Thursday, March 26, 2009

Biodata in the news

I don't write about biodata inventories very often. Not because they don't work--quite the opposite--but because like personality inventories, they require special knowledge and resources to develop. They also don't tend to be in the news nearly as much as other types of tests like interviews and personality inventories. So I was pleased to see a recent article in the mainstream press about how the FBI uses biodata inventories as part of its hiring process for Special Agents.

For those of you unfamiliar with this type of test, they look at first glance like a job knowledge-type multiple choice exam. The example given in the article is as follows:

To what extent have you enjoyed being given a surprise party?
A. Not at all
B. To a slight extent
C. To a moderate extent
D. To a great extent
E. I have never been given a surprise party

Like a personality inventory, a common reaction to this type of question is sometimes "What does this have to do with hiring someone?" But herein lies the beauty--and complexity--of biodata inventories: each item on the exam has been statistically linked to job performance. So unlike most other types of tests, items are shown to predict performance before being given to applicants.

Other benefits? They are resistant to faking so are great candidates for Internet administration and they typically result in smaller group differences than cognitive tests.

So why don't more organizations use them? A few reasons:

1) They require large sample sizes to develop
2) They require a fair amount of statistical expertise
3) They look a little funky ("why are you asking about my surprise party??")

Those are substantial hurdles for many organizations. But given the rush to online assessment and screening, we may see their usage increase.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recruiting using Web 2.0

Just gave a presentation at the PTC-NC conference on recruiting using Web 2.0 technologies. Similar to what I gave at WRIPAC last year but added a few things, including micro blogging. I'll be giving a much longer presentation at the May WRIPAC meeting where I'll talk about recruiting and screening using the Internet.

Great conference, lots of things to think about, including HR scorecards, misperceptions of testing, and the possibility that unstructured interviews may have more validity than we thought! My slides are below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feedback can Rypple

Every once in a while I post about something that's not directly related to recruitment and selection. Particularly if it's about a cool new technology. And when that cool new technology is free, well heck...I can't help myself.

Which brings me to Rypple. Rypple is a website that allows anyone to request anonymous feedback from people they work with (or, frankly, anyone). It's similar to Checkster (which also has a free feedback system called "Talent Checkup" with limited functionality) but has a different focus. Whereas Checkster has tools for both employers and individuals, Rypple is focused on the individual. The interface is also a little different, a little more micro-bloggy.

Why do I think this is important? Because we know that positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage the same behavior, yet many employees feel under-appreciated and lack the information they need to improve their performance and gain insight. Supervisors and managers are often unavailable or distracted, forgetting how important feedback is. Tools like Rypple put the power (or responsibility) with the employee.

You can easily see how this could become part of not only performance management but things like leadership development and team success measurement.

One last note: they are in beta, so the site and services may change. You can read about some of the developments on their blog.

Hat tip

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New newsletter

There's a new newsletter in town. It's called EEO Insight, it's published by Biddle Consulting Group, and it focuses on EEO/AA issues, including employment testing.

Check out some the topics from the first issue (December '08):

The EEOC, OFCCP, and “Systemic Discrimination”: The Rules Have Changed

Where are the Courts Today? Proving and Defending Against an “Adverse Impact” Claim: OFCCP’S New Approach to Employer Selection Systems

Five Steps to Successful AAP Goal Development Diversifying Your Organization: How to Actually Make it Happen

Claims of Employment Test Validity: Who Can You Trust?

Good stuff. You can subscribe here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What's in a name?

Personnel...Human Resources...Human Capital...Workforce Management...Talent Management...

If there's one thing we like doing, it's changing our name.

But do we ever consider the unintended consequences? Scott Adams does in this strip.