Frequently Asked Questions
Validation and Legality
- Is testing legal?
- Yes. Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Uniform Guidelines of Employee Selection include instructions and guidelines as to when testing is appropriate when making your selection and promotion decisions. Of course, the test itself must be fully validated to ensure legality.
- Has this assessment been validated?
The Achiever, as well as the other assessment instruments published by Achievement Tec, has been validated in accordance with standard psychological procedures.
The collective assessments, known as the Achievement Tec Assessment System (ATAS), have been validated in accordance with the construct validation process, which is considered to be the superior method of validation. This means that the ATAS assessments have been administered to people, along with other standardized assessments, such as the 16PF of IPAT, MMPI, Wonderlic, Stanford Binet and other well-known instruments, and through comparison, have determined that this assessment system does measures what it professes to measure.
Additionally, Achievement Tec, for the past 25 years, has maintained an ongoing procedure of concurrent validation for individual job categories within industries and specific companies.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance reviewed these assessments and stated that they found nothing discriminatory about the usage of this system. The reason behind this statement is that Achievement Tec's reports do not offer a 'hire / no-hire' decision, and we consistently suggest that the results should be taken into consideration along with other hiring factors, such as interviews, drug screens, references, etc., before making the final hiring decision.
- Has the Achievement Tec system ever been challenged?
Yes, in Federal court in Tyler, Texas in the late '70's. Said challenge was administratively dismissed, however, based on the evidence and data prepared by Achievement Tec and submitted to the court on behalf of Fikes Chemical Company.
On numerous occasions, when complaints have been filed, and were under investigation by the EEOC, the respective construct and concurrent validation studies have been submitted. These studies establish the assessment as non-discriminatory in the hiring and selection process. This data has been accepted by the EEOC repeatedly, with never an adverse finding or an out-of-court settlement against any employer for the use of Achievement Tec's assessment system.
- How many years have you been in business?
- We have been in business for over twenty years. However, the original assessment has been in existence for nearly 50 years. First developed by a team of industrial psychologists, the forerunner of the Achiever was the first assessment that combined mental aptitudes and personality dimensions, written specifically for use in the business environment.
- How many people, over the years, have been assessed on your system and how many are currently being assessed on a monthly basis?
- Since we have been using automated computer scoring over the last twenty years, we have assessed somewhere in excess of two million candidates. Currently, companies across the country assess thousands of candidates per month, depending on the time of year and hiring mode.
- How can I tell for myself that your results are accurate?
- We suggest you assess two people whom you know well. Allow us to review the results with you and compare what we determine to be the personalities with your knowledge of the two individuals.
- Has this system ever been used by the federal government or in an academic setting?
The Achievement Tec Assessment System has been used by the US Naval Weapons Control Centers for downsizing career personnel back into the public workplace. We have also provided assessment technology to state governments for welfare-to-work programs.
In the last three years, we have begun providing assessments to trade and vocational schools, for their use in determining what courses of study their students should pursue and, subsequently, choosing a career path for which they are best suited. Through this technology, they are compared to proven successful people in the same job types.
Most recently, we have begun to install a Career Direction program into select public schools, to assist the counselors in determining more reliable college and career choices for graduates. A Texas independent school system is currently using the Achiever in their hiring process for senior level educators.
- Why do most companies use assessments?
You've survived for all these years without them - why add them now?
First of all, the job applicants of today are quite different than they were a generation ago. Then, they could all read and write if they graduated from a high school, most were drug free and honest, they usually gave a good day's work for a good day's pay, and generally most people expected to support themselves through their own labor.
Currently, many educational institutions are graduating students who read and write rather poorly. In addition, the social and economical pressures of today create disadvantageous situations, thus producing a workforce with fewer skills, but more expectations. Moreover, the advancement of technology is increasing the need for skills that were not even thought of a generation ago. Thus the incompatibility between job and worker becomes more pronounced.
Secondly, most companies have begun to realize the high cost of hiring the wrong person, or putting a good person into the wrong job. Either situation inevitably results in turnover, at a cost. For instance, the cost of turning over a commissioned sales person who makes $50K is somewhere in the vicinity of $25K - $100K. Therefore, it has become very important to recognize whether a particular applicant is suited for your company... or the competitor's.
Lastly, it has become perilous to dismiss employees in today's litigious society. The best answer to that problem is to hire the right person for the job in the first place. Finally, assessing all applicants will lead to lower turnover, higher productivity and morale, and higher bottom line profits.
- Is there any advantage to using assessments in the legal sense?
Often during the screening process, personal observations and feelings come into play. Many hiring discrimination lawsuits have been filed simply because a hiring decision was made on a purely personal level. The business environment has been looking for a non-discriminatory, totally unbiased procedure to help remove the threat of this type of litigation. Using assessments that incorporate a leveling device such as Stanine scoring, comparing your candidate to the general population, reduces the subjective approach to hiring and therefore the threat of litigation. Not only that, your candidates will be compared directly to proven success stories, further removing the subjective decisions.
Remember, litigation commonly evolves from hiring the wrong person, putting them into the wrong job and then treating them differently!
- What are some of the other benefits of using assessments?
Generally, because you will now have the ability to identify the right applicants, and thereby discontinue hiring the wrong ones, the overall morale and productivity will grow commensurately. When you are not wasting time and money on hiring and training the wrong people, there should be a conspicuous carry-over to the bottom line.\
In addition, you can use the assessment results to ensure correct job placement, manage and train the new employee much more proficiently and expeditiously, and even get a glimpse of the career path that individual should pursue.
- What kind of effect will a consistent use of assessments have on our turnover?
- In most industries, there is a standard accepted turnover ratio. For example, in the retailing industry, 100% turnover at the store level is fairly common. Over the years, our clients have indicated that a comprehensive hiring process, which employs performance or behavioral assessments, will inevitably result in a turnover rate considerably lower than their industry average. The assessments, however, have to be utilized in concert with other important parts of the due-diligence hiring process, such as interviews, drug screens and reference checks. No single instrument is intended to be used as the exclusive decision-maker in the hiring process.
- What kinds of savings will a program like this produce?
- If you can give us a breakdown of your hourly to salaried employees, and the approximate turnover in each category, we can project your cost for the first year quite accurately. When you consider the cost of turning over any employee (the Labor Dept. quotes the cost of turning over an hourly person at somewhere between $8K and $12K, and for a salaried person somewhere between 50% and 150% of their annual salary), the cost of an assessment program pales. In other words, based on these statistics, your cost virtually disappears.
- How can we measure the effectiveness of this assessment system?
- One easy way to measure the effectiveness of an assessment is to compare the assessment results with the annual performance reviews of those previously assessed. Usually, if someone is performing below standard, a glance back at his or her assessment results will indicate why.
- Can this system be used for post-employment decisions, such as promotions, or is it only used for selection?
With several different instruments, all developed for differing job levels, our system has the capability of being used for any normal human resources transaction. All of the instruments can be customized to fit any of these needs:
- Training & Development
- Career Pathing
- Succession Planning
- How do we set up an account?
- We ask that you complete an Account Application and indicate to whom we are authorized to discuss results. We create an individual online account and then assign unique company access codes, which you will use for all future candidates, regardless of their level of employment.
- How will my candidates take an assessment?
- All assessments are available online through individual company accounts. Your applicants can take their assessments in your office or at their convenience, anywhere, anytime.
- How do we receive the final reports?
That depends on the type of service you prefer.
- Full Service Program: As your need arrives, you simply give your candidates your unique company codes and the name of the assessment you would like them to take. You email Achievement Tec the candidate’s name and position so we can include the appropriate benchmark when we score the assessment. We then email a completed report to your authorized contact and follow up with a call to offer a complete and comprehensive discussion.
- Self-Scoring System: If you prefer, we can direct the system to you allowing you access to all of the administrative functions. This gives you better control of your reports; however, it eliminates the opportunity to discuss the results of your reports with our staff members.
- Is there a difference in pricing?
Yes, there are differences in prices. Prices are determined by the assessment you use and the program you prefer. First, let us determine the available programs.
As stated above, there are two programs available to fit your company’s budget and frequency needs.
- The Full Service Program: This format allows you to use the assessments as needed, and we bill you for only those assessments you use within each billing period. The price includes the assessment, as well as the verbal consultation. This allows for a consistent and professional analysis of your applicants.
- Self-Scoring System: Our Self-Scoring system allows for volume discounts. It does reduce the price of each assessment, and the discounts do increase with the quantity of the purchase; however, the verbal consultation is no longer available. In this situation, you are billed for the total purchase at one time. We do recommend that you begin with the Full Service Program to learn the ropes, and convert to the Self-Scoring System when you become more confident in your analysis of the results.
Additionally, we offer a complete menu of assessments each priced based on the information included and the level of employment targeted.
- If I opt for the self-scoring system, how do you know what assessments we will use and what to bill us?
- When using the Self-Scoring system, each assessment type is given a different value, which we call “credits”. No matter which assessment you use, the program automatically deducts the appropriate value from your bank of credits. This allows flexibility in both the selection of your assessments and the volume discount earned, giving the company greater control of their testing needs. Our “credit” system is explained more in depth elsewhere on this website.
- What types of assessments are available for different job levels?
Your options extend to the depth of information needed and the features required to make an informed hiring decision. Although you are welcome to use any of the assessments for any level of employment, we have developed assessments that capture the needs of various job levels. All incorporate the 10 personality dimensions, but each assessment differs in the aptitudes tested and the various report elements included. Each of the assessments are priced differently, based on the configuration of the reports.
The Achiever/ Sales Achiever were designed to assess senior level positions, including all management, professional sales, salaried and some administrative personnel.
The Executive Achiever focuses on those elements necessary for strong leadership in your most senior positions. It incorporates management competencies and delivers information on accountability, collaboration, enthusiasm, and strategic thinking.
The Guardianwas created to evaluate mid-level employees: administrative, first line supervisory, technical, and skilled hourly workers. This is the pool of employees from which most employers promote and where the 'can-do' and the 'will-do' are important to success and advancement.
The Performer is utilized for entry-level, semi-skilled or unskilled workers, who are often mis-hired. They are the walk-in applicants applying for, and being hired for, any opening, whether they fit the job or not creating the company's highest turnover problem.
The Scoreboard focuses on the personality of the employee and the potential for success in unskilled jobs. This assessment allows the employer to determine the candidate's job stability, dependability, work ethic, possible advancement and more.
The Hiring Process
- At what point in the normal hiring process should the assessment be given?
Using assessments, for most small to moderate companies, takes place when the company has reduced the applicant pool to a select few, two or three that would seriously be considered for employment. At this point, you would probably have conducted interviews, checked references and considered their skill and experience. An assessment would be administered about the same time you also perform a drug screen and a background check. You are not obligated to evaluate every applicant that applies, but you must equally evaluate those who are seriously in contention for a job.
However, in very large companies, which are constantly looking for good people, it is more cost-efficient to assess the candidates prior to interviewing. It is more expensive to have an executive spend an hour talking with a prospective employee than it is to assess them. In addition, the quality of the eventual interview will be much improved, because the assessment results will help the interviewer spend more time probing areas of obvious concern. In many cases, the assessment may indicate that the candidate was not right and ,therefore, should not have been interviewed at all.
- For what job levels should we use assessments?
- Our system can accommodate any job level, from unskilled to professional sales and management. Because most companies have not used assessments previously, the tendency is to start at the management level, and gradually work down to the administrative levels and below. Ironically, most companies have their highest turnover on the lower levels, but do not see the need to use assessments where they need it the most. Eventually, we feel most companies will assess all final job applicants at all job levels.
- How many people should be assessed for each job opening?
- Usually, the rule of thumb is that the higher the position, and the higher the salary, the more candidates you want to assess. We recommend you assess no less than two candidates for any position.
- How does the company know what traits are important in a particular job?
Each individual job has specific requirements and skills that are needed for success. There are three approaches available to establish the data needed to create a valid job hiring pattern or 'benchmark':
- Concurrent Validation - The most accurate benchmark is to assess 10 or more of the best performers in any given job. This will thereby establishing a hiring pattern, which not only reflects the needs of that job, based on your own successful people, but also reflects the corporate culture and work environment of the company.
- Industrial Database - You can use and adapt any of the hiring patterns already established. Over the past twenty plus years, we have assessed vast numbers of employees, who have proven their success within their own companies or across an industry. By compiling these assessments, we have amassed a sizable database of concurrently validated benchmarks.
- Job Function Requirements - You can create an interim hiring patterns based on the job description, until sufficient numbers of successful people populate a specific job.
- How long do the assessments take?
- The Achiever and the Guardian each take just about an hour, the Performer should take about 40 minutes and the Scoreboard about 25 minutes.
- How can we be sure if the applicant's responses are valid?
We are one of the few assessments that address the candor with which applicants respond and rate the accuracy of the resulting reports. The mental aptitudes are considered valid if they are timed accurately. As for personality responses, there are two built-in scales in all of our instruments to determine the accuracy level of the personality assessments.
One scale deals with 'distortion' or 'exaggeration', which measures the candidness of the applicant's responses. The second scale addresses 'equivocation', wherein the applicant may select too many indecisive or neutral answers, thus 'diluting' the results. These validity factors are included in the final report, both as narrative information and part of the Stanine numerical scoring.
- How will you help us to understand the assessment results?
- Our Full-Service Program includes a verbal consultation, along with your emailed report. We will discuss your candidate's strengths and weaknesses and allow you time to ask questions and voice concerns. For all customers, our Interpretive Manual is available online as a reference. We are one of the few assessment companies that publish a complete interpretative guide for our clients. Additionally, we offer workshops throughout the year. Our full day workshops are in-depth studies of each aptitude and dimension, with discussion of the correlations that occur between certain characteristics. We can also bring those workshops to you. Ask about our availability.