iWAM Profile Frequently Asked Questions
Preliminary Note: This document aims at answering some Frequently Asked Questions in plain English. If needed, better documented (scientific) answers may be available.
- How can you be accurate enough with only 40 questions?
- The 40 questions of the iWAM questionnaire compare to 200 test items in a conventional questionnaire. Moreover, the power of iWAM comes from the principle that you have to order 5 statements for each question, in stead of scoring each statement independently (as a "classic" test does). Thus we collect more information than you generally get from 200 items. Statistical tests have shown that the correlations between these 200 test items and test parameters is very high, while intercorrelations between the 48 test parameters are reasonably low (comparable or better than for other tests, such as 16PF, which has a good reputation for factor independence). The parameters are quite independent: we have tried factor analysis and linear regressions, but couldn't come up with any simplification or subset of the parameters that really made sense (statistically speaking, that is).
- Why are these sentences so general?
- This is done on purpose. Given we are studying cognitive styles or thinking styles, we want you to think through the questions, filling out what it means for you. Even if they seem "general", the sentences are designed as much as possible so that they will trigger only one meta-program pattern. Also, this assures that taking the test doesn't require any specific knowledge (iWAM is NOT an intelligence test).
- What are the conditions of use of this test?
- The management report and the attitude sorter report are meant to be readable "as is". Of course, we recommend having a trained person to administer the test (check whether the test instructions are well understood) and to give feedback on the test (the latter is especially mentioned in the Testing standards from the American Psychological Association if the test user wants to interpret the test results further).
Also, for the US, it's important to mention that iWAM complies to the EEOC guidelines. To summarize it, as long as you can prove you are testing a person based on what they are required to be doing on the job, you're fine. But let us give you a more complete explanation. First, iWAM only measures work-related information: all iWAM parameters refer to important or critical work behaviors or work outcomes. Secondly our tool does not discriminate based on gender, age, education level, etc (but it will show the cultural attitude differences that exist in reality).
(The discussion forum for iWAM users, provides some statistical information on iWAM tests and test differences between age groups, gender, cultures, etc.)
Thirdly, to be completely "safe" we recommend building reference models (produced under supervision of jobEQ, as defined in the Full Services).
For models of reference, we can provide extensive evidence for the validity of the selection procedure. Basically, if you have a model of reference, even if the use of iWAM in that particular case would have a disparate impact on a certain group, we can prove that the impact is due to specific attitude requirements of the job and that the required attitude is shown to be present in top performers and absent in others.
Of course, if you don't have such a model of reference and decide to do some sort of discrimination (e.g. only hiring goal-oriented, proactive people), then it's up to you to prove that these criteria are indeed relevant for the job.
- If one profiles a position at work and hires someone with the iWAM profile that best matches, then that person may not be a match for future jobs in the organization. How can one blend profiles and traits from different jobs to find someone who has the "right stuff" to progress?
- Question is whether one wants someone that is a very good performer for the current job or whether you are also looking further, to a future job - this can be built into the profile design by a consultant, by blending the 2 profiles, enlarging some scales so that the future behavior/attitude is also taken into account, or by even using the profile for that future job as the recruiting standard and redesigning today's job so that the recruited person can cope with the current job. Much has to do with your HR policies: are you offering a career path to the person or do you focus on filling a position at a particular level? Does one need to make a promotion to be better off, or do you use a flat structure with broadbanding scales that allow experts to remain in their jobs and still get better pay?
Next to designing the "right profile" (eventually a blended one), the question you ask is also linked to flexibility (essentially coping strategies to function in conditions that are different from your preferences). The reality is a bit more "colorful" than just black & white: it's almost impossible to have a "perfect" match between a candidate and profile, given that the iWAM profile has more possible combinations than there are people on this planet! If you look at the
"iWAM Reference Comparison Report" sample, you'll find that everybody will be in the "red zone" for some variables. Ranking candidates means putting those with the closest match (the least red) on top of the list. You start by inviting those near the top of the list for an interview, in order to detect to what degree they have the needed coping strategies, solving the "red points".
- What makes this instrument unique among others focused on EQ? What are advantages and what may be some limits?
- There are 3 ways to look at EQ, the first one is competencies (e.g. the EQ Map by Cooper & Sawaaf or jobEQ's COMET/EQ questionnaire), the second one is knowledge of the working of Emotions (The test of Mayer & Savoley) and the third one is looking at attitude. IWAM is an attitude & motivation test - in fact for other purposes we use the COMET/EQ as 360� feedback instrument or behavior based interviews, such as our COMET interview methodology.
Why an attitude test? Simple: if someone doesn't have an attitude that fits with developing emotional intelligence, it's no use of training the person. (the same is true for other competencies: if someone doesn't have an attitude that fits with the requirements of your organization, say for instance of salespeople, training the person in sales skills wont help very much.)
- Is this test validated? What can you say about its validation?
- a) iWAM is based on the LAB Profile pen & paper test which was developed in the US by Rodger Bailey of LAB Profile International. It was further refined by Patrick Merlevede for jobEQ. We started by calibrating the test for Belgium & France in late 2000 (adapting & translating the questionnaire, testing hundreds of people, generating a correlation matrix, ect.) and created a "generic Anglo-Saxon" cultural group around the same period. In November 2001, we have added separate UK and US standard groups. Meanwhile several other languages and standard groups are available. As a rule, jobEQ will add standard groups for other countries as soon as we have 100+ persons of that country that filled out iWAM in a validated way. For designing a new language version, we will work with a team consisting of one of jobEQ's experts, in combination with several LAB Profile specialists mastering the new language and then starting a validation cycle resulting in a new standard group. Also, our validation system allows us to build specific standard groups, e.g. representing the culture of an organization and we can also build models of reference for a specific job functions in a specific organization. The more specific a standard group or reference model is, the more precise the test use becomes. For these reference models, we have proven that T-tests will show whether there is a significant difference between the best persons doing a certain job and less good employees. We do these T-tests as part of building the model of reference.
b) Our users learn other ways to check a person's answers to the test, by asking specific questions and by trying out specific motivational patterns that fit what the test has measured. This test-retest shows a 90% validity, defined as: from the interview we may find some inconsistencies for 10% of the candidates. For there 10%, generally there are one or 2 pattern sets wrong.
- Are the multiple language versions of the test comparable? How does the test translation process work?
- The different language versions of the test measure exactly the same constructs. If a test is available in the mother tongue of that person, we recommend filling out the test in that language, unless the person is also fluent in another language. Each language version of the iWAM process has been separately calibrated using a standard group. The translation was done by native experts, in collaboration with jobEQ. The resulting questionnaire was tested for understandability, both by native people understanding the test concepts as by people without subject knowledge. We asked persons to fill out the test in different languages, and found that their results were very comparable. If there were differences, this had to do with context differences, where people link some thinking patterns or some types of experiences to cultural contexts (this means that they behave somewhat differently if they are immersed in a different culture: in other words: the differences found correspond to REAL differences in behavior!)
- How can you stop people from falsifying the test? How do you know they falsified it?
- At jobEQ, we don't believe that you can really prevent that persons falsify a test (this goes for any test). This becomes an issue as soon as people think they will benefit from falsifying it (this is a risk in recruiting). Of course, the question is: "Would you want to hire someone that does?" According to the Standard of the American Psychological Association, cheating by test takers is inappropriate and test users may take sanctions against them... However, we provide 3 ways of checking the consistency and honesty of answers:
1.The graphical and statistical reports include a section to check consistency in the answers;
2.The LAB Profile® interview methodology to get the test information through asking specific questions;
3.The LAB Profile® methodology and the iWAM management report predict which kind of influencing language will motivate the person and which language doesn't. An interviewer is trained to use this language and check the non-verbal effects of using the influencing language.
If a task taker unwillingly caused testing irregularities, it is recommended to cancel or withhold the test results and eventually promptly retest the person in case of disputes.