[IPAC-List] How do you handle "insider knowledge" about tests in your context?

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Mon May 17 13:24:20 EDT 2010

I'm busy looking at candidate survey data these days, and one of the things I decided to ask was how much experience with staffing the employee had when they applied for a position. I reasoned that those with more "insider knowledge" about what happens behind the scenes would have different perceptions about a number of things, largely stemming from more realistic expectations. The data are generally supporting that view, but it prompted another thing I got curious about.

It can be the case that the same assessment tool which an employee comes into contact with in their capacity as someone on the staffing side, may be a tool used to assess *them* should they take a stab at being a candidate. For example, I may be part of a board selecting a new line manager in my own corner of the organization, and apply to a process elsewhere in the organization that uses the same tool (perhaps with different cut scores) for a middle manager position.

Now, this is not likely to be a scenario that crops up all THAT frequently, but it does crop up. How do people handle:

1) Finding out if the candidates had ever used that tool...from the hiring, rather than candidate, side (we're not talking about practice effects here)

2) Altering the assessment if it turns out to be the case.

Should just about any tool used for managerial assessment have an alternate form....just in case? Do you think of such tests as largely "immune" to insider knowledge advantage? Or is this simply a non-issue?

Just curious.

Mark Hammer

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