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ATP Innovations in Testing Conference: Trends in Employee Assessment Simulations

February 21, 2012

On Monday, February 28th I will be presenting at the ATP Innovations in Testing Conference in Palm Springs, CA.  I will be talking about two interactive simulations that we developed at Select to measure a person’s ability to multitask effectively.  One of the simulations is more relevant for manufacturing environments while the other is designed for call centers.  Technology is making it easier for us as test developers to come up with creative, interactive solutions to address specific assessment issues and multitasking lends itself to such an approach. 

Especially in the pre-employment testing arena test developers face a number of goals.   The market wants assessments that are fast, unbiased, accurate and if possible engaging to the user.  The first three can be accomplished relatively well from more traditional means.  Personality tests, for instance, do a pretty good job in terms of providing relatively accurate, unbiased information that can be obtained very quickly.  It’s hard to beat personality tests in terms of the amount of information you can gather in a short period of time.  There are limitations, though.  The key shortcoming with personality tests is that we are taking the person’s self-evaluation of themselves at face value.  Let’s face it, some people are better than others at self-insight.   Then you have the impression management component.  So, assuming that I do know myself pretty well, I might not be willing to tell you about my weaknesses it in a hiring environment, whether that be in a personality test or an interview.   

The other challenge with tests like personality inventories relates to the perceived fairness and engagement of the user.   Most applicants don’t like taking personality tests because they don’t see their relevance. That’s where simulations have a clear advantage.  They are interactive and engaging.  In my presentation I show results from three studies looking at the performance of the multitasking simulations.   What we found was that the simulations did, in fact, predict performance well and in all three cases did better than personality inventories and some other measures.  In the call center environment the multitasking simulation was by far the best predictor of hard criteria such as call handling time.  In the manufacturing environment, the simulation added significantly to the prediction of job performance ratings as well as accidents and workers’ compensation claims.  These simulations are also quick, taking only about 5 minutes to complete.  They are much more engaging and received well by candidates.   At Select we continue to look for creative ways to use technology to push the envelope on validity and perceived fairness.  

Interested in manufacturing? Check out our whitepaper on employee assessment in the manufacturing sector.

Interested in call centers? Check out our whitepaper on pre employment assessment tests in the call center arena.

Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D. Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D. was the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Select International, which was acquired by PSI. For more than 20 years, he was a driving force when it comes to designing, evaluating and integrating selection tools into systems that meet the specific needs of Global 2000 organizations. He is the co-author of the business best-selling book, Hiring Great People.