We are often asked by recruitment consultants and employers if it is easy to ‘cheat’ on the Harrison Assessment. The short answer is “no”! The following article, from Dr Dan Harrison’s ‘Best Practices in Talent Assessment’, explains why HA is different.
One of the biggest challenges of any behavioural assessment is to determine how truthfully the person has answered the questions. How can an assessment determine if the person has given truthful answers?
There are several important interconnected ways to overcome the problem of untruthful answers.
1. Forced ranking
Many personality assessments attempt to determine this by offering to answer seemingly opposite options along with an additional answer option called “in between.” If there are too many answers of “in between,” the results are considered invalid. While this may provide a slight indication of answer reliability, it is an extremely weak method. In many cases the most truthful answer may in fact be “in between.” Therefore, this method is not reliable.
It is best to provide answer options that need to be ranked rather than rated or scored. Forced ranking requires the person to designate their priorities.
HA uses computer cross-referencing to reduce the time required to complete the assessment. HA uses the same cross-referencing to determine if the person’s answers are consistent with themselves. If a person answers untruthfully when ranking a large number of statements, it is extremely difficult to maintain a high level of consistency. Even if the person were to remember all the rankings exactly, it would still be difficult to meet or exceed the consistency requirement.
Each statement appears two times and each time it appears it is ranked against other statements that are completely different. To maintain consistency, the person would have to mentally perform thousands of cross-references. If the answers are more than 10% inconsistent, HA considers that either the person has not paid sufficient attention to the answers or has deliberately attempted to deceive the assessment. In either case, the results are not considered valid.
3. Positive options only
Harrison Assessments has further mechanisms that prevent and detect deception. The questionnaire only includes statements relating to positive behaviours. Therefore, all of the statements are generally perceived as desirable. In addition, even if the person attempts to give the desirable answer, their own behaviour patterns dictate which answers they consider desirable. For example, if a person tends to be very frank and direct, they will consider this tendency to be their virtue as well as a desirable answer.
The HA system includes a further layer of lie detection by analysing the paradoxical relationships between the behavioural tendencies. Through such analysis, negative behaviour patterns can be determined without asking any negative questions and without the person having the slightest awareness that they have revealed their negative behaviour. If the person attempts to deceive the assessment, the negative behavioural patterns will become more exaggerated making them appear as poor candidates.