Assessment certification: respect your candidates and let the people judge

Assessment and other professional psychological activities are more and more hampered by loads and loads of red tape. Compulsory association memberships, special assessment certification programs (ISO), even some Linkedin groups come up with assessment certification programs. In itself there’s nothing wrong with regulation and guidelines. The question is just: How many guidelines do we need and whose guidelines? I think the SIOP assessment guidelines fit perfectly well, and a new one is on the way. They are compact, cover all the relevant aspects and are highly practical.

And who is the judge of assessment quality? You? Your psychology association? Your client? The candidate? The scientific forum? All this and more and world war Z?

All the red tape points to one thing in my opinion: doubts about assessment quality and possible laziness in performance behavior (‘we are certified, don’t worry…’). In Linkedin assessment groups you find people who have never heard of e.g. Schmidt and Hunter but who are surely certified in any possible way…..

What we need are qualified and responsible assessment psychologists, backed by guidelines, merely to safeguard clients and the candidates, but taking full responsibility for the quality of the assessment, thereby involving candidates. Guidelines don’t determine assessment praxis. In every assessment situations arise which nobody has forseen, let alone that some certification rule might help you out of it.

These days academic disciplines are dominated by output criteria, delivering more and faster master certificates but implying less and less quality, knowledge and skills. So it is time to take the wisdom of candidates into account. Candidates are the ones who are directly touched by assessment policy and assessment execution. Therefore, informed candidates (‘protoprofessionals’) are in the best possible position to judge the quality of assessments. A good starting point is the Selection Procedural Justice Scale, from Bauer et. al (2001) which focuses among other things on information, transparency, opportunity to perform, treatment, assessment content an relevance. Any candidate nowadays prepares seriously for an assessment (Bloemers, 2014), and sometimes candidates have more knowledge about assessments than their assessors. Involve candidates and use their knowledge and experiences wisely. It is the best source for continuing high quality assessments: let the people judge.

 

Sources:

  • Bauer, T. N., Truxillo, D. M., Sanchez, R., Craig, J., Ferrara, P., & Campion, M. A. (2001). Development of the Selection Procedural Justice Scale (SPJS). Personnel Psychology, 54, 387-419. Download van: http://www.siop.org/WhitePapers/default.aspx : What we know about applicant reactions on attitude and behavior: recent summary and best practice.
  • Bloemers, W (2014). De Nieuwe assessmentgids, een oefenboek, (A Practical Guide for the New Assessment), Amsterdam, AMBO.
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2 thoughts on “Assessment certification: respect your candidates and let the people judge

  1. I do agree with much of what you are writing Wim, however I would challenge that it should be the company ( client) who can assess quality of assessments even better. They use assessments to solve an issue for example reduce the % of bad hires or increase sales performance. Good quality assessments will get them there, bad ones not.

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    • Organizations seldom have the knowledge to judge the quality of an assessment. Think of the few researches checking out the ‘scientific knowledge status’ of HR professionals. So in my view, the candidate who actually experiences the assessment in all its facets is a more reliable judge. Value your candidates and use their experiences to improve assessments. You will attract better candidates and it says a lot about your organizational culture.

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