Making Selection Decisions

The rank-ordering of test results, the use of cut-off scores, or some combination of the two is commonly used to assess the test scores and make employment-related decisions about them. There are essentially three approaches that can be taken.


Rank Ordering
Firstly the organization could simply select the top scorers. This would seem to be the most obvious approach, but is does have a major drawback, at least where ‘ordinary’ jobs are concerned. In times of high unemployment the job is likely to attract some candidates who are too ‘high-powered’ and who will probably get bored quickly and more on as soon as they can. Alternatively, if unemployment is very low then all of the candidates may have poor scores and may not be up to the job. Neither of these represents a successful outcome for the organization.

Cut-off Score
The second option is to shortlist candidates who achieve more than a minimum acceptable score. This is more flexible than the above approach as it ensures that candidates who are not up to the job are excluded whilst giving the interviewer or decision maker the option to exclude candidates they feel are too high powered.

The third option is to use a minimum acceptable score in conjunction with profiling.
This approach first excludes unsuitable candidates on the basis of minimum score and then takes into account the relative strengths of each suitable candidate in all of the areas in which they have been tested. This is then used to produce a profile map which can be compared to the ‘ideal’ profile for the job. This profile will be based on a job specification compiled by an occupational psychologist, or qualified personnel professional.

This job specification will encompass the following areas:.

  • Knowledge – is specific knowledge needed. For example; medical, legal, financial, engineering, etc. This will often be decided on the basis of recognized qualifications but will be influenced by previous job experience.

  • Skills – are specific skills needed. For example, typing 150 words per minute, ability to operate CNC machine, etc. This will often be decided on the basis of recognized qualifications but will be influenced by previous job experience.

  • Abilities – are underlying abilities needed. For example, numerical ability, artistic ability, problem solving ability. These may be decided on the basis of aptitude or ability tests.

  • Experience – is specific experience necessary. For example, managing a construction project.

  • Personal Qualities – are particular qualities required. For example, interpersonal skills or leadership skills.

You may also be interested in:

Aptitude Tests IntroductionQuestion Types & ScoringThe Difference between Speed & Power TestsVerbal Ability TestsNumerical Ability TestsAbstract Reasoning TestsSpatial Ability TestsMechanical Aptitude TestsData Checking TestsWork Sample TestsInterpreting Aptitude Test ResultsDifferent Types of Scoring Systems,  Standard Scores, Percentiles & Norming and Using the Results to Make Selection Decisions.

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