Graduate Selection Psychological Assessment and Assessment

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					                                              in the selection process by providing
                                              additional     information    about      a
                                              candidate’s potential to perform in the
                                              job. Psychologists typically recommend
                                              the use of a combination of cognitive
                                              ability    testing    and      personality
Graduate Selection:
Psychological Assessment and                  A number of psychometric assessments
Assessment Centres                            are now available online, allowing for
                                              assessments to be conducted in shorter
Australian Association of Graduate
Employers (AAGE) – White Paper                time-frames    and     facilitating   the
                                              selection of candidates for similar roles
What do graduate employers want?              across    countries  in    multi-national
In response to the rapid growth in
information       and       communication     Psychometric assessments compare
technologies and a shift in the nature of     favourably to traditional selections
the     work     environment,     graduate    measures. Of the most commonly used
employers are increasingly looking for        selection     methods,     including    job
individuals    who      feel   comfortable    interviews, biographical information and
working interdependently, as members          job experience, cognitive ability tests
of teams within the organisation              have been shown to be the best
(Kwiatkowski, 2003). Organisations are        predictor of on the job performance
often seeking graduates who are not           (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998). Cognitive
only able to          perform    the key      ability tests are particularly useful when
requirements of the role but who are          used in conjunction with work sample
politically astute, able to operate within    tests, such as an in-box task, or with
a information-rich environment and who        structured interviews (Schmidt & Hunter,
can      form     structured    networking    1998). Personality questionnaires have
relationships both within, and outside of,    also been shown to be a good predictor
the organisation (Kwiatkowski, 2003). In      of    a    candidate’s     on    the    job
order to capture the range of                 performance, particularly those which
knowledge, skills and abilities expected      include a measure of conscientiousness;
of graduates in the selection process,        that is, a measure of a candidate’s
organisations are likely to require more      tendency to attend to details and
sophisticated selection tools which can       complete set tasks (Schmidt & Hunter,
more effectively differentiate between        1998).
candidates.        Increasingly, graduate
employers are recognising the potential       While    there   are    a    number     of
for    psychometric      assessment    and    psychometric assessments available on
assessment centres to provide additional      the market, measures need to be
insight into the capabilities of applicants   carefully selected to ensure that they
to their graduate programs.                   are reliable and valid. Psychometric
                                              assessments that have been rigorously
Psychometric Assessment                       constructed will identify real differences
                                              between individuals and will allow
Psychometric assessment refers to those       appropriate inferences to be drawn
tests that measure an individual’s            about a candidate’s likely on the job
knowledge, skills, abilities or personal      performance (Gatewood & Field, 2001).
characteristics.            Psychometric      The use of psychometric assessments
assessments can play an important role        which do not have a sound scientific
basis can result in ill-informed selection    which is clearly linked to the key
decisions. Psylutions psychologists are       characteristics of the role. During the
skilled in the selection of reliable and      course of the assessment centre,
valid psychometric assessments which          candidates are evaluated on each of
are appropriate for assessing the             these dimensions by multiple raters, who
relevant competencies for graduate            are required to reach a consensus
roles.                                        about      that   candidate’s        overall
                                              performance.     One of the concerns
Assessment Centres                            associated with the use of assessment
                                              centres is the extent to which there is
Assessment centres consist of a series of     equivalence      of     ratings      across
structured assessment techniques which        dimensions, across exercises and across
are designed to assess an applicant on        raters (Kaufmann et al., 1993). Woehr
a number of job-related dimensions            and Arthur (2003) suggest that these
(Garavan, 1997).          The structured      concerns are primarily the result of poor
assessment techniques incorporated            assessment      centre     design      and
into assessment centres are often             methodologies. Lievens (1998) suggests
dynamic and engaging, requiring               that these can be overcome by
applicants to work collaboratively with       carefully defining each dimension,
other team members to complete a              allocating a key role to psychologists as
given task in a short period of time. As      members of the assessor team and
part of an assessment centre, applicants      employing systematic procedures for
may be asked to develop a creative            observing, evaluating and integrating
solution to an industry problem, to work      ratings. Based on the results of a study of
through an ethical dilemma or to reach        the validity of a graduate assessment
a consensus regarding a work-related          centre, Garavan (1997) recommends
scenario. As a result, assessment centres     that      assessment-centre      designers
tend to have good face validity; that is,     carefully construct exercises and clearly
applicants feel there is a strong link        specify the dimensions to ensure they
between the activities of the assessment      are congruent with the performance
centre and the key requirements of the        requirements of the job.         Psylutions
role (Macan et al., 1994). Garavan            Psychologists are experienced in the
(1997) argues that face validity is a         design and facilitation of best practice
particularly important issue in graduate      assessment centres.
recruitment, as negative impressions of
the selection process can influence an
organisation’s reputation and its ability     Article researched & prepared by Laura
to attract top graduates. Integrating an      Enger, Probationary Psychologist, Psylutions
assessment centre into the graduate
selection process can increase the face
validity of the selection process as a
whole. Assessment centres have also
been found to be useful in predicting
job-related     outcomes      and      are
particularly useful when used in
conjunction with cognitive ability tests as
part of the selection process (Gaugler et     Contact Psylutions
al., 1987; Schmidt & Hunter, 1998).           Prue Laurence & Nicole Russom
                                              Suite 101B, Site One, 757 Bourke St,
An applicant’s performance in an              Docklands, Melbourne, 3008
                                              Ph: 03 8687 9070
assessment centre is usually evaluated
on a number of dimensions, each of