Looking for a job on the web is set to get more like using a dating site as reliable psychometrics are used to sift candidates… Keep an eye on this stuff as it’s a growing trend! And my thanks to Angus McDonald for drawing my intention to this ere.net article: www.bit.ly/x9QkBw
Do candidates who are better at predicting what employers are looking for – who have a well-developed ’ability to identify criteria’ – actually do better at assessment events? Yes… in fact research seems to show that this ability correlates more strongly with job performance than assessment centre scores themselves!
Read this BPS Research Digest article for the full story: What exactly are candidate selection measures measuring?
And a couple of my personal favourites: ‘When was the last time you cried?’ and ‘Do you prefer cats or dogs?’ In the first one you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Admit to blubbing on a regular basis and you’ll be labelled as wet and over-sensitive, and of course if you don’t cry at all you’re just a hard-nosed and uncaring sort of person. Cats or dogs? Well, it depends on which the interviewer prefers. Try and spot the pet hairs on his/her clothing and see if that provides a clue. Joking apart, I thought we had got over all this stuff – interview questions should relate directly, unambiguously and fairly to the job in question.
Picture credit: Tom Curtis/Freedigitalphotos.net
The new season of The Apprentice is now firmly established on BBC1. However wouldn’t it be interesting to put the ‘top entrepreneurs’ through a rigorous assessment process before the series, to see who has what it takes, and then compare the eventual winner with their assessment profile? In the meantime here’s how the candidates are selected
(c) BBC 2011
When I first went to University I studied Biology and I well remember being asked in some interview or other how you could breed a dog that could climb trees. Seriously. And in response I think I waffled on about the need for it to develop opposable thumbs or to grow claws like grappling hooks. I’m sure you get the idea. Anyhow this is a long winded way of introducing a great and funny advert about… cats with thumbs. Nothing to do with business, I just like it!
You think you’ve got problems! Google recently received 75,000 job applications in a single week. OK, they reckon to have 6000 vacancies coming up, but that’s still heck of a number. Why the recruitment drive? They’ve decided to take on both Facebook and Apple. Not sure who my money would be on, but I’m surprised they didn’t apply their considerable brain power to designing a better recruitment process. This one was surely crying out for rigorous ‘self-selection’, right at the start.
Check out this Bloomberg article.
Good question. What people usually mean when they ask if they work is: do tests predict anything useful about future work performance? The short answer is a resounding ‘yes’. As long as a test is used to measure an ability that is actually required of a particular job, then predictive validities are often in the 0.5-0.6 range. What this means is that at the top end of the scale, a test (the predictor) explains 36% ((0.6 x 0.6) x100) of the variance in the criterion – the criterion being something like a measure of productivity. By way of contrast other assessment methods such as the interview are often far less effective. A semi-structured interview would weigh in at 0.38 (14%) or thereabouts. And to get the whole thing in perspective, just in case you’re not impressed, in other fields such as the drug industry, predictive-type validities are often lower. For example, the association between Ibuprofen (the well-known anti-inflammatory) and pain reduction is in the region of 0.14 (2%) – see Robert Hogan’s article, details below.
Want to know more, here are some key references:
- Bertua, C., Anderson, N., and Salgado, J.F. (2005). The Predictive Validity of Cognitive Ability Tests: A UK Meta-Analysis. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78(3), 387-410.
- Hogan, R. (2005). In Defense of Personality Measurement: New Wine in Old Whiners. Human Performance, 18, 331-341.
- Hunter, J.E, & Hunter, R.F. (1984). Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 72-98.
- Schmidt, F.L, & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262-274.
High Fliers Research conduct an annual survey of UK graduate job prospects. This year, whilst vacancies are set to rise, recruiters report that one-third of this year’s positions will be filled by graduates who they already know – either through work placements, internships or sponsorships. In addition two-thirds of employers say that graduates with no work experience at all are very unlikely to get through the selection process, and thus have little or no chance of receiving a job offer.
This is sobering stuff and highlights the need for all undergraduates to seek out placements or acquire meaningful work experience. It also means that many will need to work on their interview technique, and to practice psychometric and situational judgement tests (see my SJT post). All of these assessment methods are becoming increasingly popular for selecting placement students and interns.
My attention was drawn to this Armstrong & Miller TV sketch a few days ago. If you have ever been interviewed (of course you have!), or attended an interview skills training course, this will make you chuckle:
Armstrong & Miller Show, Series 2, Episode 6, BBC1.