Why We Trust OPQ Questionnaire

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Why We Trust OPQ Questionnaire

Employee’s experience is not the only thing necessary for the successful execution of a task. Important components of effectiveness are the skills and the personal qualities of an employee. They are difficult to identify judging only by a resume, so professional and objective assessment of candidates requires additional tools. One of such tools is the questionnaire which identifies generic competencies. We have learned from its creators, CEB’s SHL Talent Measurement, how trustworthy it actually is and how its effectiveness is confirmed by scientific research.

The features of an individual, that influence human behavior at work, can be identified by a professional personality questionnaire – Occupational Personality Questionnaires. According to its results, the personal potential of a candidate can be compared with the required competencies for a position.

The first version of the questionnaire was created by SHL in 1984 for production companies. Today, CEB’s SHL Talent Measurement is a global leader in talent assessment: 10,000 organizations in 110 countries and 40 industries use the company’s services. OPQ questionnaire became mandatory when applying for a job in the largest and most successful companies: Coca-Cola, IKEA, Phillip Morris, Volvo, Gazprom, Heineken, and others.

Since its creation, the OPQ questionnaire is constantly being improved in order to stay one step ahead of developing assessment technology. The current version OPQ32 is used by companies to improve the efficiency of a number of HR-processes:

  • Hiring of new staff;
  • Identifying development needs;
  • Formation of personnel reserve;
  • Identifying potential leaders (HiPo);
  • Formation of effective teams;
  • Audit of talent;
  • Carrying out organizational changes.

What is the proof of OPQ’s effectiveness?
Hundreds of thousands of people fill out OPQ annually. Why do companies trust it in matters related to the most valuable resource – their employees? Over the past 30 years, SHL held a large number of studies in different countries and business sectors, in order to prove the effectiveness of the questionnaire in assessing employees’ future success. Compared with other instruments, OPQ has high reliability and validity, which are the main quality criteria for psychometric assessment. We’ll talk more about them.

Reliability equals accuracy
Imagine an archer. His arrows repeatedly hit the same point on a target. This archer is reliable. Reliability of psychometric test indicates constant measurement accuracy. This indicator is very important for candidates’ assessment because an unreliable test is meaningless. You need to know how accurate the results are, to make realistic and relevant conclusions.

In psychometrics two main types of reliability are distinguished:

  • Sustainability of results and test-retest reliability – the probability of obtaining a similar result when passing a test repeatedly;
  • Internal consistency – shows how each individual test element is associated with the overall result.

OPQ meets both of these requirements. Recent studies indicate that its average value on the scale of reliability equals 0.81 (the minimum required value if 0.76). These data were recognized by the external independent evaluation of the British Psychological Society.

Return on Investment and validity
Validity defines to what extent test results are consistent with stated objectives. For HR the most important one is the validity of criteria, which is the correspondence of test results with predetermined employee performance criteria.

For companies, this figure is important, because the validity of an assessment tool is directly linked to their return on investment ratio (ROI). The return on investment in the selection of each candidate is determined by multiplying the three following factors:

  • The difference in the benefits that are brought by high-performing and average employees;
  • The selection ratio (the percentage of hired candidates to the total number of applicants);
  • The validity of the tools used in the selection.

For example, ROI with the validity value of 0.3 is two times greater than the one with the validity value of 0.15. If you choose the assessment tool with greater validity, it is more likely to ensure that you recruit the best employees.

Criterion validity of the OPQ questionnaire has been confirmed by dozens of studies with the total of 5000 participants. In these studies, the real values of OPQ scales of a successful employee were compared with evaluation criteria selected by the employee’s superior. All estimated values of correlation between the test results and the performance criteria were significant: OPQ has good validity and predicts work success.

Examples of research on OPQ32 criteria validity

  1. The success of the supervisors in retail (258 participants in the study)
    The study was conducted by an American retail company. It was necessary to identify the personal constructs that can predict the effectiveness of supervisors in the supply chain. Conductors used a two-part model that consisted of OPQ questionnaire and managers’ evaluation of the company’s own standard of competencies, which was previously studied in SHL. There were two major factors of success identified based on the analysis of this model: performance of tasks and relationships with people. The results showed that values of OPQ scales, that related to the successful execution of work tasks and establishing communication, clearly correlated with the managers’ scores on the two selected factors.
  2. The success of the hairdressers who work in beauty salons (253 study participants). The study was also conducted by an American company. As in the previous study, the same external criteria for measuring success were used: managers’ evaluation of “tasks performance” and “relationships with people”. The results demonstrated a clear conceptual link between the two criteria and assessed values of their respective OPQ scales. In addition, certain OPQ scales significantly correlated with each criterion directly.

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