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A new psychometric test, cdaq, based on cognitive psychology and neurolinguistic programming (NLP), is to challenge established tests based on traditional personality/trait models as the most effective means of assessing potential recruits and current employees.

cdaq has undergone 4 years rigorous empirical testing and is currently in the process of being accredited by the British Psychological Society. It has been developed by cda, the Leeds-based organisational development and change management consultancy, and can be administered online, in hard copy form and verbally.

“cdaq will provide a new perspective on personality at work,” states Caroline Dunk principal at cda. “Over 60% of UK employers utilise psychometric testing, but many of the existing tests have become over-familiar to candidates. Additionally, in response to the increasing demand for something new and relevant, the market has seen an influx of poorly designed and validated personality tests.”

A full-scale validation of cdaq has been carried with the participation of a range of private and public sector organisations, including Toyota GB, the Alpha Airports Group, Northern Foods and Essex County Council. It has been successfully applied in a variety of settings, including training, development, teambuilding, coaching and selection, with users reporting that cdaq is able to accurately identify thinking and behavioural preferences in their employees.

Developed in response to the view that many of the established personality tests fail to deliver a sufficiently useful or comprehensive model for contemporary working styles, cdaq is based around eleven discrete dimensions (metaprogrammes) that are particularly useful in predicting performance at work. There is also a verbal component to the cdaq model that can be applied in conversation to identify and work with preferences on a day-to-day basis.

Dr. Paul Brewerton, a specialist in psychometric test development and validation, has supported the development of cdaq over the last four years, and has undertaken a formal appraisal of the new approach. He states: “I believe that cdaq represents a robust assessment tool that offers new insights into thinking styles and preferences. In exploring the notion of metaprogrammes, we found solid ideas supported by robust psychological theory that provided a sound basis for understanding people’s behaviour and thinking.”

“Our testing process has been extensive and has produced significant practical outcomes,” explains Caroline Dunk. “For example, we worked with one trialling client to profile managers responsible for major contract negotiations, and it helped them understand their own style and trained them to use language patterns to understand the preferences of their counterparts in negotiations. Another client has found cdaq to be a particularly useful predictor of team ‘fit’ whilst recruiting, while another used it to profile a senior team and improve their collective dynamic.

“We are confident that we are launching a tool for which there is a significant demand in the marketplace, which is much more than an individual personality test and which represents a step change in employee selection and personal development.”

Editor’s note: Dr. Brewerton is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Founding Member of the Association of Business Psychologists.

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