In a previous blog post, I mentioned the success rate for hiring personnel who stay at least 5 years is about 48%. Employers, including our consulting firm Executive Advantage, have often turned to some form of testing or checks to increase the success rate.
In a recent white paper, the EEOC communicated the use of testing could be helpful, but warned employers not to use testing to discriminate against applicants who are protected by the Civil Rights Act (Title VII 1967), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990), and Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA 1967).
Listed are some of the testing and selection tools employers use in the recruitment process.
• Cognitive tests assess reasoning, memory, perceptual speed and accuracy, and skills in arithmetic and reading comprehension, as well as knowledge of a particular function or job;
• Physical ability tests measure the physical ability to perform a particular task or the strength of specific muscle groups, as well as strength and stamina in general;
• Sample job tasks (e.g., performance tests, simulations, work samples, and realistic job previews) assess performance and aptitude on particular tasks;
• Medical inquiries and physical examinations, including psychological tests, assess physical or mental health;
• Personality tests and integrity tests assess the degree to which a person has certain traits or dispositions (e.g., dependability, cooperativeness, safety) or aim to predict the likelihood that a person will engage in certain conduct (e.g., theft, absenteeism);
• Criminal background checks provide information on arrest and conviction history;
• Credit checks provide information on credit and financial history;
• Performance appraisals reflect a supervisor’s assessment of an individual’s performance; and
• English proficiency tests determine English fluency.
Here are some of my thoughts about testing and selection tools and their use. First of all, the testing or selection tool must be predictable in identifying the knowledge, skill and/or ability you are trying to find in the applicant, and do it without discriminating. A test or selection tool may identify the knowledge, skill and/or ability you want, but only in males and not women, thus causing a disparate impact in the organization population. To use a particular test and/or selection tool it might be wise to have the preparer share his/her testing results and to verify the test and/or selection tool does not cause a disparate impact problem.
I would suggest the employer become qualified to interpret the results of the test or selection tool. Some of the tests, like DISC and Meyers-Briggs, share the interpretation of the results and therefore are libel for how the results are interpreted. Again there is a warning to those using the testing and selection tools the use of them should not be used as the sole criteria for making a hiring selection.
Finally, there are some selection tools that may not be considered prior to making a conditional offer of employment. These are called Post-Hire Pre-Work checks. Physicals and criminal background checks are included in this category. There is a HOWEVER, though: the applicant must be able to show he/she can do the key result responsibilities of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
Executive Advantage provides some testing and selection support for its clients. To explore such help, please contact us either by phone or email!