Understanding Trait Scale Confidence Factors


The first and most important point you must remember is that the Confidence Factor does not necessarily imply that the Applicant was trying to be misleading on the Personality Profile Form. Although that is a possibility, it is more the exception rather than the rule. If you took the Personality Profile yourself, chances are, you'll have at least a few lower Confidence scores and you know how you answered the questions accurately. There are several factors that can contribute to a lower Confidence.

A "High" Confidence Factor (4 or 5 stars), means that the Applicant responded to the Adjectives on the Personality Profile that characterize the Traits on both sides of the Scale with values that are generally supportive of each other. For example, they probably used "1" and "2" values to describe the Characteristics of one Trait on the scale and reciprocal values on the other, which would be "4’s" and "5’s". If the Trait Value is in the mid-range (4-6), then the Applicant used primarily "2’s", "3’s" and "4’s" to describe the Traits that characterize both ends of the Trait Scale.

Because the values describing one Trait "balance" with the values describing the opposite Trait, we can have higher confidence in our evaluation than if the values were out of "balance". The Hire Success™ System doesn't want you to concern yourself with "how" the Factors are derived, rather how to use them as a "tool" in interpreting the Reports. This is why we use the "5-Star" system rather than a numeric value. You can see at a glance the level of "Confidence" for each Trait Scale. You’ll then have an opportunity to ask appropriate questions they apply to the job for which the Applicant is being considered. See the Sample Interview Questions Report for suggestions.

Review for a moment Example in "Overview of the 20 Trait Scales". Let's now assume that the Applicant entered all "1" values for all of the Adjectives that characterize BOTH "Patient" and "Impatient". Which one are they… Patient or Impatient? If the Applicant feels ALL of the adjectives in both lists characterize them most or all of the time, then one might conclude they are lying, at least about one of them, or, what is most often the case, they tend to see themselves, or describe themselves, in extreme terms, when what they really meant is they can exhibit either behavior or trait at times and may only be envisioning one of those times when thinking about how to respond.

What they are really saying is they can be patient at times, and impatient at times. It would have been better if they would have used the "3" value to describe those terms because the "3" indicates they are that way about half of the time, but the adjective can and does describe them at times. In most cases, when you discuss this Trait with the Applicant, you’ll probably discover that they agree that they are not extremely patient OR impatient, as extremely implies that are that way all, or almost all of the time.

The way the Hire Success™ System handles this example is by indicating the Applicant is a "5" on this Trait Scale, or in this example, half way between Extreme Patience and Extreme Impatience. If you recall in the earlier discussion on how the Trait Values are evaluated and how "5" values on one Trait are like having "1" values on the other, then you will understand if both sides have "1" values, we can’t be as confident in the result as we would have been in Example 1 above, or if the Applicant had answered all of the Characteristic Adjectives with the Value of "3".

Therefore, if you see a Trait Value of "5" and a Confidence Factor of one star (*), you immediately know the Applicant generally had all "1" values for the Adjectives characterizing both sides of the scale. If the Trait Value is still "5", but the Confidence Factor is 5 Stars (*****), you will know the Applicant generally entered "3" on the Adjectives that characterized both sides of the Trait Scale.

The Hire Success™ System does not attempt to define things as "good" or "bad" but instead tries to accurately, and fairly represent the facts based on the Applicant’s own self-assessment of the 100 adjectives that characterize certain personality types and traits.

"Fair" Confidence is the result of the Applicant responding in such a way that isn’t completely contradictory, such as all "1" values for all of the Adjectives that characterize the Traits on both ends of the scale. Again, if we go back to Example #1 above, but substitute the value of "3" where there were "5’s", then we see an applicant that is being described as "Extremely Patient" and "Patient half the time and Impatient half the time".

If this were the case, the Trait Scale would probably be a "7" toward "Patient", but the Confidence Factor would be "Fair", 3 stars, because the Applicant indicated they may be "Impatient" at least some, perhaps half of the time. For this reason, they could not be a "9" in patience, but would still be characterized as "Patient", but the "Fair" Confidence indicates there may be instances where they may also appear impatient. Only you can determine if that is what you’re looking for to fill the open position in your company. We consider 3-stars, or "Fair" as an acceptable level of Confidence.

Please keep in mind, that when we are dealing with people, and their personality, we’re not dealing with absolutes, "black and white" or "binary" data, rather it is almost always some "shade" of gray.

An independent Confidence Factor, using the 5-star system, is calculated independently of any other Confidence Factors. It is found on the "Summary Report" immediately below the "Applicant’s Name" and the "Primary Personality Type". The 5 Star Rating is from 1 (Low) to 5 (Very High). The Confidence Factor for the Primary Personality Type has a unique algorithm that evaluates 3 things:

  1. PRIMARY PERSONALITY ENGINE: It uses the Principal Hire Success™ System Personality Engine information and accepts that with "High" confidence (4 Stars).
  2. ALTERNATE METHOD FOR PRIMARY PERSONALITY: It then evaluates data from the second independent Personality calculation that is employed solely to add to, or take away from overall confidence. This independent, and different method for determining Personality, focuses only on the Primary Personality. It makes a series of comparisons with the data from the principal Engine. If the information is in general agreement, confidence is enhanced at this point and, depending on the degree of agreement, can push the confidence up to 5 stars (Very High), or could keep confidence lower.
  3. ALTERNATE METHOD FOR LEAST LIKE PERSONALITY:A third independent Personality calculation is employed, this time targeting what should be the "least" likely personality. This is done to probe and test both extremes calculated by the Principal Engine. Again, a series of comparisons are made which can enhance whatever state of confidence the engine is in, or cause the confidence to be lower.

Implementing this series of checks and balances is used to give the Interviewer another tool to help detect uncertainty, as well as certainty. We consider 3 or more stars to be within a normal or acceptable range. If the confidence falls to 1 or 2 stars, you will certainly want to be sure and have a very careful interview to discuss and verify that all important areas are covered to your satisfaction. A lower confidence doesn’t necessarily mean the information is incorrect, only that the System believes you should interview carefully and ask appropriate questions to assure your satisfaction with the Applicant’s replies in key areas. The Hire Success™ System is designed to provide the Interviewer with an accurate, and dependable tool to assist in the interviewing process. It is not intended to recommend or not recommend any applicant or employee for any particular job or position within your organization.