How To: Selecting Pre-Employment, Predictive Testing Vendors

We get so many calls from HR managers and executives who are confused by the myriad of pre-employment and developmental assessments on the market. There are literally thousands of assessments on the market and many of them look very similar, generating reports that can be one page or thirty in length. Some require accreditation and certification, while others can be purchased by anyone with access to a computer and a credit card. Couple that with consultants and assessment testing vendors who rep for a single publisher (like Profiles International, for example) and are completely tied to their offerings, and we can see where business people struggle to compare ‘apples to apples.’

I’m a strong believer in the concept of actually custom designing assessment protocols based on the position, company culture, “fit” with the team, management and communication styles, and most importantly, to fill gaps by identifying required skills and abilities. When you’re talking with a vendor’s sales rep, pay attention to how much time they spend learning about your organization, your goals and expectations, as well as the root cause for why you’re even considering adding or changing a testing protocol.

Whether you’re looking for a company to handle your pre-employment predictive testing needs or you’re tasked with developing a succession planning process that will include leadership, skills and abilities assessments, ask your prospective vendors the following:

1. Who are the assessment publishers with whom they do business? With whom do they have distributor agreements? If they are a distributor for only one publisher, those are the only assessments they’ll be able to offer. While their testing may fit some of your more basic requirements, there’s little possibility that the “one size fits all” mentality will be a solution to your more complex testing needs.

2. If they advertise “customized” testing, ask them to define and give you examples of how they would customize their to your specific needs. ‘Customized’ may mean that they can manipulate the appearance of the computer-generated test results, or that you can select from two or three of their available assessments.

3. Ask them about their expertise in predictive testing. While it’s critical that you retain assessment and psychometric experts with strong academic credentials, when there is analysis that is required beyond a computer-generated report, you will greatly benefit from a strong combination of education and real-world business experience. I/O psychologists are invaluable in the testing design, validation and analysis of psychometric testing, but often have limited, if any, experience in business outside their field. Find assessment consulting firms who combine both scientific psychometric knowledge and practical hands-on management expertise–the “been there, done that” experience in real-time, competitive business.

More questions later as well as valuable information on pitfalls that can derail your assessment program or significantly increase your legal exposure.