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How to Choose a Robust Psychometric Assessment Provider

As more companies recognize the value of talent assessments for employee selection, the number of psychometric assessment providers has also risen. With so many options out there, selecting the right provider can be challenging.
 
Your psychometric assessment partner must provide tests that are objective and accurate. They must also provide a great experience for both candidates and employees.
 
Professional organizations such as the ITC, SIOP and the EFPA have developed guidelines for using for psychometric assessments. We’ve taken those guidelines and identified six key questions for evaluating the quality of a psychometric assessment tool and provider.
 
The answers to these questions can help you confidently choose an objective, fair and valuable psychometric assessment.

What Does This Psychometric Assessment Measure?

Before selecting a provider, determine which types of assessments you need. The main types of psychometric tests include aptitude tests, situational judgment tests, skills tests and personality questionnaires. The type of test you need depends on your company’s goals and the job-relevant selection criteria.
 
Cognitive ability tests add immense value to the application process. They can quickly and accurately assess abilities and are powerful predictors of long-term job success. Types of cognitive ability tests include verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, logical reasoning and numerical reasoning tests.
 
Situational judgment tests assess how a candidate is likely to behave in real-world job scenarios. They provide a good opportunity to give the candidate a preview of what the job entails.
 
Skills tests measure a job applicant’s ability to perform or learn specific job-related skills. Like situational judgment tests, skills tests can simulate on-the-job scenarios to give candidates a window into daily work tasks.
 
Personality assessments evaluate candidates’ job-relevant competencies, workstyles and likely behaviors. This data is used to determine their fit in both the organization and the job role. Personality profiling and assessing personality traits can help you identify candidates who are most aligned with company values.
 
Job-analysis data and a validated competency model can help determine which type of assessment is right for your needs. Which assessments will give you the insights you need to make the best possible talent decisions? When evaluating vendors, make sure they offer the right tests to meet your needs.

What Makes This Psychometric Assessment Objective?

Every candidate needs to be given a fair shot. An objective and standardized assessment helps ensure test results can’t be modified or misread. Assessments should reflect an objective evaluation of the candidate’s abilities.
 
A truly objective test is impervious to influence or modification by the person scoring the assessment. Objectivity comes into play during the assessment process in three main areas: test administration, test scoring and results interpretation.
 
  • Standardized administration: The assessment must be administered using standardized instructions and a regulated testing situation.
  • Standardized scoring: Scorers shouldn’t be able to manipulate a candidate’s score either manually or by altering the scoring algorithm.
  • Standardized interpretation: The same conclusions should always be drawn from any one specific result. Ideally, the score is compared against the results of a norm group.
 
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What Makes This Psychometric Test Reliable?

Reliability refers to how consistently a psychometric tool measures what it’s intended to measure. Does it measure the same aspect consistently, again and again? Are the results dependable? Participants should get the same or similar results if retested or given an alternate version of the test.
 
Ways of defining reliability include:
 
  • Retest reliability: Calculated by correlating the results from an initial application of the test with results from a later application.
  • Alternate-form reliability: Two versions of the same test are completed by the same people, and their scores are compared.
  • Internal consistency: Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) measures the correlations between different items of the assessment. It shows whether the items intended to measure the same general construct are resulting in similar scores.
 
A perfectly reliable test provides a correlation coefficient of 1.00. There are no perfectly reliable instruments, but you should only accept providers with reliability values over 0.7. For questionnaires, the ideal value lies between 0.75 and 0.85. For ability tests, it is between 0.8 and 0.9.
 
You can find information on a psychometric test’s reliability in its technical report. Check that to ensure the assessment meets guidelines for statistical reliability according to best practices.
 
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How Have You Established Validity?

Validity refers to how well the assessment measures what it’s intended to measure. It is the most important factor to consider when selecting a psychometric assessment test and provider.
 
Validity tells us to what degree of certainty we can use the assessment results to predict performance on the job. It ensures that what’s being measured relates to both job needs and requirements.
 
Types of validity include:
 

Criterion-related Validity

Criterion-related validity measures the correlation between test results and job performance. This type of validity ensures that only characteristics that predict performance on the job are being measured. Concurrent Validity Concurrent validity benchmarks the assessment against validated tests that measure the same constructs. It refers to the extent that those assessment results correspond with each other.
 

Predictive Validity

Predictive validity is the extent to which a score on a psychometric assessment predicts scores on some criterion measure. For example, you may look at the predictive validity of a cognitive test for job performance. This is calculated as the correlation between test scores and supervisor performance ratings.
 
High predictive validity allows you to draw conclusions about a candidate’s likely success based on their psychometric test scores.
 

Construct Validity

Construct validity is the extent to which the instrument measures what it sets out to measure. Researchers start with the results of tests proven to be valid indicators of the construct. They compare those results with the test results to determine construct validity. This process could include measures like external ratings, behavior measurements or experimental results.
 
The construct validation provides an overall picture of validity. A test should correlate higher with a test that measures approximately the same thing than with a test that doesn’t.
 

Face Validity

Face validity is the extent to which the assessment and its content appear to cover what is intended to be measured. It also refers to the extent to which it’s perceived to do so by test takers and stakeholders. Because it solidifies the connection between the assessment and the job, high face validity improves candidate experience.
 

Internal and External Validity

Internal validity refers to the degree of certainty that the test results are trustworthy and not the result of outside factors. External validity is heavily dependent on the testing situation being as realistic as possible and the representative nature of the tested sample. An instrument is externally valid if its results can be generalized across different situations.
 
You can find information on a psychometric test’s validity in its technical report. Verify that the assessment meets guidelines for statistical validity according to best practices. The technical report should provide evidence that the assessment predicts job performance. If it doesn’t, it isn’t a valuable assessment for your organization.
 
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Does This Assessment Treat People Fairly?

Everyone needs to be given a fair shot. Find a psychometric assessment that is unbiased and fair to all candidates. Each assessment needs to provide the same experience for each candidate, regardless of their background. Tests cannot discriminate against any group based on race, ethnicity, gender or age.
Check the technical report for evidence that the assessment doesn’t discriminate against any group of people. The technical report should also explain how the test avoids the potential to cause adverse impact.Assessment needs to be accessible to people with disabilities — even if this requires additional support.

What Is the Business Case for This Psychometric Assessment?

Psychometric tests require an investment of organizational resources. It takes time and money to acquire, license and deploy assessment systems, test materials, and scoring or interpretation tools.
 
Start by developing a thorough business case that projects the value the assessment will create for your organization.
 
On the cost side, make sure the pricing structure is clear and that you understand what’s included — and what’s not.

What Impact Will This Assessment Have on Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is the perception candidates have about your company based on their interactions during the recruitment and hiring process. A great candidate experience can make your organization a top recruit’s preferred employer rather than a fallback option.
 
Organizations can build a lasting competitive advantage by optimizing their assessment and selection processes for candidate experience. Even if they don’t receive a job offer, candidates who have positive experiences are likely to encourage others to apply.
 
The likelihood of referral drops dramatically when a candidate has a poor experience. And for many companies, the damage of a poor candidate experience isn’t confined to their employer brand. Candidates are also customers, and a subpar process can result in lost sales.
 
A good assessment process should boost your employer brand and provide a give and take between the candidate and your organization. Both you and the candidate should walk away with valuable insights and information.
 
Make sure the assessment experience is consistent with your employer brand and is not a barrier for good candidates.
 
For example, psychometric tests designed for smartphone delivery are more accessible for all candidates. Research shows they result in higher completion rates, especially among minority groups. Look for a virtual assessment center experience that is consistent across devices, from a desktop computer to a smartphone.
 
Identifying the right psychometric assessment provider is the first step to implementing better recruitment processes. A committed assessment partner can elevate your hiring processes to the next level.
 
Aon

Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's Assessment Solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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