How To Assess Employment Assessments

►How To Assess Employment Assessments◄

(Assessment science is a fairly complex subject, with this article describing some of it in summary form.  Please call or email us with questions on the topic of employment assessments and we will be pleased to answer them.)



Optimized Hiring and Promotion is the candidate evaluation method being used by the increasingly successful enterprises that we work with.  With this methodology, determining accurately predictive Job Match on the parts of external and internal candidates is simple.  This method is founded upon reliable and valid assessment results followed by structured interviews resulting from assessment responses, all at lower cost and more rapidly than past and recent hiring methods.  Optimized Hiring and Promotion inexpensively utilizes non-obvious statistical correlations between how candidates for employment or promotion respond to valid assessment questions and scoring algorithms, in comparison to your enterprise’s job specifics and required on-the-job performance levels.

The outdated methodology of evaluating only technical qualifications, educational credentials, references, and through in-person interviews has been losing its effectiveness for hiring, promoting and retaining people for almost 12 years.  Our client and market research indicate that outdated methodology’s current success rate at less than 23%.

Unsurprisingly, in the majority of cases where the outdated methodology is still used, labor costs, G&A and overhead have increased as Job Match has decreased.


Over 450 employment assessments are now available on a global basis, most of which have few or no users.  Their early history dates to the theories of Empedocles, a Greek Philosopher, in 440 BC.   Their modern development in terms of only personality traits was developed by Carl G. Jung, William M. Marston and Walter V. Clark between 1921 and 1940 with what resulted in the DiSC Personality Profile.

There will always be some level of inaccuracy in the prediction of almost any future behavior BUT the people who do better on tests and in structured interviews resulting from tests also do better on the job in well over 90% of our researched cases.  Reliable and valid assessments are very substantially more accurate predictors of capability and Job Match than unstructured interviews, particularly as it relates to interviews occurring by committees and what are sometimes referred to as “oral boards”.

Without question, the most legally challenged and expensive employee selection tool is the unstructured interview.


Self-report personality assessments are subject to impression management on the part of the test taker, as are interviews. Most candidates tend to present themselves in a positive light even if false, and we expect them to do that. As a result, it is very important to know when they do that and the degree to which they do that, a very difficult task for nearly all interviewers and hiring managers.  Most candidates do a poor job of faking assessment results with about 30% of them faking in the wrong direction.  With the best employment assessments, you can know when that has occurred, but while utilizing only candidate interviews you will never know until after the employee is hired or promoted.

Unfortunately, faking any portion of an interview or assessment makes the entire interview or assessment non-useful for employment purposes because you cannot know with certainty what interview and/or assessment responses were faked.

In simple terms, any assessment that is fixed form with only 4 possible brief answers to each question is an ipsative personality assessment, easily faked and not useful for employment decisions.  For most of those assessments, candidates may easily view an answer key on the web before completing the assessment making the assessment results fundamentally invalid and non-predictive.

Only advanced, defensible and useful assessments tell you when assessment responses have been faked, usually with what is referred to either as a lie scale or distortion scale.  Unfortunately, over 95% of assessments include no such distortion scale.


There are very simple ways to know whether any particular assessment is effective and reliable within your company, and in all likelihood only about 6% of them will be based upon the answers you receive from vendors to the following questions.  These are the questions you will need the answers to in order to be successful with your enterprise hiring and promotion decisions, and we recommend that you print this list for your next conversation with any assessment vendors:

  • What is the most recent date of the assessment’s validation and reliability documentation?
  • What were the scores resulting from that research?
  • Are those scores cumulative or for each assessment scale?
  • Where was the assessment developed and when?
  • How many assessment reports are available?
  • What is the total cost of each assessment and are there volume purchase discounts?
  • Are we charged for anything other than the candidate’s original completion of the assessment?
  • Does the assessment provide numerical assessment scale scores on a STEN basis, or only labels and verbal descriptions resulting from assessment results?
  • In what foreign languages is the assessment and its reports available?
  • How many assessment scales are included within the assessment and what are their names?
  • Is the assessment fixed form or adaptive in terms of user interface?
  • Does the assessment have a distortion scale or a lie scale?
  • Does the assessment measure capabilities or personalities?
  • Can we reliably customize reporting against our company’s specific needs for Job Match purposes?
  • Is the assessment available by internet and also by paper and pencil?
  • Are assessment results immediately available by internet to us?
  • Will we receive a full assessment center interface with all assessment results, security groups and customized business group delineation?
  • Are there any charges for additional assessment reports, interpretation assistance, or technical support?
  • How quickly do you respond to telephone calls and emails from your clients?
  • If internet-based, is on-line assessment access by candidates and us available 100% of the time?
  • Is there a training cost or certification cost?
  • May we easily interpret all assessment results, or will we need assistance from you as the assessment provider?
  • Can the assessment be customized for my company, position, geographic location, department, manager, country, division, or any combination of those factors?
  • When was the assessment last updated?

All of the above questions and their answers are crucial to ensure that your candidate evaluation methodology is highly effective for Job Match, human capital capability and financial results growth as well as enterprise mission success.



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