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April 30

Self Report Competency Assessments

There are thousands of websites dedicated to help applicants with answers and tips to the self report assessments. How could a business owner, manager or HR person hope to really get an unbiased report? The only alternative is the Nobel nominated research of Dr. Robert S. Hartman and the Thinking Pattern Profile™.

The applicants “are asked to agree or disagree about statements about themselves or to indicate descriptors about themselves. I consider this kind of assessment “once removed.” By this I mean, self-report is again not necessarily a true picture of the person. By that I mean it is simply a picture of what the person is willing to say about themselves.

Two main factors can affect the accuracy of self-report results. The first is lack of self knowledge. Many respondents may not have a deep knowledge of themselves. In addition, those who have been assessed frequently over the years often see themselves as the previous test describes them, even though that testing may not even have been validated. This again can contribute to a lack of self-knowledge. The second factor that can contribute is the pressure to present oneself positively, especially in a hiring situation.

Psychologists refer to this as the Social Desirability factor and invent numerous “Fake Good” tactics to surface the misrepresentations. Non-psychologists, however, are also aware of the problem. “What sales candidates,” a client asked me one day, “will describe themselves as ’passive’ as opposed to ‘aggressive’ when responding to a selection instrument?” Robert Hogan, founder of Hogan Assessments, discussed this very problem with self-report instruments in a presentation given recently. He described self-report assessments as “Identity Assessments” and declared them invalid, for many of the reasons stated above. Hogan proposed a solution to the limits of self-report instruments. The only valid way to assess an individual, he stated, was through “Reputation Assessments.” His assessments were reportedly an answer to the weakness of “Identity Assessments.”

I see Hogan’s solution as going backwards. Whereas Hogan saw the problems with self-report, his solution, in my opinion, is even further removed, since it relies on a third party knowing the person accurately and describing them honestly. The “fake” dimension in this case has been increased. And he’s back to the 360° “twice removed” problem.”

Author Dr. K. T. Connor, Center for Applied Axiometrics http://applied-axiometrics.com