Faking is the intentional distortion of an individual’s personality assessment answers in order to look better in their results than the individual is in reality. Faking creates problems for those using personality assessment information in a selection process.
Faking can affect the fairness of a selection process, the measurement properties of assessments, as well as their predictive validity. Read more about predictive validity...
Researchers, test makers, and practitioners have come up with several different methods to detect, correct for, and prevent faking.
Several methods have been advocated to assist in deterring faking happening in the first place and these are:
Most good personality assessments have measures that detect whether a person is answering in such as way as to indicate faking or intentional distortion, these are:
- Social desirability scales – these scales are designed to detect overly favourable answering by an individual
- Consistency scales – these scales measure the level of consistency of answering, often those who fake are less consistent
- Bogus items – these items ask about knowing or doing things that are not real, therefore if an individual endorses these then they are lying or exaggerating their results
- Timing of item responses – slower response times indicate a person may be over thinking the question and therefore may be trying to falsify their responses
Once faking has occurred then there are a couple of methods that can try to correct the result:
- Retesting once faking has occurred and asking the individual to respond more candidly the second time
- Corrections for faking in a profile – however these corrections have some downsides and often make the profile less valid
However, if you are stuck with a profile you suspect is faked you have several options on how to handle this in a selection situation.
- Remove the candidate from the selection process as the results have questionable validity
- Ignore the assessment results and verify candidate fit by other sources
- Interpret the results with the appropriate cautions regarding their dubious validity
At Niche we believe the integrity of the testing process and results is of upmost importance, as such we use many of the above methods to detect, prevent and correct for faking.