Five Fun Facts About Faking
You only have one chance to make a first impression: that’s a mindset that affects our approach in meeting someone new and how candidates approach potential employers. Can this natural tendency to “fake good” on an assessment eliminate its ability to identify quality candidates? Understandably, this is a frequent concern of leaders considering adding assessments to their hiring process: arguably few companies want or need someone skilled in the art of lying.
You may have felt the urge to present yourself in the best possible way – hopefully while staying true to who you are when taking an assessment or completing a job application. Given these complex dynamics, are assessments useful hiring tools? In truth, applicant faking is not always a threat to the ability of an assessment to select quality hires. Here are five “fun” (well, if you love psychology or hiring great people!) facts about faking to consider first that apply to how we design assessments:
- Our assessments are validated on both current employees and applicants. The tests consistently identify people who are more likely to perform the job, fit the intended culture and brand, and stay for the ideal amount of time. This means if faking is happening – we are still able to predict performance.
- We rigorously monitor the frequency of each response both within and across organizations and positions. Applicants give responses across the entire continuum – even for items that may seem prone to faking. Example: candidates who strongly prefer routine and may not be well suited to a customer-facing role may strongly endorse an item indicating that “out of the ordinary customer requests cause problems.”
- Our assessments are designed to disguise what traits are measured. Our scoring is proprietary and we frequently measure several competencies and traits in the same assessment. This makes it difficult for applicants to determine a desired response. What’s more, each assessment contains items scored in different ways and it’s impossible to pass or receive a high score by responding “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” to all items. Unscored “distractor” items are included in each assessment as well, to not only obscure how the assessment is scored – but also allow us to include additional traits and information for hiring managers to use in the assessment result.
- Interestingly, evidence supports that if applicants can fake an assessment they have a high probability of making it on the job. If an applicant is applying for a leadership position in healthcare, they may understand that “out of the ordinary patient requests” are part of the job and an opportunity to provide patient-centered care. In this way the assessments verify that a candidate understands the key demands of the position.
- Perhaps, most importantly, validated assessments benefit applicants! This perspective, unfortunately, is often overlooked. Assessments guide people with the potential to thrive into the best roles for their values, personality, abilities, and potential. Further, the information gained from an assessment allows you to super-charge your interview process – asking targeted questions that accelerate the accuracy and efficiency of the process even further. And it doesn’t end there: our assessment results provide clear, easy-to-understand information for managers and leaders to coach and support new employees in their first days and weeks on the job. This is a critical tool to have in an economy with near-zero unemployment in many industries.
People will always emphasize their strengths in an interview, but you don’t have to worry about lying if you’re using the right assessment. In fact, an assessment that’s validated and reliable is the best way to cut through self-presentation, avoid bias, and understand a candidate’s full potential.
Building or updating your hiring process requires a lot of work. If you’re considering adding or changing how you use assessments, our eBook, “The What, Why, and When of Assessments” may help you in making the best choices.