Image via WikipediaIN A WORD - One word answers the question "Is Employment Testing Legal?", that word is "YES". However, the "yes" must be qualified as long as a Professionally Developed employment test is administered according to the test developer's intended use. For example, it is legal to test accounting applicants with a math test, however, it could be considered a discriminatory practice to screen custodial employees with the same math test as the math competency for an accountant is very different than a custodian. It isn't the test that is "legal" or "illegal", it is the APPLICATION of the test that makes the difference! APTITUDE TESTS - One type of employment test is the Aptitude Test. Some employers want to test an applicant's knowledge of a particular subject that pertains to the job for which they are being considered. This is perfectly legal, and when applied properly, can be a valuable tool. Be sure and consider the following, however, before administering any Aptitude or I.Q. test: Be sure the test is "Professionally" developed. You can read more in the links below about a Supreme Court decision that requires Aptitude and I.Q. tests to be "professionally" developed. (See Griggs vs. Duke Power.) HIRE SUCCESS™ On-line Aptitude Tests have been professionally developed by one of our consultants with a Doctorate Degree in Education. If you are considering other tests, ask for the credentials of who developed the test. If you find that a computer programmer or sales manager developed the Math, Spelling and Vocabulary tests, for example, be very cautious before using such a test.
The upshot of this research is that general mental ability (IQ and related tests) was the best predictor and work sample tests (e.g., seeing if people can actually do key elements of a job -- if a secretary can type or a programmer can write code ) were the second best of the 19 examined. Here is the rank order of the 19 predictors examined:
1. GMA tests ('General mental ability')
2. Work sample tests
3. Integrity tests: surveys design to assess honesty ... I don't like them but they do appear to work.
4. Conscientiousness tests: essentially do people follow-through on their promises, do what they say, and work doggedly and reliably to finish their work.
5. Employment interviews(structured)
6. Employment interviews(unstructured)
7. Job knowledge tests: To assess how much employees know about specific aspects of the job.
8. Job tryout procedure: Where employees go through a trial period of doing the entire job.
9. Peer ratings
10. T & E behavioral consistency method: 'Based on the principle that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. In practice, the method involves describing previous accomplishments gained through work, training, or other experience (e.g., school, community service, hobbies) and matching those accomplishments to the competencies required by the job. a method were past achievements that are thought to be important to behavior on the job are weighted and scored.'
11. Reference checks
12. Job experience (years)
13. Biographical data measures
14. Assessment centers
15. T & E point method
16. Years of education
18. Graphology (e.g., handwriting analysis)
Certainly, this rank-ordering does not apply in every setting. It is also important to recall that there is a lot of controversy about IQ, with many researchers now arguing that it is more malleable than previously thought. But I find it interesting to see what doesn't work very well -- years of education and age in particular. And note that interviews, although of some value, are not an especially powerful method, despite their widespread use. Interviews are strange in that people have excessive confidence in them, especially in their own abilities to pick winners and losers -- when in fact the real explanation is that most of us have poor and extremely self-serving memories."