Sign up for our Monthly Highlights newsletter
Don’t miss the roundup of our newest and most distinctive insights
December 19, 2021 | Klein Consultants
The possibilities of spotting a candidate who will turn out to be a good employee are balanced against the dangers of spotting someone who will not work out as planned in the recruitment process. To control the risks connected with hiring decisions, recruiters employ a number of tools and techniques. Recruiters are more likely than not to find applicants who do well in the position if risks are well controlled, however even under ideal conditions, this process is far from perfect.
Because it’s so difficult to analyze candidates and determine whether they have the skills, personality traits, and motivations required for a given position, it’s simple to make mistakes. When you add in factors like the candidate’s willful deceit, the difficulties for recruiters only get worse. If recruiters get it wrong, they risk incurring expenditures such as the need to quickly replace personnel and the possibility for organizational disruption caused by poorly-fitting employees. As a result of this recruitment problem, there is now over a century of empirical evidence on the efficacy of various techniques that can be utilized in the recruitment process.
This data is based on the link between pre-employment assessments given during the recruitment process and how they perform in the role for which they were hired. As a result, this evidence should be fed back into the hiring process, advising recruiters on which tools will allow them to manage risk the most efficiently. Validity in the context of recruiting refers to the suitability of a certain evaluation tool for a specific purpose. Recruiters can more effectively identify individuals who are likely to perform well in the position with tools that have a greater predictive validity. As a result, they contribute significantly to risk management that is an unavoidable element of every recruiting choice. The ability of an evaluation tool to predict job performance with a high degree of accuracy is referred to as validity. Knowing this, assessment scores can be used to identify candidates who are most likely to perform well on the job.
Consider the graphs below, which show the correlation between the results of two distinct tests and job performance for 30 candidates. The horizontal green line depicts the optimum level of job performance, indicating that we wish to hire people whose performance will exceed the green line. It’s tough to know what score to use to identify good workers in the diagram on the left, which demonstrates a weak correlation between evaluation scores and job performance – or low validity.
Regardless of how high you set your assessment’s pass mark or cut score (shown on the horizontal axis), you will find some people who perform below expectations. Low pass rates, on the other hand, will reveal certain strong performers. The right-hand graphic depicts a stronger link between evaluation results and later work performance. This makes determining a pass mark that identifies the point at which the majority of candidates will perform at the required level considerably easier.
The essential point is that having high validity reduces the risk associated with recruitment decisions because assessment scores more correctly anticipate performance. It’s worth noting that performance is influenced by a variety of factors, and there is no absolute measure or test that can predict job success with 100 percent certainty (as far as we know).
You can, however, use a variety of relevant and valid assessments to greatly increase the chances of predicting likely performance and reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person. In practice, recruiters have no way of knowing how a person would perform in a position. This necessitates the use of valid assessment instruments and the use of their results correctly at the time of employment.
So, we understand the principles of validity and why they are important, but which assessment instruments are the most reliable in terms of forecasting prospective job performance? The utilization of various evaluation instruments and methodologies has been extensively researched. This study has recently been synthesized to allow the comparison of the efficacy of various techniques. Analysis, a statistical approach that brings together the data, is one of the most common ways this has been accomplished. Correlation coefficients are used to display the results. A score of 1 denotes that the assessment method accurately predicts performance. The higher the correlation coefficient, the more accurate the evaluation system is at predicting performance.
Researchers recently published a report summarizing the effectiveness of 31 different evaluation methods for predicting work performance and 16 for predicting success in job-related training. The most important finding of this study was that tests of general mental ability (GMA) have the best validity of any selection method. They were also thought to be the best predictor of job-related training performance. The considerable research that supports the usage of GMA gives these findings a high level of confidence.
For much of the history of research into selection methods, the key outcome has been job performance or productivity. Employers have increasingly expressed interest in other sectors that are not usually well understood. Employee engagement has become a key area of interest for many employers. Employees who are engaged are energized by their work and dedicated to the company. Engagement is linked to a variety of beneficial workplace behaviors as well as lower turnover.
Gallup has been studying employee engagement in the United States and has shown that just approximately one-third of the workforce is satisfied with their jobs. This figure is substantially lower on a global scale. Disengaged employees are not only likely to have poorer performance but they can also have a negative effect on colleagues, meaning productivity issues can spread beyond the individual hire. Hence the reason why using pre-employment assessments is a better method of predictive validity when trying to gauge how candidates will perform in a given role.