesn't have a comparison group that represents typical applicants to the role, you can't trust that the findings of the assessment are accurate. When you can’t trust the results of an assessment, there’s no point in doing it at all.


By C.H.I. Talent Assessment, Feb 16 2017 12:23PM

What would a workforce that was specifically selected to be honest, trustworthy, cooperative and dependable provide you with? Well for starters, they would save your business an enormous amount of money. A Euromonitor International (2013) report estimated that the annual cost of employee theft amounted to just over £1 billion. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics also maintains that the rate of employee theft is growing year on year. Just as alarming is the finding that workplace bullying costs the UK economy £18 billion annually (Acas, 2015). Such behaviours can broadly be characterised as counterproductive work behaviours – negative acts that harm the business and those around you. Acts such as frequent absenteeism and the leaking of sensitive information can also fall under this classification.

Is it possible to stop this behaviour from happening in your workplace?

The short, simple answer to this question is unfortunately no. However, all is not lost, as it is quite easy to greatly reduce the risk of such behaviours occurring. This can be done by integrating a reliable, albeit underused selection tool – the integrity test.

An integrity test is a form of psychometric assessment designed to assess candidate tendency towards these counterproductive work behaviours discussed above. A lack of integrity, i.e. a low score here, is associated with problems such as theft, violence, sabotage, poor discipline and absenteeism. There are two basic types of integrity test – overt and personality-based, with the latter proving much the superior. Overt assessments make no attempt to disguise the content and purpose of the test, instead focusing on candidates own direct experience of committing dishonest acts. Naturally, this is quite transparent and easy for the applicant to cheat on. Personality-based tests measure personality traits that have been linked to rule adherence such as conscientiousness, dependability, self-restraint and attitudes towards convention.

Do Integrity Tests Predict Job Performance?

Yes, a lot more than you might immediately think. As well as predicting deviant behaviour, integrity tests have also been shown to be valid predictors of overall job performance (Ones et al. 1993). The most recent meta-analysis by Schmidt et al. (2016) suggested that, statistically speaking, the single best approach to predicting job performance in the recruitment process was a combination of general mental ability testing and integrity testing – this proved more predictive of performance than any combination of interviews, years of experience, academic qualifications etc. This is a finding reached on the basis of decades of academic research.

Employers will always have to make hiring decisions; recruitment is a never ending process. But employers do have the power to choose which methods to use in making those decisions. Given the low cost of investment for integrity testing and general mental ability testing, the potential return on investment is huge. In purely financial terms, the benefits from increasing the validity of hiring methods can amount over time to literally millions of pounds. Equally, by using selection methods with low validity, an organization can lose millions in reduced production, wasted training and rehiring costs (Schmidt et al. 2016). In a competitive world, organizations focusing on poor predictors (e.g. years of experience or unstructured interviews) are unnecessarily creating a competitive disadvantage for themselves (Schmidt, 1993). By adopting more valid hiring procedures (such as integrity testing, personality testing and general mental ability), they could turn a competitive disadvantage into a competitive advantage.

To find out how you can incorporate integrity testing into your selection decisions, get in touch with us at: