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Top Technology Trends at the Society of I/O Psychology Conference: Assessment Delivery

April 19, 2011
I just returned from our profession’s annual conference, the Society for Industrial/Organization Psychology (SIOP) in Chicago. My colleagues and I presented research and attended a variety of sessions around selection and assessment topics. While there are many topics I could discuss, one theme seemed to appear over and over again– Technology.

When I first started at Select 11 years ago, we were concerned about the availability of computers at a client facility and candidates’ ability to use a mouse and navigate through the assessment. Now, we are concerned about making sure we can deliver our assessments on all of the devices available to candidates. The presentations this year really made me reflect back on how far we have come and how technology is changing selection moving forward.
SIOP Select International

Over the next three blogs, I will touch on how technology is changing the delivery method of our assessments, the content and type of items used to measure important competencies. The last blog will talk about how technology is changing the nature of the workforce and the roles and types of people that organizations are hiring.

Assessment Delivery

Just a few years ago, the research was focused on whether or not computer delivered assessments were equivalent to paper and pencil. Some psychologists were hesitant to embrace the new technology as an acceptable method of assessment delivery. Now, it is assumed that an assessment is administered on a computer and delivered via the Internet. The qualms about equivalence are gone and the focus has turned to delivery method and candidate behavior. Computers are no longer difficult to for companies to obtain or for candidates to find if they want to apply for a job.

In recent years, the research has examined issues with Unproctored Internet Testing (UIT) and how to mitigate negative candidate behavior (cheating and faking). This research is still alive and well and even more important, given the latest technology of smart phones and tablets. UIT is here to stay and now may be even more prevalent given the ease at which candidates can access the Internet.

When Unproctored Internet Testing (UIT) gained popularity several years ago as a common method for screening candidates, a major concern was about diversity. The research indicated that racial minorities had less access to the World Wide Web and this disparity might contribute to adverse impact and reduced diversity in the workforce. Surprisingly, the current research suggests that cell phones and smart phones are used more by racial minorities than Whites as their primary form of Internet access. Companies are now faced with the task of figuring out how to build and design screening tools that can be completed on these devices. . In some respects, this may mean taking some steps backward.  That is minimizing the data load created by video graphics, for instance, to combat buffering and to ensure each candidate has the same experience.

In order to maintain a competitive advantage and gain access to candidates, we must leverage the newest technology. Regardless of how we feel about the new devices, the technology is advancing and it is up to us as Industrial/Organizational psychologists to continue to understand how to use it while maintaining the integrity, reliability and validity of our assessment tools.
The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. Amie Lawrence, Ph.D. is the Manager of Product Development at PSI. She is an expert in the design, development and validation of psychological assessment tools. An integral member of PSI since 2000, Amie has led the development of numerous competency-based assessments, including online in-baskets, job simulations and motivational fit instruments.