Ten Considerations for Choosing the Right Assessment Provider

This guide will provide you with information on what is most important to consider when choosing an assessment provider and presents questions to ask potential vendors to help you make the best possible decision.

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1. Evaluate the Right Characteristics

Some assessment companies use generic benchmarks or off-the-shelf assessments that are generic to a position or industry for hiring.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless the assessments don’t correctly fit your position requirements. Hiring assessments must be relevant to the job for which they will be used and linked to specific competencies needed for that job. Even an assessment that measures what it says it does well, will serve no real benefit if it is too broad or isn’t measuring something important for the job within your organization. Thus, companies would be wise to determine whether the characteristics measured in the assessment are unequivocally related to the specific job in question. This may be something you can determine on your own, but you should also look for support from the vendor to help you make this determination.

2. Technically Sound Assessments

Hiring assessments must be reliable and valid to be legally defensible and useful for making good hiring decisions. If an assessment is reliable, it means that it consistently produces the same result for an individual. This is important because if the result changes for the same person every time he or she takes the assessment, it isn’t possible to know which result is true for the candidate. For an assessment to be valid, it means the assessment accurately measures what it intends to measure. All hiring assessments should be backed by a comprehensive and sound technical manual that provides statistical proof the tools are reliable, valid, and do not illegally discriminate, and under which circumstances it is appropriate and legal to use them. If the assessment provider does not have a technical manual for an assessment they are recommending and they are not going to conduct a validation study with your population, one should view the suitability of the assessment with extreme caution. Also keep in mind, the existence of a technical manual does not in and of itself guarantee quality. Firms should determine whether the group characteristics, sample size, relationship to performance, and other aspects of the information are appropriate.

3. Real-World Proof

Assessment providers should readily offer to prove the effectiveness of a hiring assessment through either a validation study or subsequent analysis of the impact of their assessments on meaningful business results. If the assessments have not been documented to have an important impact on another business or your own, you cannot be confident they will produce a meaningful ROI. Be upfront and ask potential assessment providers if they are willing to demonstrate an assessment’s effectiveness and how they will accomplish this.

4. Fair and Unbiased Assessments

Assessments should not include culturally biased language or result in any particular demographic group passing at a higher rate than another. If a particular age group, sex, or race passes the assessment at differential rates, it is fair to assume the assessment is somehow biased against that particular group by measuring something that is related to protected classes. Fairness is a claim that many assessment providers gloss over by stating that they meet EEOC guidelines. But this should be thoroughly questioned by companies who believe in a diverse workforce and want to have a reputation for fairness among job seekers in their communities. In every case, companies should carefully consider the potential consequences of using any assessment in the communities and countries in which they operate.

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