From the Greek διαγνωστικός, the term diagnostics originally referred to a facility for differentiation, or for making differentiating judgements. In today’s understanding, the essence of diagnostics is recognizing something that is not obvious and not easily accessible to everyone.
Our main concerns
In our understanding, the intention of applied diagnostics is to gain insights for differentiating between people, with the goal of providing a solid foundation for decisions and actions, using the methods of scientific psychology to gather information. On the one hand, the process involves substantive issues, such as identifying personal skills, traits and motivations. On the other hand, statistical methods can also help in gaining insights into potentials and competence.
Requirements analysis as the basis
The provisions of the German standard on proficiency assessment (DIN 33430) are clear when it comes to the basis of diagnostic work: Without analyzing the requirements and defining the target area for which judgments are to be made, there is not much point to using diagnostic tools. Therefore, it is essential to define the requirements in advance, and then define or design the tools that match them.
Basics of assessment
It has proven useful to divide the diagnostic basis into three different areas that can each be assessed using different methods and tools. For employees to do “a good job” in their positions, they must have the relevant knowledge, the skills to apply it and the right motivation, that is to say that ultimately, they must want to do the job. This may sound simple, but it is a challenge in diagnostics and assessment, as each aspect requires different tools and perspectives. Ultimately, we will only be able to say if someone is truly successful at a job once they actually work in that position.
For this reason, a comprehensive assessment of competence requires a combination of different tools – one mix that has proven its worth, in particular, is that of face-to-face assessments combined with objective tools such as online assessments. In such a process, the validity of individual tools is increased by their combination with other tools.
From the general to the specific
The usefulness of combining tools holds particularly true for psychometric tests, which are useful sources of information and form a good basis for HR decisions when combined with other methods. That is why they are an important element of diagnostic practice. For this reason, our online assessment platform PERLS® comprises only standardized tests that ensure objective and fair comparability between candidates, in combination with high standards for reliability and validity.
In summary: Taken together, a person’s work habits, personality traits, experiences and achievements provide a framework for assessing their fit, aptitude and potential for a certain job.