Customizable Solutions

Using eTest® off-the-shelf is an efficient and valuable way for companies to improve their selection process and to develop their people. It helps managers to understand the personality and problem-solving traits of a candidate or employee and compare these traits to the requirements for performing the job effectively.

eTest® used in this way is especially appropriate and useful in the following situations:

  • When there are small numbers of people in each job.
  • When each job has unique requirements for successful performance.
  • When the manager has the time to consider each job and its requirements in depth.

However, there are other circumstances when using eTest® in a slightly different way will provide additional benefits to the company and its people.  In these circumstances, a validation and customization of eTest® can deliver a quick, valid, fair, and customized report of candidates' or employees' characteristics, and a good prediction of fit for a particular job and company culture. A validation and customization of eTest® is recommended in the following circumstances:

  • When the numbers of people in a particular job are large enough.
  • When the job is important for the company's success (e.g., sales or operations management).
  • When the company needs to make sure that its hiring managers are focusing on the personality and problem-solving traits that are tied to successful job performance.
  • When the company wants to make sure that the selection tool treats all groups of employees fairly (i.e., it has minimal adverse impact against any groups of employees and does not pose a legal risk to the company).
  • When the company is willing to devote the time to make sure their selection tool is customized to better predict a candidate's successful job and culture fit.
  • When it would be of benefit to have a quick report of company-specific and job-specific characteristics as part of the selection process based on scientific, professional and legal standards that will be defensible in court.

A validation and customization study takes a little investment in time by the company, but it is well worth the extra effort to ensure a useful, valid, company/job-specific and legally defensible selection tool. While the specific steps in a customization and validation study will vary depending on the particular company and job characteristics, they typically include:

  • Reviewing company and job-related information.
  • Conducting focus groups with the appropriate subject matter experts (executives, HR professionals and successful incumbents in the role under consideration).
  • Describing the key characteristics of the job, to include the necessary and typical duties of the position, the tasks involved in accomplishing those duties and the general competencies necessary for success in the position.
  • Gathering test and performance data from the company and employees to "test the test" and to develop a customized eTest profile that shows a statistically significant relationship to job performance and is fair to all employee and candidate groups.
  • Developing a customized eTest profile that presents the specific personality and problem-solving traits that predict success for the particular job.
  • Training the appropriate people in the organization to understand and use the validated and customized eTest profile as part of the selection process.

A solid validation and customization study will be a partnership between an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and the organization.  The I/O psychologist brings the knowledge and credentials to ensure that the study is conducted according to professional practice guidelines, adheres to legal requirements, and delivers a customized profile that is valid (i.e., accurate and consistent) and fair for the company.

In return, the company receives an eTest® report that includes the same Interview Guide that off-the-shelf users receive, along with the customized profile that predicts success in the specific job and company culture.  This customized report allows the company to receive a quick readout on personality and problem-solving characteristics that are needed to be successful in the specific job.  If the company desires, the customized report can include an overall score of suitability for the job and a go-no-go cutoff recommendation.  This information can be used to guide additional interviewing, to improve hiring decisions, and to provide additional guidance for developing employees who are hired.

When a validation and customization is considered, the following maxim applies:  the results you get are in direct proportion to the effort you put in. Be wary of quick studies that promise good results.  For example, profile studies that only look at a small number of your top performers are questionable and may not pass legal scrutiny.  Being based on a small sample that may not reflect the whole population of job incumbents, they do not reliably identify characteristics that differentiate between good and poor job performance.  While a report based on a job profile study may look accurate, it is based on limited and possibly flawed data.  As a final caveat, be wary of tests and profiles that provide no data to support their validity or fairness.