Welcome to our new series called Observations on Assessments. Over the next 10 weeks Chuck will dive into the in's and out's of the assessment industry. Stay tuned, we will have new posts up every Thursday!
To understand the assessment market it is necessary to understand the players and the test publishers. There have traditionally been two primary types of players. The first were smart business people who discovered simple personality surveys and realized the potential for selling them to companies. These thrive because of the lack of knowledge among the buyers about current assessment options, and advances in assessment science and methods. Some of the companies themselves do not understand the limitations of their outdated instruments, which use methods long since abandoned by serious psychometricians (specialists who create tests).
The second group of players were the serious psychologists and psychometricians whose research into how to measure human traits and abilities developed better and better tools. Unfortunately, while these produced good data, experts were needed to interpret the results. Even with the remarkable data, the complexity of implementation limited their application. These companies generally delivered their assessments with consultants and specialized training programs. Their use was generally reserved for senior executives or key salespeople.
The third type of player emerged in the wake of the Internet. Seeing the business potential of online testing, some companies cobbled together early generation personality surveys or resurrected the odd research project. They dressed them up with a slick Website, and market them today to unsuspecting customers as the latest thing.
Most test publishers are well-meaning businesses. They are selling what they have always sold. Unfortunately, assessment technology has moved on, and everyday customers are becoming more knowledgeable. The objective of these blogs is to add to their knowledge from my unique perspective in the industry. Watch for Part 3 - They All Look the Same…Sort of. You can also visit www.aboutassessments.com for more information on assessments.
Chuck Russell is a thought leader on applying behavioral data to business, educational and social challenges. For over 25 years, he has worked with companies of all kinds to optimize their talent acquisition and talent management practices with behavioral data. He is an international speaker on behavioral data analytics.