What is an (online-) assessment?

In the decision-making process for recruiting and developing employees, companies are increasingly using standardised procedures to assess potential, knowledge, and competencies. Experts in aptitude diagnostics also refer to ‘psychometric’ procedures or psychological measuring procedures.

There are many different names for these methods, but whether they are called tests, assessments, potential analyses, or other terms, all refer to methods in which personal characteristics are measured in ways that are meaningful and relevant for further development in a professional career or for stepping into new or even entry-level jobs. These characteristics can be general mental abilities, skills, knowledge, or even certain behavioural preferences, styles, or motivations. These are often difficult or impossible to reliably capture in interviews.

Psychometric methods thus help companies to better assess or compare the abilities or development potentials of individuals or groups beyond the impressions gained from CVs or motivational letters. They serve to supplement the decision-making process together with interviews or other approaches.

Such measurement procedures can be used on-site at organisations’ offices or they can be offered as online procedures.

For psychometric procedures and selection processes, strict guidelines and standards apply in Germany and internationally, such as DIN 33430, ISO 10667 and the guidelines issued by the International Test Commission (ITC). The German DIN 33430 standard sets out strict requirements. The abcÎ team takes the quality of our procedures and methods very seriously. Our managing director, Harald Ackerschott, is a founding member of the DIN commission that wrote DIN 33430, is a co-author of the DIN standard on aptitude diagnostics, and is a co-author of a practical guideline explaining the use and implementation of DIN 33430 for recruiting.

Why are (online-) assessments used?

Psychometric methods are the most objective method for obtaining relevant information about an applicant. Even if it is not about external candidates but about existing employees, such methods can make an important contribution to fairness and objectivity.

Online assessments are presented and scored automatically; they are the same for each participant. In technical terminology this is called standardisation. This makes such procedures a very fair step in the application process for everyone; after all, everyone has the same chance.

For external candidates, the selection process itself is not just about assessment. It is also a work sample of the hiring organisation: is hiring or promotion done on the basis of personal preferences or does the company strive for a fair and transparent process? Get an idea, ask questions, and think about the answers. What can you conclude from the process, the company’s way of dealing with each other, and the way you are dealt with?

In the online format, psychometric test procedures are particularly efficient; participants can take part in the assessment when and where it suits them best. This saves both sides time-consuming travel and expenses and enables the company or organisation to to broaden the basis of applicants to consider for further selection steps with less effort.

What is measured in (online-) assessments?

A psychometric procedure usually consists of several types of tasks with different functions. They con be about cognitive performance, such as language or numeracy skills, concentration tests, knowledge tests, or tests of analytical skills. There are usually one or more correct solutions in these sorts of tasks.

Other tasks measure behavioural preferences or styles in different situations or are based on questions about attitudes and motivations. Since these tasks are about personal preferences, no right or wrong answers exist.

Cognitive tests in particular may have time limits.

Different configurations of the abcÎ assessment are possible. There is a certain element of surprise, but that is intentional. No one receives detailed information or training materials beforehand. Usually there are a number of tasks at the beginning that are limited in time and cover dimensions of information processing. They may be followed by tasks requiring judgements, spontaneous decisions, or subjective assessments.

For all participants, the following applies: if you wish, you will have the opportunity to download your individual result anonymously. If you wish, you can also provide feedback directly through the platform. All feedback is evaluated and taken seriously.

How ist the abcÎ assessment structured?

In our online assessment, the abcÎ, test-takers will work in most configurations on both cognitive skills and behavioural styles. Each task type is explained in detail and hints are provided as to how to complete it, such as whether the task is time-limited or not. Time only counts when the task is started. When the processing time has expired, the task is automatically terminated and the next block of tasks can be started.

The online assessment is available in several languages. At the beginning test-takers can select the language version they want to use. We do not assess mastery of a foreign language, so please select the language version in which you feel most confident; this is usually a test-taker’s native language or the language in which most of the test-taker’s training (school, university, apprenticeship, etc.) has been completed. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to choose the language in which it would be easiest to solve a crossword puzzle. If there is any uncertainty surrounding which language version to choose, please contact us using the contact information in the assessment invitation.

How can I best prepare for the abcÎ?

In your invitation letter you will find information on the technical preparation for participation of the online assessment abcî. In principle, you should always ensure that you have a quiet place to work so that you can concentrate on your tasks undisturbed. Work through the online assessment without stopping. It is essential that you switch off your mobile phone or other possible sources of interference.

You probably also want to prepare yourself for the content. If you are worried ahead of an assessment, it can be useful to familiarise yourself with the typical types of tasks. You can find many examples of this on the internet. However, especially or the abcÎ you don’t need to practice anything. And remember: a little tension usually increases concentration!

Above all, it is important that you are physically and mentally fit and that you start the assessment well rested. If you have been ill for a long period of time or have just passed strenuous exams, you should postpone the assessment if possible.

If participation in the online assessment is difficult for you due to a current or permanent restriction or disability, you should definitely contact us or the company that invited you to the online assessment. With the right measures we can then ensure that the procedure produces fair and reliable results for you.

What happens with the results?

The results are used by the organisation that invited you to the abcÎ to support aptitude and personnel decisions.

As part of a transparent process, it is a matter of course for us as a responsible service provider that you also can get information about your personal results. After having completed the abcÎ, you will automatically be directed to our download platform, where you can download your results for your own use.

In individual cases, there may be different processes; you may be informed of this in your invitation letter.

What happens to my data in the online assessment abcÎ?

While you are working on the online assessment, we do not collect any direct information about you that would allow us to identify you. You will receive an individual access code from our client along with the invitation, which you can use to start the assessment.

In general we do not know which access code belongs to which participant. In most cases only our client, who invited you, has access to this information and can assign the results to you. Within the framework of data processing agreements, we may take over the assignment of the codes to the names of the participants for the evaluations on behalf of certain clients. Our client will inform you of this when inviting you. In these cases we also know the assignment of access codes and participants. However, these personal data are only used to document the results and is only stored for as long as the application process takes.

In principle, all data that we process for the delivery of the assessment and and scoring are stored and processed by us exclusively on computers in Germany that have been certified according to DIN ISO 27001.

We delete data that can be traced back to a specific participant at the latest six months after completion of their online assessment unless we have been expressly instructed otherwise by the client.

We store your answers to all tasks in anonymous forms, meaning without assigning names, IP addresses, or access codes. We use these data for the evaluation and further development of our instruments. Insofar as findings are publicised, for example in scientific journals, these data are used exclusively in aggregated form.

If you would like to know which data we may have stored about you or if you have further questions about data protection in the context of abcÎ, please contact us directly: Datenschutz@ackerschott.eu