[IPAC-List] Value of cognitive ability testing for Journey-Level skilled trade jobs

Joel Wiesen jwiesen at appliedpersonnelresearch.com
Tue Mar 15 20:59:18 EDT 2016


Here are some more stray thoughts.

1. If you fail people who are doing the job, they may get insulted and 
perhaps become outraged.  Outraged candidates may find an attorney and sue.

2. Defending an employment discrimination charge will be hard if the 
applicants who failed are currently doing the job and have done the job 
for many years.

3. Journey level job performance is supported by crystalized knowledge 
of the trade in question as well as g, but how much of each?  The 
validity of g declines with time from hire, which seems to favor 
crystalized knowledge.

4. g might be more important for some trades jobs than others, depending 
on the nature of the job assignments.


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Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
Applied Personnel Research
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On 3/15/16 5:10 PM, Reindl, Kevin wrote:
> Hi all,
> I wanted to get others’ opinions/experiences on a question that our
> company is grappling with (if you can point to specific research that
> helps shed light on this, even better):
> Here’s the situation: We typically hire employees into entry-level
> training or apprentice-level jobs for our skilled trades (electrical,
> mechanical maintenance, etc.). When we hire entry level employees, we
> use an array of basic aptitude, cognitive and personality-based
> assessments in the selection process (e.g., mechanical aptitude,
> numerical reasoning, spatial skills, conscientiousness, etc.).
> However, because of recent gaps in our journey-level workforce (e.g.,
> due to retirements, etc.), we have been recruiting and hiring
> experienced journey-level employees…i.e., those who have been performing
> the same work at other companies or have already completed
> apprenticeships elsewhere. For these jobs we have been using the same
> set of aptitude/cognitive and personality assessments, PLUS a test of
> technical knowledge required in the trade. There is also a
> behavior-based interview and technical interview to round out the
> selection process.
> There is debate in our company regarding whether there is value in
> continuing the use of broad-based aptitude/cognitive tests for these
> journey level hires.
> 1.On one side of the argument, the cognitive tests are well-validated
> assessments that have shown to be predictive of success in a wide range
> of similar jobs, and since we “require” candidates to take them for the
> entry level jobs, why wouldn’t we require them for higher level jobs?
> 2.On the other side of the argument, why would we need to assess general
> cognitive ability for experienced journey-level candidates, since they
> have presumably been performing similar work at other companies. Also,
> since we also assess their technical knowledge in other tests, require X
> years of experience, and in many cases require them to have completed a
> certified apprenticeship…then what added value is measuring their basic
> aptitude to do this kind of work?
> I know that internal local research/a validity study might provide some
> answers, but before we initiate that level of research, I’d be
> interested in thoughts from the IPAC group…
> ·Which side do you lean toward #1 or #2 above, and why?
> ·What do you do for similar situations in your organization?
> ·Do you know of any research (single study or meta-analysis) that may
> shed some light on the matter?
> As always, I look forward to your thoughts!
> *Kevin Reindl*
> Pacific Gas & Electric
> Human Resources
> Assessments and Organizational Insights
> 245 Market Street, N2J
> San Francisco, CA 94105
> Office: 415-973-7013
> Mobile: 619-322-3368
> k1rq at pge.com <mailto:k1rq at pge.com> or kevin.reindl at pge.com
> <mailto:kevin.reindl at pge.com>
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