Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Want better prediction? Gather more data.

That's the bottom line from a study in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Oh & Berry looked at how adding personality ratings from peers and supervisors added incremental validity to self-ratings using a five-factor model measure. What were the results? Increases of 50-74% in operational validity across personality facets. They also looked at differential prediction of task and contextual performance (unfortunately those results weren't reported in the abstract). Bottom line? If you're using a personality assessment for promotions, strongly consider gathering data from co-workers.

Speaking of self-presentation, in the same issue Barrick et al. report the results of a meta-analysis of how self-presentation tactics (e.g., appearance, non-verbal behavior) impact interview ratings and later job performance. Results? "What you see in the interview may not be what you get on the job and...the unstructured interview is particularly impacted by these self-presentation tactics." An important reminder of how who the candidate seems to be impacts your assessment, and another reason to collect multiple sources of data.

There are a number of other great articles in this issue, such as:

How Major League Baseball CEO personalities impact important outcomes (like, um, winning).

How SJT and biodata measures add to the prediction of college student performance.

How personality scale validities change over time among a group of medical students.

Differences among letters of recommendation in academia between genders.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

HR: C-level or AAA?

Just when we thought we were C-level, Dogbert reminds us how old-school CEOs view HR.

p.s. I think I like CPO better than HCO.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Explain away

Of all the low-hanging fruit in recruitment and selection, perhaps none are easier to implement than explaining your process. It's shocking how few selection processes are fully (and coherently) explained, not just in terms of getting from point A to point B, but why the points exist in the first place.

Turns out explaining the process to candidates matters. A lot. And while we already knew that applicant perceptions were important, a recent meta-analysis by Truxillo, et al. published in the International Journal of Selection and Testing clarifies the impact that explanations have. Specifically, explanations were related to:

- Fairness perceptions (important in their own right)

- Perceptions of the hiring organization

- Test-taking motivation

- Performance on cognitive ability tests

Furthermore, fairness effects were greater when paired with personality tests rather than cognitive ability exams.

What does all this mean? It's pretty simple, really--communicate, communicate, communicate. Explain in clear terms to all applicants what the full selection process is, and why. Imagine something like this:

"Thank you for your interest in applying for the Blog Reader position. The selection process will consist of the following:

Step 1. You submit your application and work sample by December 5.

Step 2. Your application is reviewed to ensure you meet our minimum qualifications found on the job posting.

Step 3. If so, your work sample is scored by internal subject matter experts. It will be judged on relevance to the position, complexity, and contribution to the profession. The top scorers move on to Step 4.

Step 4. You are contacted by Human Resources to set up an interview. The interview will last approximately 2 hours and will take place at our San Jose campus. They will take place in mid-January.

Step 5. You interview with the hiring supervisor and 2-3 potential co-workers. You will be asked a series of questions designed to measure your knowledge of Blogs. You will also be asked to complete a writing sample which will be judged for style as well as content. Top performers in these steps will be asked for a final interview with the head of the Blogger Division.

Should you fail to proceed to any Step, you will be contacted and told why."

That wasn't so hard, was it?

For more about applicant perspectives in selection, check out the entire December '09 issue.

And while I'm on the subject of research, check out the latest issue of the International Journal of Testing for good stuff on test compromise, DIF, and P-O fit. Oh, and don't forget about the entire issue devoted to test adaptation.

Last but not least, Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation (PARE) has put out several things lately worth reading, check 'em out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What employers can learn from Twilight

Not since Harry Potter have I seen such obsessed fans. The buzz started several months ago in anticipation. And November 20th is almost here.

Don't know what happens on November 20th? Ask your daughter. Or granddaughter. Or, heck, pretty much any woman between the age of 16 and 30. That's the day that New Moon, the second installment in the wildly popular Twilight series, hits theaters. Why should employers care about this, other than anticipating that certain staff members will be out of the office that day? Read on.

Like Harry Potter, the Twilight books (written by Stephenie Meyer) are enormously popular, and the movies are too. Also like Harry Potter, fans range the demographic spectrum, although the most rapid fans seem to be women (not surprising given the protagonist and the love triangle she's in the middle of).

Most employers would kill to have the kind of brand devotion that Twilight fans have. If Twilight was an employer, they would be competing with Google for top talent. So what can we learn from this phenomenon that can help us with branding our organization?

1. People like good stories. Twilight was a phenomenon way before Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (the male lead actors). Whether you're in banking, IT, public utilities, or a flower shop, you have stories to tell about how your organization has impacted others--or how your employees have impacted each other. Are you telling these stories, or letting stories be told about you?

2. People still read. Related to #1, the Twilight phenomenon, like Harry Potter, began with the books. There's a lot of hype about video these days, but given something interesting, people have no problem spending time reading it. What does your recruitment material look like--is it entertaining? Educational? Would you read it even if you weren't interested in a job there?

3. People like fantasy. There's an awful lot of reality out there right now--the recession, H1N1, wars--and people like to take a mental break. Don't be afraid to break out of the mold and try telling a story that takes people away from their day-to-day lives.

4. People like contests and "sides". One of the biggest, possibly the biggest, dramas within the world of Twilight is the competition between the two main lead male characters. Fans identify themselves as being on "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob". This isn't something you see employers do very often, and it requires a bit of built-in loyalty, but it's something that can engage fans even more.

5. People like being fans. There's something primal about being part of a group of people who share the same interest. If you give people something to be a fan of, they'll enjoy connecting with others who share their passion. This is what the Facebook fan pages are all about. Google has 300k+ Facebook fans. Twilight has over 4 million.

6. You can brand almost anything. Branding is about more than your website, or your recruitment fliers. It can become part of everything your organization does, if it's strong enough. And it's more than just a logo, it's about the organization's philosophy and accomplishments. Look around and you can probably see Twilight branded on almost everything. I'm surprised they don't have Twilight adhesive bandages. Oh wait, they do.

As November 20th approaches, be prepared for a media onslaught about Twilight. Whether you're a fan or not, use it as an opportunity to think about how your organization could garner that kind of excitement. After all, that's what leads high potentials to want to apply.