It’s actually an exciting time to work in Human Resources. Administrative tasks, such as vacation planning and payroll accounting, can be handled easily, cost- and time-saving with the help of a software solution. HR is increasingly becoming the company’s most important strategic player. The human factor is more important than ever for companies, stakeholders, research and the media. The economy is growing, new positions and new incentives, away from company cars towards flexible working time models, sabbaticals and social impact are being created. Actually!
The current reality for many HR departments is that many vacancies are waiting for highly qualified candidates. Regardless of whether the company receives many or few applications, the problem is usually the same: the quality of the applicants and the evaluation of the quality. If the company receives only a few applications, it takes what it receives or delays the recruitment process further, which can entail risks such as poor work processes, dissatisfied employees and customers as well as high fluctuation, a bad company reputation and high costs. If the company receives many applicants, they must be sufficiently examined. This also costs time and money. However, this is where the most common mistakes and far-reaching consequences occur. Often the internal and external applicants are measured according to subjective or less valid criteria. Thus, the focus lies purely on the examination of the curriculum vitae or other hard skills or criteria such as beneficial relationships and “the right chemistry” decide on the future cooperation. Studies and the practice itself have shown that such a practice has little promise of success or is insufficient. Instead, there is a need for modern, scientifically developed processes that are not only fair (and thus increase the candidate experience), but also reliably identify potential. Once such a high-potential candidate has been identified and assigned to the right position, he or she must be constantly developed further and the person-job-fit and the performance have to be monitored. This is the responsibility of managers who, often due to a lack of time and focus, reduce personnel development to a semi-annual performance review with little after-effect. Here, too, a tool is needed that reduces time, delivers knowledge, is transparent and adaptable and facilitates the job of the personnel and the manager.
In the age of big data and digitization processes, it is therefore no longer possible to ignore the progress and the standardization of, for example, application and development processes in human resources. Many providers have already established themselves on the market and the selection for the consumer is difficult. For this reason it is helpful to know some quality criteria. The development of the procedure should be comprehensible and demandable. The test manual also provides information on the underlying model/theory. In general, caution applies especially to older models and theories. Or would you like to undergo a dental surgery with the devices and methods of the early 20th century? In addition, the psychometric quality criteria objectivity, reliability and validity provide information on whether the procedure is largely robust against distortions and influences, how accurate it is and whether what the procedure indicates is actually measured. Furthermore, it is decisive how large and representative the group is at which the procedure was standardized – the so-called norm sample. There is no rule of thumb here, but standardizations with less than 100 persons are to be regarded as critical and context-specific. The question technique itself is often underestimated. One popular format, for example, are rating scales (e.g. estimate the statement “I always get to work on time.”: 1 – applies, 2 – rather applies, 3 – partial, 4 – rather not applicable, 5 – not applicable). Here general response tendencies as well as social desirability can distort the results. The most important question, however, remains which construct was chosen to measure the criterion (e.g. professional success). Especially in the field of personnel selection, there are no limits to the imagination. In the most abstruse cases, even the handwriting (graphology) or the length of the ears (physiognomy) are used as a reference point to infer performance. More frequent are however work samples, the measurement of the intelligence quotient, the motives or the personality.
HOW DO I RECOGNIZE A GOOD PROCEDURE? – A CHECKLIST
1. ask for the test manual
2. check the underlying model (which year is it from? who developed it?)
3. take a look at the psychometric quality criteria
4. pay attention to the norm sample
5. check that social desirability is controlled
6. include the construct in the decision-making process
Based on the initial problem and taking into account scientific findings and standards, the competency procedure, the Great-8-Tachometer (G8T), was developed in cooperation with the Psychological Diagnostics Unit of the Institute of Psychology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. This can be used flexibly in personnel selection, personnel development and beyond. The G8T’s goal is to measure occupational behaviour that is relevant to professional success and that is the result of multicausal, individual learning processes. It is based on the generic competency framework model of the “Great Eight” by Kurz and Bartram (2002). The norm sample is based on 531 managers. The procedure therefore primarily differentiates between competencies at higher management and leadership levels. The survey methodology (forced choice format) can counteract faking and integrate reflected statements into a comprehensive self-image. Competencies can make valid predictions about professional success, as they already unite various aspects such as skills, abilities, knowledge, personality and experience by definition.
On this basis, personnel selection processes can not only be carried out in a time- and cost-saving manner. Also, the positive perception of the company and job satisfaction can be promoted and fluctuation can be counteracted (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001; Hausknecht, Day, & Thomas, 2004; Blickle, 2011). Some of our reports contain a high degree of interpretation (e.g. strengths and risks with regard to leadership, team and learning) and can thus support managers in the selection and development process without costly knowledge acquisition. Last but not least, the use of our standardized procedure improves employer branding and the candidate experience through fair, fast processes that also serve the interviewee and their own reflection.
Cohen-Charash, Y., & Spector, P. E. (2001). The role of justice in organizations: A meta-analysis. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 86(2), 278-321.
Blickle, G. (2011). Personalauswahl. In F. W. Nerdinger, G. Blickle, & N. Schaper (Eds.), Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie (Lehrbuch mit Online-Materialien) (pp. 225-252). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
Hausknecht, J. P., Day, D. V., & Thomas, S. C. (2004). Applicant reactions to selection procedures: An updated model and meta‐analysis. Personnel psychology, 57(3), 639-683.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological bulletin, 124(2), 262-274.
Schmidt, F. L., Oh, I. S., & Shaffer, J. A. (2016). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 100 Years… Fox School of Business Research Paper.