2020-11-09 HR Examiner article Assessing Values in Online Technology Ten Things We Learned stock photo img cc0 via pexels roman koval 3300448 544x408px.jpg

Today, in part three of our series we’ll look at the types of assessment, trends and observations, tips for buyers, and tips for sellers.


Assessing Values in Online Technology

Ten Things We Learned

Part Three


This article and study was co-authored by Zachary Harper, Tejal Raval, Anum Malik, and Michael Kannisto.


Series Overview


In parts one and two in this series we’ve covered the abstract and methodology and a summary of the ten things we learned in the study. Today, we’ll look at the types of assessment, trends and observations, tips for buyers, and tips for sellers. We’ll finish up the series later this week with the data from the 90-day study where we racked up 450+ hours of watching demos, asking questions, and working to understand the business model and technical approach of 110 companies.


Here’s where we are in the series:


Type of Assessment



This ended up being a topic that sometimes resulted in uncomfortable conversations with vendors. Sometimes they argued with us. Sometimes they brought in a psychologist to argue with us. While our little team certainly are not experts in assessment, we were struck by how frequently it seemed that all the many “scientists” with whom we spoke failed to devote time to helping us understand the research behind their product, or explain the mechanisms behind “mapping” variable A to variable B.


Trends and Observations


Assuming for a moment that each assessment worked as advertised, what conclusions or relationships did our research uncover? It was interesting to see that those assessments that assessed “best” were frequently those that assessed quickly.


As one might guess, short assessments also make the experience more pleasant.



Tips for Buyers


  1. Review legality of assessments in the US and abroad. Certain types of assessments are legal in some countries, and illegal in others. Ensuring EEOC and ISO compliance is important to avoid lawsuits.
  2. Spend time attaining a basic understanding of personality, values, and behavior.
  3. Ask for a technical guide for each vendor’s assessment. Then, schedule a call with their in-house researchers to explain it.
  4. Companies will usually tell you they can assess anything, regardless of if it is true or not. Know what you want to assess.
  5. Look up legal battles that involve the company, but do not assume fault because a case is open. Be wary, but do not discount them, as anyone can file a suit. The PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) can be a good way to search companies while you narrow them down. There are charges per page you view ($0.10 a page), but if you review less than $10 in a quarter, they waive the fee.


Tips for Sellers


  1. Know what your correlation coefficients represent and explain them. Do not tell your clients that you are going to “dumb it down” for them.
  2. Offer to schedule a call with your in-house researchers to explain the assessment further. Unless you also have a background in psychology, it is best to connect your client with researchers to explain it.
  3. The first contact is very important. Companies have many assessment options, and may have help as they gather initial information. We suspect that several companies dismissed us as a potential customer because they felt like they were not talking to someone with decision-making authority. How companies treated our test subject varied more than we expected.
  4. If your assessment does not offer what clients are looking for, do not waste time trying to sell your product. Leave on a good note that sets the company up to contact you in the future as they move to a new phase of a project.
  5. Do not bombard your contacts with calls and emails every week, and if they are not able to respond to your inquiry within a few hours, absolutely do not call the front desk to get a hold of them. We were also surprised how many companies seemed to view this process as a competition to see how had the best sales skills, rather than which tool worked best for the situation.




As online assessments continue to be developed and refined, they represent a real opportunity for companies to equip job seekers with meaningful information about company culture, as well as how good of a “fit” they might be. While the current vendor marketplace is filled with much noise and promise, more than a little of that is just old tools in new packaging.


Having said that, there are many genuinely clever and useful products now available. We think you should take time to learn about them.


Stop by later this week for the series conclusion where we present the data from the 90-day study where we racked up 450+ hours of watching demos and asking questions while we worked to understand the business model and technical approach of 110 companies.





photo of Tejai Raval on HRExaminer.com

Tejai Raval

Tejai Raval is a Talent Operations expert with experience in Fashion, Consumer Goods, and the Financial Industry. She has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Farleigh.


photo of Zachary Harper on HRExaminer.com

Zachary Harper

Zachary Harper is a Master’s Student at Iowa State University and a recent graduate from Washington State University Tri-Cities. He received a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management as well as a Global Leadership Certificate.


photo of Anum Mlik on HRExaminer.com

Anum Mlik

Anum Malik is an Organizational Development specialist. She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Harvard University.


photo of Michael Kannisto on HRExaminer.com

Michael Kannisto

Michael Kannisto is a Talent Acqusition professional with a strong interest in the Future of Work and Scenario Planning. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University.

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