Theory based cognitive tests

Theory based tests are best for your business

From the end of the 20th Century and particularly in the early 21st Century a trend has developed so that cognitive ability tests are increasingly based on sound theoretical models. The benefits of basing ability tests on theoretical models are that they:

  • Incorporate the most up-to-date research about how the brain functions and how learning occurs
  • Allow for interpretation of results based on the theory
  • Guide translation of results into practical outcomes.

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Personality can influence performance on cognitive tests

Personality and Cognition

Personality and cognitive ability tests have long been used in job selection.  They have both been shown to be important predictors of job performance but are considered separate tests which measure different aspects of job suitability.

An interesting set of studies shows that they may have more in common than previously thought.  It has been shown that apsects of personality may actually influence performance on cognitive ability tests!

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Sleep and the workplace: the latest trends and research

The work culture

With Australians working longer hours than ever before and working the longest hours of all countries in the developed world, businesses are finding that they need to provide a greater number of more innovative ‘perks’ to reward their employees’ hard work, to keep their employees’ productive and to ensure they attract and retain the best workers in a competitive marketplace.

Some common examples of perks used by leading organisations, according to Human Capital Magazine’s Perky Perks article include additional maternity/paternity or ‘personal health’ leave, referral bonuses and training.

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SAY NO TO BULLYING

A new national campaign backed by big business, sportspeople, charities, ministers and celebrities has been unveiled in an effort to eliminate bullying in the workplace and other settings, according to Human Capital Magazine.

Involved are such organisations as Foxtel, Channel 9, and Living Social; such high profile individuals as cricketer Brad Haddin, sports commentator Phil Gould, rugby league player Sandor Earl, and former rugby league player and television personality Mario Fenech.

The campaign, which kicked off on 27 September, was created by anti-bullying advocate Christian Marchegiani of Underdogs, an Australian organisation created to help people realise their full potential through courage, self-discovery and team-work.

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Selecting Job Applicants in the Age of Social Media

An article in the ‘mycareer’ section of 4 October’s Sydney Morning Herald revealed that increasingly employers are using social media sites such as Twitter to help select job applicants.  Alan Geere, from Essex Chronicle Media Group and Northcliffe Media South East in the UK this week asked would-be reporters to apply for jobs by tweeting 140 words about themselves.

Twitter has also been used by such well known organisations as McDonalds and Sony.

Mr Geere advised in his blog that he preferred this method of seeking employees as he is “fed up with wading through turgid ‘letters of application’ and monstrous CVs”.

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Assessment in Organisations – Current Status, Trends and Emerging Issues

Meta-analyses have revealed that the most valid predictors of job performance are ability measures (cognitive or intelligence tests) and personality assessments, particularly the “Big 5” personality traits, followed by structured job interviews.  Together, ability tests and measures of conscientiousness or integrity provide an adjusted validity of 0.65 (Ones, Viswesveran, & Schmidt, 1993; Ones & Viswesveran, 1998).  The combination of these measures also helps to reduce the impact of issues such as cultural differences in performance on ability tests and measurement error (Bartram, 2004).

In terms of ‘post-hire’ testing, research has shown that 360 degree feedback systems are one of the most popular and fast-growing types of assessments used in organisations.  These systems have evolved as globalisation and the increased pace of change in organisations have resulted in a need for flexible measures of organisational performance that assess a range of competencies rather than specific job skills (Bartram, 2004).

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How safe is your contact centre?

 

courtesy of google images

The security breaches at Sony Corp., makers of the PlayStation consoles, in April this year exposed both the wealth of personal information that contact centre staff gather from customers on a daily basis and also the potential costs and reputation damage that can result from lack of risk management and appropriate security practices.

The information stolen by hackers of the Sony Corp. systems included the names, dates of birth and possibly mother’s maiden name of approximately 100 million Sony PlayStation network customers as well as credit and debit records from over 23,000 non-US customers of Sony Online Entertainment (Edwards & Riley, 2011).  It has been estimated that financial costs (including credit card fraud, network repairs and marketing costs) will amount to approximately 50 million USD, whilst restoring confidence in the company’s network and stabilising sales may take up to 6 months (Edwards & Riley, 2011).

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Safety first?

A recent front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wallace, 2011) “Injuries Show the Dangers of Childcare” highlights the serious problems that can arise when employees are unaware of, or do not follow, organisational safety procedures.

The report indicated that there were 13,300 potential health and safety breaches in child care centres in NSW in 2009-10, resulting in 1,000 children requiring medical treatment and one death.

While your business may have nothing in common with a childcare centre, it is important to realise that workplace injuries can happen in any organisation.  According to a WorkCover report, across NSW in 2008-09 there were 139 deaths resulting from workplace accidents and over 133,000 employment injuries reported (WorkCover NSW, 2010).  These occurred across a range of industries, including ‘low risk’ areas such as administration and insurance.

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How emotionally intelligent are your managers?

Leaders exert a significant influence over the satisfaction and engagement of the employees that they lead (Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002). A good manager can inspire and transform a workplace; while a bad manager can derail their own efforts and those of the organisation.  Signs of derailment include failure to delegate, attitude of arrogance and insensitivity, bullying and inability to adapt to change (Kaiser & Hogan, 2007).  These can lead to reduced individual and organisational performance and have a negative impact on individual health and well-being.  See our blog on workplace bullying to understand one significant outcome that poor leadership can have on workers.

Studies vary in their estimates, but Hogan & Kaiser (2005) has advised that managerial incompetence may be as high as 30-75 per cent in America.  Friday 25th June’s edition of Human Capital Online cites research that shows that at least one in nine managers in Australia are underperforming and engaging in harmful behaviours.

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Identifying your strongest and weakest leaders

The idea of a 360 degree performance appraisal is to survey those around an employee to gather information about their performance from the perspective of different individuals they interact with at work. Feedback is typically provided by subordinates, peers and supervisors, the individuals themselves (self-assessment), and may include feedback from customers or clients. “360” refers to the 360 degrees in a circle, with an employee figuratively in the middle of the circle.

360 degree performance appraisals provide comprehensive, balanced information, i.e. they reveal how the individual operates in a range of roles and with a range of individuals; as a manager, as a member of a team, as a subordinate and, if applicable, with their clients. Reviewers typically remain anonymous, thereby reducing the likelihood of inaccuracies such as the ‘halo’ effect.

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Testing for Workplace Bullies

The Australian Psychological Society defines workplace bullying as the experience of aggressive and negative behaviours towards one or more employees that results in a hostile work environment. To be classified as bullying, such negative acts must be regular (usually at least weekly) and persistent (continuing for a 6 month period or longer).

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Psychometric Aptitude Tests vs Referee Checks

Most jobs require applicants to provide references or referees in the form of former employers who can be called to ask about how the applicant performed in previous roles.  Whilst referee checks are very common, there is evidence to show that they do not predict job performance very well and can in fact be highly misleading.

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The Multi-Tasks Test as a Predictor of Management Performance

Managers are arguably the most important members of an organisation.  Managers act as the liaison point between the workers and the strategy makers.  They lead and direct staff, implement strategies and policies devised by organisational heads and provide both upward and downward feedback and advice.  They are relied upon by all levels of the organisation.

So it is very important for your business that you employ the right managers.

Interviews and traditional ability measures will provide guidance in your decision-making, but there is another tool that has been found to uniquely predict performance in managerial roles.

It is called the Multi-Tasks Test.

RightPeople’s Multi-Tasks test paradigm has a long history in psychological research but has recently re-emerged as technological advances have made it possible to develop superior forms of Multi-tasks and efficiently administer this test in the average workplace.

Read on for more information about the theoretical basis for this test, the empirical research supporting it and how RightPeople can help you make one of the most important decisions you will make: who you put in charge of your business.

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WHO SHOULD YOU TEST FIRST?

It’s a reality that incompetent accounting staff can virtually destroy a business.

Accounting practices have evolved over the last decade due to unprecedented market pressures including commodity based pricing and increasing costs from training, technology, and litigation (Eilifsen, Knechel & Wallage, 2001).  A number of accounting scandals in the early 2000’s (e.g. Arthur Andersen and Enron) fuelled the revision of key accounting practices and highlighted the damage that can be done to an organisation’s reputation and livelihood when accountants and auditors act improperly, incompetently, or do not recognise or respond effectively to strategic risks.

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THE UNSKILLED NEED NOT APPLY

Finding amply qualified candidates to fulfill a specific job description and skill set is not always the simple task. When you ask whether or not a candidate is proficient in a particular skill, you will most likely receive the answer you are looking for: yes. However, surveys have implicated that 1/3 of job candidates tell little white lies during the recruitment process. How do you know who has the best skills without testing them?

Decrease the Chances of “Bad Hires”
Skills testing plays a major role in hiring the perfect people for jobs which require proficiency in specific domains. It provides an objective, fair, and efficient method of comparison. A candidate can say that they are proficient in Microsoft Word, for instance, but once you have hired them, you may find out that they are not as skilled as they stated in the interview. By then, you have already hired them and, like anyone that does the hiring and firing in a company knows, it is extremely difficult to get rid of a bad hire.

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PULLING OUT THE BAD WEEDS

Recruitment & Pre-Employment Selection Testing
By using the intuitive method of psychometric testing during pre-employment screening processes, companies are hitting a home run the first time they hire someone. Selective testing is “intuitive”, because it assesses job candidates beyond the normal interview questions, extracting information about the candidate through various kinds of pre-employment tests

According to Human Capital Magazine, pre-employment selection testing assists in recruiting people who are suitable for both the position and the company. In addition, selection testing also aids companies in “pulling out the bad weeds” that seem like the perfect fit.

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GIVING PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES A FAIR CHANCE

Psychometric Aptitude Assessment
A rigorous interview and selection process may seem tedious for both employers and prospective candidates. However, if you implement aptitude psychometric testing in your interview process, believe it or not, you are giving job applicants a fair shot at the job position.

“But, aren’t these tests used to weed out the unqualified employees?” you ask. The answer is: Yes, but aptitude psychometric assessments are also great for determining which candidates are the most qualified as well. When an applicant passes the tests that you chose to administer with flying colours, you know that you have found a viable candidate for the position.

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Needle in a Haystack: Getting the Right Graduate Can Prove to be a Tricky Task

Graduate recruitment requires both adequate planning and the appropriate tools. With tens of thousands of students graduating from universities every year, businesses can experience difficulty in finding the right individual with the skills, ability and determination to fit the requirements of their graduate plans.

Thousands of national and international businesses around the world have graduate programs that are prepared to hand-pick the most promising applicants, but choosing between them can be the tricky part, as a list of names and qualifications offer very little information about the people themselves. Personalities, ambition, and work ethics are all aspects that need to be considered when recruiting graduates.

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Using Integrity Testing in Order to Deter Employee Theft and Absenteeism

When employers consider or discuss employee theft, their thoughts are usually focused on protecting assets such as the business bank account and petty cash. The truth is, most of the employee theft that occurs at work comes in the form of taking office supplies and other merchandise that belongs to the company, as well as incorrectly reporting time sheets that reflect the hours that were worked, sick leave, absenteeism and vacation time.  These untrustworthy, and quite often overlooked, behaviours unnecessarily cost employers billions of dollars every year.

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Implementing Skills Testing Into the Interview Process

It is beneficial for all employers to implement skills testing during the interview process. This allows employers to rate the candidates and decide whether or not they possess the ability to perform the job duties that they are interviewing for. Job candidates are hungrier than ever to obtain employment, and it is important that companies hire carefully in order to protect themselves. This is where job interview skills assessments come into play; they save the company the time and frustration of hiring the wrong person.

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BIG FIVE AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Evidence for the Relationship between the Big 5 and Academic Achievement

Many different personality traits have been linked to academic performance. Since the Five Factor Model, or “Big 5”, has enjoyed prominence in the personality literature (Digman, 1990), as well as being recognised by the economics literature (Borghans et al., 2008), we believe it is valuable to organise the findings of the research regarding personality and performance around the Big 5 framework. Here we review these findings, one factor at a time.

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The Big 5 Facets

Personality Assessment and the Big 5
Personality assessment has a long history in psychology. Hundreds, maybe thousands of personality traits or constructs have been suggested over the years. But in the last 20 years the field has essentially reached a consensus – there is a much smaller number of independent dimensions underlying the myriad of constructs suggested (Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1993; John, 1990).

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RightPeople’s Time Management Research

Published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Out of Time?

Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Department of Psychology have found that being a good time manager is closely related to how conscientious a person is, and that this may be a personality trait rather than a skill one can acquire. Good time managers are also likely to be early birds, and slightly more prone to worrying.

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Personality Assessment – The Five Factor Model

This paper examines and summarises the big five-factor model, a tool used for studying personality.

One of the long-held goals of psychology has been to establish a model that can conveniently describe human personality, with the intent to use this model in improving the general understanding of personality.

Currently, a handful of models have risen to prominence, and have thus far stood the test of time.

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RightPeople in the News – Sydney Morning Herald Article

It’s official: the early bird doesn’t necessarily catch the worm.

A new and accurate measure of whether a person is a so-called ‘early bird’ or’ night owl’ could be useful in selecting people for jobs involving shift work, according to Dr Richard Roberts from RightPeople.

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