20. juli 2020

How to assess the candidate’s credibility

Learn more about how to read People Test Systems' personality test (PTP) if you want to know more about the candidate's credibility and integrity.

100 years of research in staff selection have shown that the intelligence test is the most accurate of 31 tested methods, when it comes to predicting whether a hire will be successful or not (Schmidt, Oh & Shaffer, 2016). Research has also shown that the best supplement to the intelligence test is an integrity test.

In this article, we will therefore delve into how you can learn more about the candidate’s credibility and integrity through our PTP analysis.

Why do credibility and integrity play a role in the workplace?

The candidate’s credibility and integrity are important in a work context, as these traits provide an indication of the interests that will be the candidate’s primary drivers.

Are they their own interests, or the interests of the company?

A candidate with low credibility and integrity may tend to seek personal gain. For example, this could manifest itself in a candidate exaggerating their own abilities, or laying it on thick when talking about their results. And that can be a problem when you need to choose the right employee for a particular task, or if resources need to be moved from one department to another.

On the other hand, in some cases you may want to bring an employee on board who is able to ignore the negative aspects of a product they have to sell, or who can project in a way that makes others see them as exceptional.

How do we measure credibility in a PTP?

At People Test Person, we measure credibility based on three credibility parameters:

  • Authenticity of answers: The extent to which the person is realistic in their general assessment of what is possible and not possible.
  • Realistic self-evaluation: The extent to which the person provides a realistic account of themselves that neither exaggerates nor understates their abilities and competences.
  • Concordance: Consistency when answering questions of similar meaning.

Initially, it is always the credibility of the personality test that is measured through these three parameters. All tests are assigned a credibility score, which is distributed as follows:

We continuously track the distribution of scores across the credibility parameters. The latest data extract shows that 6% of the tests have low credibility. When a test has a low credibility, we always recommend taking a fresh test. If credibility is also low in the new test, the candidate’s credibility should be a point to explore in an interview, as well as verifying the information the candidate has provided (references, CV, etc.).

It can be hard to know why a candidate provides unreliable information.

There are two types of candidates who provide unreliable information – those who are aware that they are doing it, and those who do it unknowingly.

It can be difficult to distinguish between the two types, but when you see an analysis with low credibility that does not change with retesting, you might hypothesise that the candidate subconsciously has a particularly positive self-perception, and that this is probably part of his or her behavioural patterns.

One reason why a candidate might provide unreliable information could be that the candidate has an unrealistic self-image, and is convinced that they can do much more than they are actually capable of.

Another explanation may be that the candidate has tried to fit in or adapt by answering what they think the employer would like to hear. This might apply particularly when scores on socially desirable attributes such as Self-control or Mood stability are high.

If you intend to hire a candidate who may (consciously or unconsciously) provide unreliable information, it is important to understand their motives for doing so, and in what situations it may occur.

Be aware of your own behaviour

When examining a person’s credibility, do so respectfully, curiously, and directly.

As described in the previous section, there may be several reasons why the candidate has provided unreliable information; and if you take an accusatory approach, you will never find out.

We recommend starting the conversation in a neutral language, where you tell the candidate that the test result indicates a low credibility. From this point, and in cooperation with the candidate, your task is to try to find an explanation. You can do this with open-ended questions such as:

  • What was your intention when you answered the questions?
  • What areas do you consider to be particularly crucial for success in this job?
  • In what situations are you very aware of those around you, and have wanted to satisfy them with your answers?
  • When do you consciously aim to set the bar really high?
  • Do your ambitions sometimes become unrealistic? And what do you do in those situations?

At the same time, you need to have some very direct questions that make a deliberate lie difficult:

  • You spoke well about your role in Project X. If I were to call your manager at the time and ask about the project, what do you think he/she might highlight about you?

Good luck in finding your next dream employee!

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