ADEPT-15: A short overview & introduction

At TTS-Top Talent Solutions, we are always investigating best-of-breed internationally validated assessment products to support our clients’ talent-related initiatives, whether these involve selection, development, high potential identification, talent audits, or a host of other industry-specific endeavors.

Recently, we have taken on board Aon Assessment Services’ Adaptive Employee Personality Test (ADEPT-15TM), an innovative, broad-based personality assessment drawing on the latest developments in psychometric research and computer-adaptive testing technology.

The ADEPT-15 has an impressive track record and has already won some prestigious accolades such as the International Personnel Assessment Council’s 2015 Innovations in Assessment Award as well the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology’s prestigious M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace in 2016.

Based on the latest personality psychology research, ADEPT-15’s model is differentiated from other Five Factor Model-based instruments in the market by incorporating five additional aspects relevant for leadership and high-potential performance.

Apart from easy-to-understand primary reports, the ADEPT-15 can also generate several competency-based reports for applications such as digital readiness, digital leadership and virtual working, as well as risk and safety orientations and inclusive mindsets (more about these in future articles).

Proven track record and innovative design

The ADEPT-15 already has a proven track record internationally, with more than 8 Million global administrations and a pedigree that encompasses more than 50 years of research.

Apart from its solid scientific background, the ADEPT-15 brings substantial innovation to the design and application of behavioral measures.

For one, ADEPT-15’s IRT-based computer-adaptive design allows for the real-time dynamic composition of multidimensional item pairs: in each administration, adaptive algorithms continually form hypotheses about a candidate’s trait levels based on their previous responses and constructs new item pairs to test these hypotheses.

This allows for highly accurate personality profiles to be derived from a relatively short assessment window (25 minutes on average).

The dynamic composition of item pairs is also designed to counter the risks of response distortion arising from candidates responding in a socially desirable manner or attempting to manipulate their results.

This is done by ensuring that items paired together and presented to the candidate are similar in terms of their level of social desirability.

A further benefit of the dynamic composition of item pairs is that it ensures high levels of test security: ADEPT-15 has a database of over 350,000 unique item pairs derived from the almost 1500 item statements, thus negating learning effects and making replications of any given administration unlikely.

Basic structure: 15 aspects of personality

The ADEPT-15, as its name suggests, measures 15 aspects of work-related behavior. As the graph below shows, these aspects are then categorized underneath six broad workstyles and two primary styles (not shown).

Each aspect is represented as a dichotomous pairing, such as big picture versus detail-focused, or cautious versus socially bold. This drives home the oft-mentioned but seldom practiced notion that work-placed personality is contextually relevant, and thus moves away from a “more is better” approach to work-related behavior.

ADEPT15 Structure

Figure 1. The ADEPT-15 structure

Local use and applications

In line with the Employment Equity Act’s Section 8 requirements for the fair and equitable use of psychological tests and other similar assessments, we have examined the reliability and construct validity of ADEPT-15, as well as local norm considerations and the potential for group differences as part of an ongoing program of research.

Initial findings suggest that the ADEPT-15 is a fair and suitable measure for local South African candidates. A more detailed whitepaper that outlines our research findings will be published on the TTS website soon – make sure to look out for it!

As a measure of personality, ADEPT-15 was classified by the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a psychological test in April 2021.

For local use, we recommend that suitably qualified practitioners receive accreditation training in the use of ADEPT-15 and we look forward to hosting interested IOPS and psychometrists in our upcoming product training in ADEPT-15.

To have a look at upcoming training dates, you can click on this link.

Final thoughts

We are excited by the possibilities that an innovative, technologically sophisticated instrument like ADEPT-15 holds for the local talent assessment market. The measure has a truly impressive global pedigree and an award-winning design which we think our clients will definitely benefit from.

If you are interested in using the ADEPT-15 in your talent assessment projects, why not drop us a line at