Strengths Assessments

Assessment design projects involving situational strengths design are one of our many psychometric test design specialities.

Situational Strengths Design

Situational judgement tests (SJTs) have also become prevalent in graduate recruitment. These tests present scenarios to applicants and asks them to select the best and the worst thing to do next. The scenarios are set within the context of the recruiting organisation, so the questions are usually perceived favourably by candidates. SJTs are very popular in the United States due to their excellent record of fairness across different ethnic groups.

We have experience of designing situational strengths tests that are generic in nature. In addition to these SJT-based situational strengths tests, we offer these two alternative psychometric test designs.

Education and public sector aptitude test design projects

  • Numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning and decision analysis tests.
  • Critical reasoning aptitude test (legal sector).
  • Situational judgement test (health sector).

Citibank Aptitude Test Design Example

  • Designing blended assessments for retail and call centre operations across the USA.
  • Allowing for cultural differences in Mexican operations.
  • Managing item writing team for SJTs, ability tests, biodata questions etc.

EPSO Aptitude Test Design Project

  • Development of project management test.
  • Design of IT skills-based aptitude tests.

Assessments Design

This psychometric test design is similar in nature to personality questionnaire design, explained here. Our bespoke strengths test design process…

  1. Has dimensions key to the role being assessed.
  2. Reflect the personality, attitudinal and motivational aspects of the role-specific dimensions.
  3. Have face valid questions.
  4. Be capable of completion in 20 minutes approx.
  5. Adopt a single-stimulus question format (Likert scale).
  6. Adopt a normative format of scoring utilising a sten look-up table (for each personality scale).

Situational strengths in the news

On BBC Radio 2, in February 2014, Dr Almuth McDowell referred to the benefits of situational judgement tests and one of the SJT example items developed by Rob Williams Assessment Ltd.

The same interview on SJT benefits also featured in The Times on 4th Feb, Dr Almuth McDowell, a lecturer at the University of Surrey, says psychometric testing has an important role to play, but only in conjunction with other measures, not least because it is possible to cheat. 

Additional situational judgment test tips are available in Rob Williams Assessment Ltd’s latest Career Builder article entitled “How to succeed at management interview tests”.

Intelligence Strengths Test Design

Our focus here is on our Intelligence Strengths Test Design.

This Test assesses the following seven intelligence strengths:

  1. Self-Growth / Self-Growth Intelligence
  2. Emotional / Emotional Intelligence
  3. Logical Reasoning / Logical Intelligence
  4. Kinesthetic / Kinesthetic Intelligence
  5. Spatial Reasoning / Spatial Reasoning Intelligence
  6. Numerical Reasoning / Numerical Reasoning Intelligence
  7. Verbal Reasoning / Verbal Reasoning Intelligence

You can take the Intelligence Strengths Test here.

Intelligence Strengths Test Feedback

Here is the link for completing your Intelligence Strengths Test.

Are your answers mainly (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g)?      You will find that you have several Intelligence Strengths. Here is a quick summary of what characterizes mainly (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g).

Mainly (a)’s – Self-Growth Aptitude / Self-Growth Intelligence

Highly independent, these people are also very independent in their thinking and actions. For example, many entrepreneurs have the strength of Self-Growth intelligence. Typically prefer to solve their own problems – valuing as they do, spending time to think on their own. Acutely aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, such people have plenty of self-motivation to achieve their personal goals and enjoy using challenges for self- development.

Mainly (b)’s – Emotional Aptitude / Emotional Intelligence

Individuals with an emotional aptitude understand what makes other people “tick” and appreciate others’ emotions, motivations and attitudes. Excellent listeners and strong communicators, such emotionally intelligent individuals enjoy spending time with other people. Excellent networkers, such people like to be around others as much as possible in order to talk and to share thoughts/feelings.

Mainly (c)’s – Logical Reasoning Aptitude / Logical Intelligence

Logically intelligent individuals prefer to think things through logically, going through the information step by step in the correct order.

Mainly (d)’s – Kinesthetic Aptitude / Kinesthetic Intelligence

Typically, those individuals with a kinesthetic aptitude have excellent control of their limbs and body. They often therefore enjoy sporting activities and being outdoors generally – anything active that requires their superior control of movement. They therefore prefer to be physical involved in tasks – to get stuck in.

Mainly (e)’s – Spatial Reasoning Aptitude / Spatial Reasoning Intelligence

People with spatial reasoning intelligence are good at visualizing issues in their heads – as well as understanding maps and diagrams. Their preference is to visualize the inter-connecting components of problems in their head.

Mainly (f)’s – Numerical Reasoning Aptitude / Numerical Reasoning Intelligence

Valuing numbers and numerical reasoning, those people with a numerical reasoning aptitude like to manipulate numbers and are quicker at doing mental arithmetic in their heads. For example, accountants and bankers often like working with numbers because of the structure and the order found in data and financial records.

Mainly (g)’s – Verbal Reasoning Aptitude / Verbal Reasoning Intelligence

Being gifted with verbal intelligence is shown in effective spoken and written communication. Such fluent speakers also enjoy reading the work of others and indulging in wordplay / word games.

Strengths Assessment Development

Psychometric test examples are useful to see the type of strengths development testing approaches.

In fact, there are many many types of psychometric test examples. Let’s consider the many different strengths that a person may possess. For example, their intelligence strengths and weaknesses from the many different types of intelligence.

The Intelligence Test demonstrates the range of possible intelligence strengths. There are many types of intelligence. For example, creative intelligence and musical aptitude which we have not included in our model.

Strengths Assessment Design

An effective competency design framework is crucial to the operation of many HR practices.

Shown below is an example of a typical competency design framework used in an assessment centre. In this case, the group exercise’s competency component of the overall assessment centre competency matrix:

– Oral Communication

How clearly and confidently the individual communicates with the group.

– Planning and Organising

How much consideration is given to planning and systematically going through the issues outlined in the scenario.

– Judgement and Decision-Making

How logically the individual makes their decisions and judges other participants’ input/comments.

– Analysis and Problem-Solving

How effectively the individual analyses the scenario’s issues and the solutions proposed.

– Finding Solutions

The creative thinking that is shown. The number and effectiveness of the ideas generated.

– Teamworking

How well the individual works with and encourages the other group exercise participants.

Strengths framework design

Having a competency framework helps an organisation to:

– Know which knowledge, skills and abilities are important for success in each role

– Measure and benchmark organisational performance

– Select, develop and performance manage employees (against the competencies associated with each role).

– Is it more cost effective to adapt an already validated model?

– How best to get buy-in across the business? Firstly, for involvement in the development stage. Secondly, to get commitment to future use of the validated framework.

– What role analysis techniques are most suitable for analysing each of the job roles?

– How to benchmark employee performance against the trial competency framework?

– How to validate the effectiveness of the draft competency framework?

Strengths-based Telephone interview design

Previous projects that have encompassed telephone interview sift designs. These include:

  • Competency-based sift design for telephone and cv-based sifts (finance sector).
  • Telephone interview script design (consultancy firm).
  • Conducting telephone interviews for the armed services.
  • Telephone interview design (manufacturing sector).

Strengths Development – Role Analysis

There follows a Role Analysis Case Study: a US bank had two specific requirements: ensuring a representative sample by samplying sufficiently high number of people per role. Interviewees were mainly high performers; sampled across both urban and rural branches; with their offices scattered right across the U.S.

1) Strengths Telephone-based interviews

Firstly, these formed a large part of the job analysis research. The advantages of using a telephone-based approach was that a standard template could be created with a script to adhere to whilst also allowing some follow-up question flexibility.

2) Assessment Designs – Visionary interviews

Secondly, these were run on a more select basis with a range of senior managers (within each job role). A scripted template ensured that all psychologists asked the standard set of questions. Face-to-face visionary interviews were also arranged with the most senior personnel at some of the focus group sites.

3) Strengths Focus groups

Thirdly, these were conducted in several American States, situated in Central, Eastern and Western time zones. A semi-structured focus group format represented the most suitable job analysis technique to use. Six participants, drawn from each job role, were invited to attend each role-specific focus group session.

4) Strengths Role survey

In addition, a role survey was created based on the bank’s competency framework, with two questions per competency. Survey results were also used to inform the item writing process.

The final 5-10 minute survey had two banks of questions with the stems:

  • How important do you do each of the following on a daily basis? and how important are the following to your job?

Example job analysis briefings

Candidate Experience Briefing – A separate briefing detailed the client style and language (US English) needs.

The main aims from a “Candidate Experience” perspectives included:

  • Reflecting the company brand
  • Engaging job applicants
  • Providing some elements of a realistic job preview
  • Overall look and feel to be consistent

Assessment Designs – Focus Group Briefing

The focus group aims were to confirm the role profile interview data.

Firstly, focuses on how best to structure the upcoming focus group sessions. Secondly, a consideration of the outputs required. Thirdly, how individual consultants could best run their focus group sessions.

Situational Strengths Test

There is a specialised form of situational judgement test called the Situational Strengths Test. One company that uses this test is Lloyds pharmacy, where the CAPP Situational Strengths Test is used to recruit pharmacists.

Situational strengths tests have these advantages (in any context):

– Easy to administer to large audience

– Relatively strong validity

– Can assess sample of the relevant KSA’s

– Refreshed items possible

– More difficult to fake responses

Bespoke VBR Example

  • 3-4 scenarios will assess each value, giving approx. 15-16 questions
  • Provides accurate and meaningful feedback to each respondent
  • This practical job preview has the advantage of using the same SJT format

Assessment Designs – Situational Exercises

  • Scenarios from job analysis used to design simulation exercises
  • Parallel version developed to maximise exercise integrity and minimise risk of applicants sharing details of tools and compromising the validity of the assessment process

The following situational strengths scenarios are examples only. Actual client projects always start with the most suitable level of role analysis. Then again validate the content against client requirement by choosing the most predictive scenarios and answer options.

Every scenario used also gives candidates a realistic insight into the role. Thus your applicants’s understanding of their own fit with the role. This operates in addition to the assessment component (of the same situational strengths test).

Each scenario used also gives candidates a realistic insight into the role. Thus your applicants’s understanding of their own fit with the role. This operates in addition to the assessment component (of the same situational strengths test).

Every scenario used also gives candidates a realistic insight into the role. Thus your applicants’s understanding of their own fit with the role. This operates in addition to the assessment component (of the same situational strengths test).

Aptitude test design projects

Ability tests for graduates, including problem-solving aptitude tests and abstract reasoning tests.

UKCAT test practice questions for several clients. Each project encompas

  • Verbal reasoning practice tests;
  • Numerical reasoning practice tests,
  • Abstract reasoning practice tests and
  • Decision-making practice aptitude tests.

Firstly, verbal analogies test.
Secondly, ability tests at basic, graduate and at senior managerial levels.
Thirdly, numeracy tests.
Fourthly, practice critical reasoning ability tests (for the LNAT);

And critical reasoning tests.

Next, literacy tests.

Finally, sorting tests, checking tests and other administrative level tests.

Job Preview Design

Many application processes now start online with a realistic job preview design that potential applicants take on the company website to “test” if the role still appears suitable after finding out about the realities of the role. Hence it’s a job preview but a realistic one.

Realistic role preview design

Typically, the test format is similar to an SJT in that job scenarios are presented which give the test-taker / job applicant an idea of what the job entails. Whilst the realistic job preview (RJP) is not a testing phase often there will be a more sophisticated SJT in a subsequent phase. In more sophisticated examples still graphics or video technology is used to further enhance the Realistic job preview / SJT experience for candidates.

This are an area that Rob Williams Assessment Ltd also specialise in. This builds on our situational judgement test design and we are often asked to design both a realistic job preview and a situational judgement test at the same time.

Our approach to the design of realistic job previews has the following phases.

Step-by-step role preview design 

(1) Planning a representative sample

(2) Conducting a highly detailed  set of telephone interviews and focus groups.

(3) Item writing

(4) SJT and RJP item reviewing

(5) compile a trial version to be reviewed by 10-12 subject matter experts (SME’s) in the role

(6) Trialling the situational judgement test

(7) Statistical analysis

(8) Presentation of trial results at standard-setting meeting with core SME’s

(9) Validation and norming the situational judgement test

10 personality tips to help your Study Skills

  1. Find time to study – If you manage your time badly, inevitably you will be less productive than if you manage it well. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels, especially around exam time.
  2. Keep to a routine – Work in the same place at the same time each day. Also, make sure you have everything you need before you start.
  3. Work to your strengths – Schedule challenging tasks for when you are most alert, and routine ones for when you may be feeling more tired.
  4. Don’t waste time – Rather than reading irrelevant material, skim and scan to help you decide if you need to read something critically and in-depth.
  5. Avoid distractions – Related to above. Switch emails and social media off to prevent your mind wandering while trying to learn new information!
  6. Regularly review your notes – Edit out what you don’t need. Ask yourself the question: “Is this information is relevant to my assignment, and how does it relate to what I already know.”
  7. Vary how you to take notes – For example, use Mind Maps and diagrams to generate ideas and linear notes to focus your ideas for essay or report plans.
  8. Be critical – Make sure that you always add your own comment to every concept or quotation that you write down. Maintain a critical and analytical approach at all times!
  9. Plan your work – If writing an assignment produce a detailed plan before you start to write it. This will make the drafting process much less stressful
  10. Understand different styles  – By understanding different writing styles – such as academic, journal and journalistic styles – you can put what you read into perspective. In particular, you can become more aware of any particular bias.

Aptitude test practice books

Rob Williams’s five practice aptitude tests books are all available on Amazon:

Firstly, in our opinion this is the best aptitude test practice book for Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests.

Secondly, in our opinion this is the best aptitude test practice book forPassing Numerical Reasoning Tests.

Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests gif

Assessment Design

Additional assessment practice

Our psychometric test designs

Strengths Design  ~ Realistic Job Preview Design ~ Personality Test Design ~ Situational Judgment Test Design ~ Psychometric Test Design.