How the Best Got Better. Reimagining SHL’s Flagship Product – the OPQ
SHL enhanced the experience of the world’s leading personality assessment for predicting performance, potential, and fit.
By Gerianne De Klerk
The new Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) reimagined, released in September, is modern, visually appealing, and compatible on any device. It bridges science and technology to deliver a psychometrically sound, exciting, and, dare I say fun, measure of workplace personality.
This is important because the ultra-competitive market for talent requires a recruiting strategy that meets the raised expectations of candidates. Traditional approaches to recruitment are not producing quality hires, and organizations need to establish a positive brand image from the first interaction with their candidates to attract top talent. The use of solutions like personality assessments in the recruitment and hiring process improves the chances of hiring top talent but typically lacks the attraction element.
Workplace personality questionnaires are typically long, contain seemingly repetitive questions, and can lead to a frustrating experience for the candidate. These traditional tests do not meet the evolving needs of recruiting teams who are looking for that positive candidate “experience” along with predictive people-insights to understand the potential and fit of their candidates for a specific job.
For decades, organizations have utilized the OPQ – the world’s leading personality assessment for predicting performance, potential, and fit – as an unparalleled resource for understanding talent across the whole employee lifecycle. But we knew that we had to evolve the experience of the OPQ for it to continue to hold the same value for our current and future customers. This took a major combined effort from our research AND technology teams, so we could design an incredibly engaging assessment while maintaining the validity of the results!
We reimagined the OPQ with the participant in mind, aiming for a much more engaging experience. The fruit of our work resulted in a significantly reduced cognitive effort required to complete the questions and it created a response flow that results in a faster and easier experience for the participant. This all while retaining the same scientific rigor and psychometric functioning for which the OPQ is known.
Faster Completion Times
The reimagined OPQ can be completed up to 50% times faster! We were able to achieve this through a couple of design approaches:
Select the best statement: Rather than presenting three statements and then asking the participant to select a statement that most and then least describes them, the participant is instead asked only one question: ‘select the statement that describes you best’. Once they make their selection, this ‘best’ endorsed statement disappears automatically and the participant is asked to now choose the best option out of the remaining two statements.
Focused decision making: The fact that the highest-ranked statement is no longer shown on-screen forces the participant to focus on the task at hand, not getting distracted by decisions already made. Participants only think in one direction; to select the statements that best describe them out of the options presented and not having to think in opposites of ‘most like me’ and ‘least like me’.
The Equivalency Factor
Our customers trust us because we have delivered the most rigorous and transparent talent strategy solutions on the market. Candidate engagement is significant and important, but we can never sacrifice the science for the experience. So we had to achieve both; an improved experience without weakening the science.
We conducted several studies where samples of participants completed the OPQ in the new design in order to empirically demonstrate the equivalence of the reimagined design with the current design and to prove the fundamental and unrivaled psychometric functioning of the OPQ remains intact. Results show that the reimagined design is functionally equivalent to the previous design.
This empirical evidence supporting the equivalence of scores means:
Scoring as well as the functioning of the instrument is not affected by the change in response mechanism and design
Users can safely compare results across versions
Users can apply the same norms
Users can expect the same validity outcomes when using the reimagined OPQ
What Our Customers Say
The reimagined OPQ bridges science and technology. It offers an efficient, accessible, and positive candidate experience using interactive elements and mobile-first designs on our technology platform. It delivers a psychometrically sound and exciting measure of workplace personality. But don’t just take my word for it… listen to what our customers have to say:
´´The reimagined OPQ is a huge leap forward in assessment technology. The improved instructions, easier question format and feedback screens make it more engaging for candidates and quicker to complete. The OPQ is the best candidate experience tool on the market for a test of its type.´´
Mark Whitehead The Adecco Group
This project was a huge undertaking, and the results were so worth the effort. And the best news of all is that SHL is innovating like crazy right now! This is one of dozens of exciting solutions coming out of our team. I highly encourage that you keep an eye out for what’s coming next!
Dr.Gerianne is the former Managing Research Scientist within the Research and Development team at SHL, with 20 years of experience in the talent assessment industry and a strong background in psychometrics. In her role at SHL, she focused her efforts on the intersection between testing and technology and the opportunities this provides to drive innovation in assessment design. She was responsible for the growth and development of one of the most well-known and utilized occupational personality questionnaires, the OPQ. Gerianne holds a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.