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Getting Smart On Hiring Assessment Scoring: The Modified Compensatory Approach

February 20, 2020

I just opened up google and typed in the words “why is” and the third thing that came up for me was “why is statistics so hard?” Although I can’t answer that actual question, it got me thinking about some of the tougher subjects that we work hard to explain to our friends and colleagues in the selection field; one of those subjects is...scoring! 

Here is my attempt to explain one of our common scoring methods, the modified compensatory approach, and why it is appropriate. 

Different Approaches for Scoring Your Hiring Assessment

What is the modified compensatory approach? 

  • The modified compensatory approach is used to help establish minimally acceptable scores on our assessments.  
  • It is a combination of the “multiple hurdle approach” and the “compensatory approach.” 

What is the multiple hurdle approach? 

What is the compensatory approach? 

  • This approach involves administering all assessments to the candidate. Scores on these assessments are then combined to form an overall score. This allows some of the candidate’s strengths to “compensate” for their weaknesses.  

  • An example of this approach could be that the candidate completes a phone screen, an online assessment, and then an interview. Let’s say the candidate does poorly on the online assessment; however, they do exceedingly well in the interview. The compensatory approach would allow for the candidate's interview scores to compensate for their online assessment scores and potentially still be hired.  

You might also like: 10 Reasons to Keep Using Employee Assessments in 2020

Putting It All Together

The modified compensatory approach uses an overall composite score cutoff as well as sets minimums for each competency. Meaning you have to meet an overall standard on an assessment, but you also have to do minimally well on each competency.  


Benefits to the Modified Compensatory Approach

This approach allows an organization to set minimum standards on a competency as well as allow the candidate to compensate in some areas with their strengths. It also helps ensure that candidates can compensate for their week areas, but only to a point. Meaning, organizations are not required to hire someone that has low safety standards just because they have really high scores on problem solving. Basically this approach is the best of both scoring approach worlds! 

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Christa Bupp, PhD Christa Bupp, PhD is a Consultant based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She provides client support across many different industries with a primary focus on manufacturing. Christa is passionate about making clients happy through the implementation of various selection tools. She has expertise in the areas of research and development, assessment design, data analysis, and validation.