EAWOP 2013: Discussing the abcI with our international Colleagues Test Developers, Scholars, Consultants and HR

by Harald Ackerschott, posted Sep 13, 2013

16th Congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, Münster

Symposium: A New Approach to Psychometric Assessment in Human Capital Management

Thursday, 23rd May 2013

The psychometric online test “ackerschott basic cognitions Indicator®” (abcÎ) is based on psychological research on hiring decisions and personnel selection and more than 25 of experience in personnel selection and assessment of the author and his team as well as the recommendations, feedback and comments of clients, colleagues and experts in the field. It is a tool to support personnel and hiring decisions. Beyond that, it provides answers to current challenges in HR. For example, it supports Human Capital Management by providing data that measure talent in a way, which can be aggregated.

In the symposium, the test battery was presented by the author and his team and discussed with colleagues from practice and science.

The contributions:

Doctorandus Annika van Veen, ackerschott and associates, gave an overview of the abcÎ scales and content. She outlined, that the changing conditions in human capital management, e.g. equal rights policies and other juridical developments, bring a change into personnel selection that can be faced successfully with adequate psychometric assessment methods. She described how psychometric tools now available as online tools often focus either on a single intelligence measure or on personality questionnaires. She described the innovative approach of the abcÎ, which offers a new combination of different interrelated cognitive measures with innovative item design to measure behavioural preferences.

Dipl.-Psych. Harald Ackerschott, ackerschott and associates, shared thoughts about the construction and the theoretical background on the abcÎ. He outlined how the abcI is focused on measuring cognitive skills and abilities, since these are the proven most powerful predictors for professional performance, across most professions and hierarchies. Concerning the behavioural scales, the special approach which differentiates the abcÎ from many other tests and questionnaires that are currently used to support hiring decisions are presented: the abcI method to assess basic behavioural preferences and tendencies is not based on self-reports like they are used in personality questionnaires, but behavioural preferences are assessed through standardised behavioural samples like forced-choice picture preferences and situational judgement tests. Therefore, the strength of the standardised and objective measure is combined with the avoidance of the problems that are typically associated with personality questionnaires: they underlie social desirability effects, they do not really add much to self-reports given in interviews, and they are prone to intentionally giving wrong answers because the measurement content is or seems to be quite obvious.

To illustrate some up-to-date relevance of the abcÎ, Dr. Jörg Korff from the University of Mannheim, gave an overview about the demographic development in Germany in his presentation “The Aging Employee – an Unknown Entity?” He derived its special challenges to HR Management.

Dipl.-Psych. Jelena Strache, ackerschott and associates, proposed some solutions to those challenges. She shared thoughts and data about demographic development in Germany and about its impact on using employment tests like the abcÎ. She drew out how the use of tests like the abcÎ can support personnel decisions and especially how discrimination due to age can be avoided successfully. The demographic change has lead to changes in the age structure of applicants in Germany, across different branches and occupations. Since employment tests focussing on cognitive skills and abilities have shown to be highly efficient and valid methods to support selection and hiring decisions, it is important to examine if they are equally suitable when applicant groups change due to demographic changes in the population. The abcÎ takes these changes into account with its innovative combination of cognitive scales with a strong differentiation between fluid and crystalline intelligence.

In a similar line of thought did Dipl.-Psych. Johanna Beckert, ackerschott and associates, showed, that psychometric testing could be an answer to some urgent issues about diversity management. She focused on diversity management as a technical challenge for HR but as one effective opportunity to solve the problems of skill shortage in Germany. By overcoming stereotypes and concentrating on the most powerful common basic predictors of job performance for all positions – like the ones the abcÎ measures, candidates with high (learning) potential independently from gender, nationality, religious affiliation or else can be identified. The use of the abcÎ as pre-selection or screening instrument broadens the funnel to get the best potentials without biased selection through stereotypes.

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