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Why Only Normative Behavioral Assessment Tests Should be Used For Candidate Selection

Updated: Mar 14

Normative Behavioral Assessment Test

Normative and ipsative assessments are two different approaches to measuring and evaluating behaviors. Here are the primary differences between normative and ipsative behavioral assessments:


Normative behavioral assessment tests can and should be used in hiring/selection activities. Ipsative should be used primarily in team building scenarios.


  • Individual Focus:

  • Normative Assessments: Focus on comparing an individual's performance or behavior to that of a larger group or normative sample. It helps determine how an individual's behavior compares to the average or typical behavior of a specific population.

  • Ipsative Assessments: Focus on comparing an individual's performance or behavior to their own past performance. This type of assessment examines changes or differences within an individual rather than comparing them to an external group.

  • Scoring and Interpretation:

  • Normative Assessments: Typically use standard scores, percentiles, or other measures to compare an individual's performance to the performance of a normative group. Results are often interpreted in terms of how the individual ranks relative to others.

  • Ipsative Assessments: Use scores that reflect the individual's preferences, strengths, or weaknesses within different aspects of their own behavior. The focus is on understanding the individual's unique profile or patterns over time.

  • Context of Measurement:

  • Normative Assessments: Provide information about how an individual compares to others in a specific population, allowing for a broader understanding of where they stand in relation to the group.

  • Ipsative Assessments: Offer insights into an individual's internal characteristics or preferences, emphasizing their unique qualities and changes in behavior over time.

  • Applications:

  • Normative Assessments: Commonly used in educational settings, clinical psychology, and employment assessments where comparisons to a normative group are valuable for making decisions about an individual's standing or suitability.

  • Ipsative Assessments: Often used in personal development, career counseling, and self-awareness exercises. These assessments are useful for understanding an individual's personal growth, strengths, and areas for improvement.

  • Relative vs. Absolute Measurement:

  • Normative Assessments: Provide a relative measure, indicating how an individual's behavior compares to the group average or standard.

  • Ipsative Assessments: Offer an absolute measure, focusing on the individual's unique characteristics and changes in behavior without direct comparison to others.

Our OMS Assessment is a normative instrument. Examples of ipsative instruments are Myers Briggs and DISC assessments.


It's important to note that both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between normative and ipsative assessments depends on the specific goals and context of the assessment.

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