Using Unsupervised Internet Based Ability Testing

Views, Issues and Risks:  Towards a Guide for Effective Practice

Introduction  Here’s the nub of the matter in hand within this article:  ….applicants were born to lie and all high stakes assessments are likely to elicit deception(Dilchert, Ones, Viswesvaran and Deller, (2006) cited in Peterson, et al. (2011)).

There – I thought that would get your attention!    Particularly if, like many others you have considered using ability testing at a distance via internet mediated technologies in selection.  There is clearly a lot of demand for effective tools in this area of testing.  Younger, (2008) notes that 100 percent of Fortune 500 employers offer an online process for recruitment.  Arthur et al (2011) and Tippins et al (2006) both cite the recognised benefits of using remote internet testing; speed of process with reduced application to hire times, convenience for the respondent in taking the test at a time and place of their choosing, the ‘long reach’ of the method being able to access applicants anywhere without the traditional travel costs, and reduced cost generally, amongst other cited benefits.  But these benefits come with potential risks as indicated above.
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ONET Job Suggestions in the OIP+

ONET is an online resource offering detailed descriptions of occupations across the world of work. The ONET database currently lists 965 separate occupations, each individually described, explaining what every occupation requires in knowledge, skills and abilities.

The OIP+ identifies an individual’s occupational related interests:

  • Artistic – Activities involving creative/artistic skills
  • Practical – Activities involving engineering, machine tools, the use of machinery
  • Scientific – Activities involving the understanding of natural and physical sciences
  • Administrative – Activities involving administration and well established procedures
  • Nurturing – Activities centred on helping and caring for others
  • Logical – Activities involving problem solving and analytical skills
  • Persuasive – Activities involving persuasive skills and interaction with customers
  • Managerial – Activities involving management and the control of others

These interests have been mapped to all 965 occupations that are listed by ONET.  Allowing for far more accurate job suggestions that are based entirely on the individuals specific interests. These suggestions are then refined further to target combinations of peoples highest interests allowing middling interests to still influence the outcome, making the suggestions far more accurate.

The OIP+ report describes each of the individuals highest interests, and then offers occupation suggestions based on all of their interests. These occupation suggestions are then broken down into three ability levels, High ability, Moderate ability, and Low ability.

Each suggestion offered is matched to the individuals interests using the Barratt Coefficient, meaning that only the most relevant occupations are suggested, and ones that have little or no relevance to the individual are ignored.

Also, each suggestion includes the ONET SOC code, that when clicked on (ctrl + Click) will link directly to the ONET site for a full description of the specific job. These description explain:

  • the typical tasks involved in this job
  • the skill required for the job
  • the background knowledge that is required
  • the abilities the individual should have for the job
  • the activities they will be expected to perform in the role
  • the expected qualifications the individual will be required to have
  • the typical salary they could earn.

The OIP+ report then goes on to help individuals explore their interests further, providing several exercises for them to complete with the guidance administrator to help them map out their interests and set themselves goals for achieving them.


A sample OIP+ report can be downloaded below:

OIP+ Sample Report