Amelia Herring

Synergy in Testing: Combining Personnel Assessments for Optimal Results

Synergy in Testing: Combining Personnel Assessments for Optimal Results
Amelia Herring

There are all sorts of tools you can use for screening job applicants. Two are particularly effective when used together…

When many businesses do testing before a hire, they choose to focus on one area, such as basic skills or personality. While this practice can provide valuable information about an applicant, the validity of the hiring process is increased when more than one kind of test is used. The additional personnel assessment tools provide what’s called “incremental validity.”

You’ve probably heard the saying from the Greek philosopher Aristotle which goes: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That’s an apt description of synergy, which you’d find, for example, in a band that produces music more extraordinary than its individual members could on their own. Synergy is a term used quite often in the business world, and it has surprising relevance in the arena of pre-employment testing.

Now, it’s well-established that general mental ability, also known as “G,” is a significant predictor of job performance. G is a person’s capability to learn, adapt, solve problems and understand instructions. G is measured with a cognitive ability test like the Wonderlic Personnel Test – Revised (WPT-R).

On the non-cognitive side, two other key prescreening tools are personality assessments, such as the Personal Characteristics Inventory® (PCI), and integrity tests, such as the Wonderlic Productivity Index® – Behavioral Questionnaire (WPI®-BQ). These kinds of test helps employers determine whether a job candidate’s combination of integrity and personality traits is a good fit for a specific job.

Now, these tests are useful on their own, but research shows that a special synergy is created when they are used together.

Why is this? Well, performance in all jobs is a function of a person’s ability, motivation and situational factors. Cognitive ability tests measure ability person’s ability to learn and adapt, while integrity and personality tests reveal motivation and show how closely the test taker’s disposition matches one that is optimal for the job. So, by considering scores from the Wonderlic cognitive ability test, along with those from either a Wonderlic personality test for jobs or integrity test, businesses are more likely to make better hiring decisions than if only one test is used. In fact, research has consistently shown that a combination of two such tests has more utility and validity than any other two combined tools typically used in the hiring process.

That’s not to say that other types of hiring tools shouldn’t be used in the employment process.  Quite the contrary… the more information you can gather about an applicant the better.  However, it is important to realize, which particular tools an employer can place greater reliance on.

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