What Makes a Good Talent Assessment?

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Despite plenty of scientific evidence that shows that psychometric assessments are a better predictor of performance than most other talent assessment methods, there is still a lot of confusion, myths and misconceptions around the use of talent assessments to effectively identify and select talent. In our online training course How to Use Assessments for Talent Identification, globally renowned psychologist, author, and entrepreneur, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic helps us break down some of these myths and misconceptions. In the video below, Tomas gives an overview of how we might determine what makes for a good assessment.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, describes an assessment as two things:

1.     A standardised systematic process that is the same for everyone, that aims to capture some relevant signals or indicators that define what people are like

2.     A statistical attempt to predict how people will behave in the future and how they differ from others



What makes for a Good Assessment?

What makes for a good assessment is a question that is commonly asked by many HR professionals. Unlike deciding on what type of music to listen to or the best type of wine to purchase – identifying a suitable talent assessment is more than a simple question of preference. There are specific, rigorous and objective parameters that should be leveraged to determine the degree to which and an assessment can be helpful or not, as well as the utility and the quality of an assessment. Typically, the main parameter that we look for is accuracy.

Accuracy and Talent Assessments

Accuracy can be represented in many statistical ways or means but it almost always refers to two things. The first being, the degree to which scores on an assessment predict or correlate with the objective performance outcome.

If we are comparing the accuracy of two different assessments, that are designed to evaluate the same things, for example social skills or motivation and curiosity. If you put the same two groups of people through the two different assessments, the best assessment is the one that is able to predict the most relevant outcomes. If one assessment correlates more strongly with job performance in the future, it is fair to say that that assessment is a more of an accurate assessment.

Accuracy isn't the only criterion that we need to pay attention to, when determining what makes for a good assessment. Length of time, user experience and cost are three factors we should pay attention to, alongside some of the legal and ethical boundaries as to whether an assessment is viable.

However, accuracy is one of the most researched factors when it comes to assessment identification. It is also an area that can cause the most complications, this is primarily due to the fact that many vendors will report their accuracy results or findings in white-papers, company marketing leaflets or online channels. So, sometimes the trustworthiness or the credibility of the accuracy statistics that they report, varies a lot. In general it is considered that vendors that are able to publish evidence for their accuracy statistics in independent, scientific peer review journals, as notably more trustworthy. Unfortunately, self-proclamation of accuracy and performance statistics of an assessment hold little weight. Ideally having a vendor share the work that they’ve submitted to an independent panel of experts who scrutinise it and thus here you have the independent evidence for the relationship. In an ideal world companies would also test internally in order to determine what degree the assessment they’re looking at implementing, predicts the relevant outcomes.

So, accuracy is the most important thing. And again, this is something that can be estimated by looking at the correlation coefficient as well as by looking at the size of the sample and the relevance of the sample. Taking such measures significantly reduces room for subjectivity.

When people say “I like the Myers Briggs” “but I don't like Hogan's” or “I like the SHL product, but I don't like Pymetrics”. These types of discussions tend to be based on preferences which boil down to what we call face validity. This in essence is whether people like the experience, the results and whether the results make intuitive sense to them.

Ultimately, the most important indicator or signal for quality that we look for is:

to what degree do people who score highly, perform well in the future, and to what degree do the people who score poorly perform poorly in the future?

In other words, is there an association between test scores and relevant performance outcomes.

To learn more about how to leverage assessments for talent identification, take a look at Tomas’ Chamorro-Premuzic course How to use Assessments for Talent Identification on myHRfuture.

The objective of this course is to provide you with a solid foundation of what assessments are, when they should be used and to be able to understand the difference between traditional assessments and the new digital assessment tool . On completing this e-learning module you will become much more fluent in understanding how assessments work and how you can use assessments to identify high-performing talent in your own organisation. 

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Manpreet Randhawa is the Head of Digital Content for myHRfuture.com. In her previous role as the Change Management Lead for People Planning, Design & Analytics at Cisco Systems, she was responsible for defining and executing on the change management strategy to successfully implement and sustain the digital and cultural transformation across the enterprise. Manpreet is very passionate about change management and technology and how to use both to transform the employee experience and prepare companies for the Future of Work.