Employee assessments are a wonderful way to determine job skills and characteristics of current and future employees. These tests are created to select better workers and improve overall performance. Like with any official process, there are limitations and legal issues involved that must be taken into account.
This guide provides important assessment policies and their applications. Together, they offer a comprehensive outline for directing an effective personnel assessment program.
1. Offer assessment tools that cater to the target population.
All employee assessments are oriented towards different characteristics and groups of people. Ensure that your measurements are valid by choosing an assessment that is meant for the group to which the candidate belongs. The test manual should specify the groups that the test pertains to. The normed group should be similar to the group you are testing for the most appropriate match. When ensuring the similarities between your groups and your chosen assessments, take cultural backgrounds, language barriers, and reading abilities into consideration.
2. Use assessments that provide a variety of information about candidates.
Assessments cannot determine everything about a candidate. Most have a strength in one or two specific characteristics and provide little information for the others. In order to get the most information you can about a candidate, familiarize yourself with several different tests, so that every characteristic is measured in detail.
3. Work with assessment instruments that are unbiased toward all groups of people.
Employment decisions should be made on a one hundred percent unbiased basis, not only to avoid illegal discrimination, but also to achieve the best match for the job. All the employee assessments you administer, as well as their accompanied tools, should be completely unbiased. Check the test manual for the fairness evidence provided to determine the fairest test to choose.
4. Deliver assessments only with an intended purpose.
Employee assessment results can be incorrect if the test is administered improperly. This is often the case if you lack a full understanding of what you are trying to measure. A clear decision means you’ll choose the right test, which makes for more accurate results.
5. Be sure assessment instruments and procedures are reliable.
If something is reliable, it will yield the same results every time. This includes employee assessments. A candidate should be able to achieve the same results, regardless of the amount of times the test is taken. Test manuals most often provide statistics to measure and ensure the reliability of the test. A higher reliability coefficient means a more accurate assessment.
6. Only use assessments that provide understandable and comprehensive documentation.
Assessment administration and completion instructions should be easily understandable. Ensure the documentation provided by the publisher meets these requirements. Documentation should include scoring and interpretation guidelines, explanation of the characteristics, instructions for using instruments, what groups the test is oriented for, and test norms. Employee assessments should also include evidence of reliability, accuracy, and fairness.
7. Ensure assessment instruments and procedures are valid for the specific purpose for which they are being used.
When it comes to assessments, validity is related to two things: what characteristic is being measured, and how accurately the instrument measures the characteristic. For example, if a leadership assessment tests a candidate’s leadership skills and you try to assume the candidate’s teamwork skills from only receiving the leadership skills results, that would undermine the validity of the assessment. An assessment is only valid if it is created for the characteristic you are trying to measure.
8. Ensure that scores are accurately and properly interpreted by a trained administration staff.
In order to get the most accurate decision making, test results must be interpreted properly. Employee assessments provide results that determine individually specific descriptions, such as performance or characteristics, which require being presented in an unbiased, appropriate way. Be sure that your interpretations are correct—you should be able to defend your description with plenty of evidence if you were asked. Test manuals should provide guidelines for how to interpret results properly. Also, make sure your staff is properly trained to administer the assessments. Administering the test is an important aspect of the testing process—incorrect administration could mean inaccurate results. Provide your administrators with plenty of time to learn and perfect the process before allowing them to administer to your test takers.
9. Provide testing conditions that are suitable for all test takers, including those with disabilities.
To get the most out of your employee assessment process, make sure your test takers are not uncomfortable or distracted. Poor lighting, distracting noises, and impaired or lacking materials can all affect the test takers’ ability to focus and test accurately. Be sure to provide an adequate testing environment for your test takers. Also, take into consideration any candidates that may struggle with the assessment process due to a disability.
Everyone should be given an equal chance to successfully complete assessments. According to the ADA, some ways to make assessments accessible for everyone include providing physical accessibility to the test site, providing qualified assistance to the test taker, or modifying assessment materials without altering results. Familiarize yourself with methods to make your tests accessible to all—such as allowing more time to complete the test or providing a reader. If no solution can be reached without affecting the validity of the results, consider a substitute testing strategy.
10. Preserve the confidentiality and security of all assessment results.
Assessment results are personal information, and employers must respect the confidentiality of the test takers. Results should only be shared among individuals that need the information—those involved in the hiring process, or professionals trained to interpret the results. Assessment results, as well as other personal information, should not be released to outside organizations or individuals without the test taker’s consent.
Security of assessment materials should be in place before and after the completion of an assessment. Without security, test takers may be able to access the questions beforehand, causing their scores to be invalid. Test content should also be protected by having test developers create forms of the test periodically. Keeping assessment materials in a locked environment and limiting employee access are effective forms of assessment security.
Want more guidance? Speak to an Assessment Expert.