Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Busting talent assessment myths - testing the test

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by International Coach Federation

The below post originally appeared on the pan blog:

The talent assessment industry has exploded over the last 10 years as paper and pencil tests have migrated online. With hundreds of test vendors and thousands of tests at your fingertips, selecting the right assessment tools for achieving the best possible results for your organization is no small feat. Let’s take a moment to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the testing tools available.

MYTH: XYZ Test Works for Everything

Once you’ve determined what the goals of your assessment program are, it’s no easy task unearthing which testing tools are right for the job. Although many assessment tools can be very effectively leveraged across a number of applications, not every test works for every purpose. There are 100’s of respected test publishers who have developed 1000’s of scientifically sound instruments, giving you lots of options to find the exact tools suited for your program’s unique goals. From skills tests to personality tests, cognitive tests, job-specific tools and more, the options are limitless when it comes to selecting a tool that addresses exactly what you’re looking to accomplish.

Since pan is an assessment marketplace working with a diverse cross-section of the most respected test publishers on the market today, we have vast exposure to how the most popular testing tools are being leveraged. This unique setup equips us with the ability to provide neutral advice about which assessment tools would suit your unique program best. In many cases, we find that it’s a complementary mix of tests from different sources that facilitates the most impactful assessment programs. Another great source for unbiased advice on choosing the right assessments is Charles Handler’s Rocket-Hire Buyer’s Guide to Screening and Assessment Systems.

MYTH: Online Assessment Options are too Restrictive and Narrow
This myth might have you scratching your head after just reading about the wealth of assessment tools available. When we encounter this feedback, it typically comes from organizations that are talking with or utilizing a particular assessment publisher. Working with a single assessment vendor can present limitations, particularly if you’d like to consider using a battery of tests to accomplish your assessment program goals. Some questions to ask yourself when selecting an assessment vendor:

1.Does this vendor offer the best of everything I need to accomplish my assessment goals, or would it be beneficial to cherry pick assessment tools from multiple sources?
2.Does my organization have any custom, proprietary tests, forms or surveys we’d like to incorporate in an assessment program?
3.What level of administration is involved, and how are results reported?
4.Will these assessment results integrate with my ATS or other technology systems?

If these questions raise any red flags for you, the team at pan is happy to provide friendly advice on how to come up with a custom solution that addresses your needs in each of these key areas.

MYTH: Developing a Custom Assessment is More Effective Than Using an Off-the-shelf Tool
To get to the bottom of this myth, it’s important to have a deep understanding of your assessment program’s distinct purposes and goals. pan has found that for the vast majority of hiring and development initiatives, there are a wide range of off-the-shelf assessment tools that can be deployed immediately and leveraged very successfully. There’s no doubt that custom assessments have value in unique or highly proprietary scenarios, but take a lot of time and money to develop, validate and refine.

Before pursuing the development of such a tool, consult with an unbiased talent measurement expert source such as pan. Our technology platform hosts 1000’s of custom assessments for world-class public, private and government organizations, and we are happy to offer our insights on when and how to utilize such tests either solely or in conjunction with off-the-shelf tools.

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