The challenge of digitalizing psychological assessment processes
You’ve just finished talking to your head of HR department about implementing psychological assessment in your hiring and/or development processes. Perhaps you’ve already looked up the plethora of psychological assessment tools available on the market.
As the world of psychological assessment continues to evolve and step in time with contemporary technology, it is more important than ever to choose the cutting-edge tool. With so many options available, how can you be sure to select the right one?
Why is the old-fashioned paper-and-pencil still common?
As we’ve proven in our first blog, psychological assessment has an edge over other common hiring methods. Hiring better also reflects on your other (retention-related) processes. But even with its availability and affordability, not all forms of psychological assessment offer the same kinds of advantages.
The paper-and-pencil form of psychological assessment has been around since the conception of psychological assessment. It is the most common form of assessment, still used by the majority of psychologists. Due to its long-time presence, this form of psychological assessment may be more familiar to candidates/employees, who may also feel more comfortable completing a paper-and-pencil assessment than a digital one. Some paper-and-pencil tests or questionnaires may also be easier to score (no need for converting answers into a digital format or using specific computer programs for calculating scores).
Some might find this form of psychological assessment better-suited to their needs. The paper-and-pencil form might even be a more comfortable choice, with the opportunities of modern technology seemingly intimidating to some. But let us provide you with a few good reasons to utilize the power of the digital.
Is digital psychological assessment the way of the future?
The digital form of psychological assessment represents the computer-based psychological assessment, either by digitizing paper-and-pencil tests and questionnaires or by digitalizing the entire process of the psychological assessment.
The digital form of psychological assessment is, comparably, a relatively new development. It is becoming more popular and prevalent, as it offers many advantages over the paper-and-pencil form. The primary appeal of digital psychological assessment is increasing the efficiency of administration (administering the assessment, scoring, generating reports), as the paper-and-pencil form requires specifically trained administrators. This is especially true for large amount of data and/or large numbers of assessed individuals¹. Because the digital form eliminates the possibility of human error, it is also more accurate.
The good news is that most contemporary commercial psychological assessment tools are available in the digital form. Not only that, but research²˒³˒⁴, shows that for some types of psychological assessment tools, there are no significant differences between their paper-and-pencil and digital forms. On top of everything, digital power tests of cognitive abilities allow for assessing reaction times and spatial and perceptual abilities that cannot be assessed via paper-and-pencil tests⁵.
Modern digital technology offers bountiful opportunities to elevate psychological assessment, and even go as far as tailor the assessment procedure to each individual (adaptive assessment). If you wish to stay current and offer your candidates and employees an experience that will motivate them by making the assessment procedure feel fair and efficient, we encourage you to explore the options that the modern technology makes available.
Addressing the digital challenges
There are, however, some concerns about the use of the digital form of psychological assessment that need to be addressed.
One of the many downsides of computer-based psychological assessment, especially with experimental methods (e.g., video assessments, the use of the VR environment) is its cost¹, which presents a disadvantage for small to middle-sized companies.
Being able to afford cutting-edge psychological assessment can be a financial burden, but only if there are no available – or known – alternatives.
Skill to operate computer equipment may present an issue for individuals that are less skilled. Specifically for speed tests of cognitive abilities, dexterousness with the mouse and/or keyboard presents another dimension to the assessment which limits the accuracy of the cognitive ability assessment⁴˒⁶. Issues with computer equipment can also cause unnecessary distress (e.g., internet connection problems, slow loading speed, other equipment issues).
However, remotely supervising the administration of the psychological assessment and offering prompt customer support accounts for all these issues. A supervised administration provides the employer with relevant information about the assessment process, allowing for accommodating any issues that might have arisen during the assessment process. A timely customer support empowers both the employer and the assessed individual with the information they need to utilize the advantages of the psychological assessment.
Last but not least, another common challenge is an unsupervised administration of the digital psychological assessment. Research⁷ shows that candidates may be more prone to cheat when the stakes are high (e.g., in a hiring situation). Unsupervised administration can also create issues like misunderstandings of the instructions (as there is no administrator present to clear them) and allow for influential insignificant variables (i.e., tiredness, loss of focus, frustration with the administration, etc.).
Yet again, remotely supervising the assessment process represents the solution. Utilizing an individual's computer camera and microphone to collect data about the assessment process - while strictly adhering to the GDPR, other relevant law acts and guidelines! - provides the employer with the information about such issues, protecting the interests of both, the employer and the assessed individual, to fair assessment.
Harness the power of the digital with HR Potentials
Have we made you nervous about the upsides of using digital technology in psychological assessment? Fear not. Modern digital psychological assessment is finally ready to upscale its paper-and-pencil counterpart, especially when it is available and affordable to use by everyone.
HR Potentials psychological assessment offers supervised administration of the psychological assessment process with our cutting-edge TestAnywhere product at affordable prices, with candidate support in the rare case of a computer-technology-related assessment issue.
Ready to try it out? We offer all readers of the HRP blog free assessment of 15 candidates or employees - just contact our representative and start assessing today!
- Conte, J. M., & Landy, F. J. (2019). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology (6th ed.). Wiley.
- Salgado, J. F., & Moscoso, S. (2003). Internet‐based personality testing: Equivalence of measures and assessees’ perceptions and reactions. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 11(2-3), 194–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2389.00243
- Ployhart, R. E., Weekley, J. A., Holtz, B. C., & Kemp, C. (2003). Web-based and paper‐and‐pencil testing of applicants in a proctored setting: Are personality, biodata, and situational judgment tests comparable? Personnel Psychology, 56(3), 733–752. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2003.tb00757.x
- Potosky, D., & Bobko, P. (2004). Selection testing via the Internet: Practical considerations and exploratory empirical findings. Personnel Psychology, 57(4), 1003–1034. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2004.00013.x
- Murphy, K. R., & Davidshofer, C. O. (2005). Psychological testing: Principles and applications (6th ed.). Prentice Hall.
- Mead, A. D., & Drasgow, F. (1993). Equivalence of computerized and paper‐and‐pencil cognitive ability tests: A meta‐analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 449–458. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.114.3.449
- Tippins, N. T., Beaty, J., Drasgow, F., Gibson, W. M., Pearlman, K., Segall, D. O., & Shepherd, W. (2006). Unproctored internet testing in employment settings. Personnel Psychology, 59(1), 189–225. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2006.00909.x