Graduate Experience vs. Predictive Validity

Graduate Selection Assessment Methods: Graduate Experience vs. Predictive Validity

Designing a best practice graduate assessment process is not easy. Numerous factors need to be considered and reconciled. Two of the most important considerations today should be the candidate experience and the predictive validity of the assessment methods used.

The candidate experience begins at the application stage, and continues right through to the reference checking and offer stage. Every interaction with the organisation leaves the person with an impression of how they value their people, which may affect their decision to accept or reject your offer.

The predictive validity of the assessment method refers to the extent to which the performance on the assessment method (e.g. interview) is able to predict actual job performance. Assessment methods that are high in predictive validity will increase the organisation’s likelihood of identifying the best graduates for their graduate positions.

In theory, the aim is simple, use the most predictive assessment methods, while ensuring a positive candidate experience. However, in practice, reconciling the candidate experience with the most valid methods of predicting job success is a fine art. Many assessment methods are high in predictive validity, but low in ensuring a good candidate experience, and vice versa.

Some of the most frequently used methods are listed below, with commentary regarding each method’s typical predictive validity and associated candidate experience, and how to ensure that the implementation of such methods leads to a positive candidate experience.

Method Predictive Validity Candidate Experience Maximising Validity and Candidate Experience
Structured Interview High, but depends on:

  • Quality of interviewers.
  • Interview questions.
  • Evaluation method.
Positive, but depends on:

  • Quality of interviewers (their ability to listen actively and question appropriately).
  • Provide interviewer training.
  • Ensure good interview design.
Online Cognitive Assessment High, but depends on:

  • Relevance of test to role.
  • Availability of appropriate test norms.
  • Reliability and validity of test items.
Mixed, can depend on:

  • Candidate’s internet connectivity and stability.
  • Candidate’s familiarity with use of cognitive tests in selection.
  • Appropriate selection of test.
  • If the candidate has internet difficulties, provide option to sit the test in the organisation or partner organisation’s facilities.
Online Personality Assessment High, but depends on:

  • Appropriate report output.
  • Appropriate alignment with the role based on criterion-related research.
  • Appropriate norm group
  • Face-validity of items (easier to fake if it is easy to guess what the items are measuring).
Moderate, depends on:

  • Candidate’s perceived non-intrusiveness of the items.
  • Face-validity of items (less positive experience if the link between the item and what the item is trying to measure is unclear).
  • Having no time pressure.
  • Appropriate selection of assessment and report output.
Work Related Simulations Moderate to high, depends on:

  • Quality of simulation, i.e. how well it elicits the desired behaviours and similarity to role tasks.

  • Provides some realistic job preview.
  • Allows the candidate to demonstrate their practical knowledge and approach to real life situations.
  • Trial the exercise to ensure sufficient content and context to elicit the desired behaviours.
Gamification Low, but depends on:

  • Relevance to the role requirements.
  • Ability to measure the required competencies.

  • Can be fun to take.
  • Does not feel like an assessment.
  • Ensure the activity measures the relevant competencies.

PBC is Sponsoring and Exhibiting at the 2015 AAGE Conference

PBC will be exhibiting at the 2015 Australian Association of Graduate Employers’ (AAGE) graduate recruitment and development conference. This year will mark PBC’s seventh consecutive year at the event. The event brings together employers from around the nation to learn, develop and network around issues impacting the industry. Come visit us at stand number 4!