How Technology Helps Us Accurately and Reliably Assess Behavior

February 5, 2020 Nick Martin

Many softs skills are intrinsically linked to personality traits and behaviors, and those can be measured through technology-driven personality assessments.

Seventy-five percent of HR respondents to a recent SHRM survey who expressed difficulty hiring cited a lack of skilled applicants. Soft skills such as adaptability and critical thinking are the skills of the future, but those can be notoriously hard to measure. How many quality candidates have slipped through the cracks at organizations because of the difficulty in reliably assessing who has the soft skills and desired behaviors needed to succeed?

Luckily, technology provides a solution. Many softs skills are intrinsically linked to personality traits and behaviors, and those can be measured through technology-driven personality assessments.

Technology-driven personality assessments determine a user’s behavioral profile based on their responses to action-based questions. As candidates respond to the queries, the test adapts to match and predict their specific behavioral profiles. This gives employers all of the data they need to identify a candidate’s strongest behavioral traits, which can help predict a candidate’s ability to succeed in a particular role.

Here’s how you can leverage technology to match candidates with the right positions for their skills and behavioral profiles.

Adaptive Testing Builds a Behavioral Profile

Personality questionnaires that are responsive and adaptive allow employers to customize the traits most closely associated with the skills required for success on the job. This capability also allows for shorter assessments, decreasing the amount of time candidates need to spend completing the assessment and improving the overall candidate experience, while still ensuring validity. Where previously a 45-minute personality questionnaire may have been needed to get a valid score, now the assessment may take only 25 to 30 minutes to get results that are just as valid. 

Additionally, adaptive tests are less repetitive, resulting in a less tedious process for candidates. Adaptive testing that reacts to a candidate’s responses is more likely to result in an accurate and compelling behavioral profile without overworking or expecting too much of the candidate. This allows employers to match candidates to specific jobs based on the behaviors and skills that will be most successful in each position while still providing a seamless overall candidate experience.

These adaptive assessments result in robust behavioral profiles that employers can use to ensure candidates have the skills and behaviors their organization needs. 

‘Game’-Proof Assessments Better Predict Behavior

... prevent candidates from feeling compelled to select the “right” answer and allow them to provide answers that are reflective of their actual motivations, values and behaviors

Modern personality assessments rely on data science and psychometric techniques to ensure accurate predictions of on-the-job behavior and to mitigate socially desirable responses and other attempts to “game” the test. These assessments can help employers address a variety of human capital challenges, including identifying, promoting and developing high-performers.

Different types of modern personality assessment tools can help you by using multidimensional forced-choice assessments. Forced-choice item types require examinees to choose among two or more options. These can include picking one statement from a pair that is believed to be most representative of the examinee or, in the case of more than two options (e.g., three- or four-response options), picking the ones that are the most and the least representative. Forced-choice questions such as these prevent candidates from feeling compelled to select the “right” answer and allow them to provide answers that are reflective of their actual motivations, values and behaviors.

This methodology, which leverages artificial intelligence-enabled scoring models, lets employers create reliable, valid personality assessments modeled on the behaviors and skills needed for a particular job — and in a more efficient and effective manner.

To learn more about personality assessments, read our Whitepaper: Why Behavior at Work Matters

About the Author

Nick Martin

Dr. Nick Martin leads the Global Products & Analytics team, part of Aon’s Assessment Solutions Group and is responsible for the development of next generation assessment solutions and predictive analytics. He leads a team responsible for leveraging the latest science and practical findings to provide Aon’s diverse client base with assessment and analytical solutions that meet their hiring needs, helping to ensure their candidates’ experiences support their overall business mission and goals. Nick has extensive experience developing and implementing assessment-based hiring programs, as well as assessment tools including cognitive ability and personality tests, structured interviews, role-play-based simulations for positions spanning entry-level to C-suite executive roles, and 360-degree and high-potential leadership assessments. Prior to joining Aon, Nick worked as a Federal consultant for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and served as a program manager for the USA Hire selection program and has also worked as an independent consultant. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and a M.A. in Human Resource Management from The George Washington University. He has co-authored book chapters and numerous articles published in academic journals and the popular press and presented at numerous professional conferences. In addition, he is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Austin Area I-O Psychology Association, and the American Psychological Association.

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