Employers can use a variety of tests to screen job applicants. Tests vary from aptitude, personality and medical tests to credit and criminal background checks. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers should make a good faith effort to consider ethical issues involved in creating, administering and interpreting employment tests.
Members of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology say validity is an important factor in creating employment tests. A test is valid if its content directly relates to the ability to perform the job in question. Jeffrey Norris of the Equal Employment Advisory Council notes that employers should review employment tests regularly to make sure they reflect current job requirements.
According to best practices of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the procedures and conditions when a test is given should be consistent. For example, test administrators should make sure the room lighting and noise levels are the same for all job candidates. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology says test administrators should give the same set of instructions to each applicant, for example explaining whether calculators can be used or questions can be asked during the test.
Erica Klein, of the "Ask the Headhunter" website, says employers compare results of employment tests to those of a good employee in the same job. For example, Klein says, if a customer service job requires communication skills and attention to detail, the candidates who have scores closest to those of a good customer service staff member will most likely get hired. In other words, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology notes, test scores can't be interpreted without identifying a range of scores, from good to poor, based on the scores of the target group.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Fact Sheet on Employment Tests and Selection Procedures
- Equal Employment Advisory Council: Employment Tests Post Ricci
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.: Information to Consider When Creating or Purchasing an Employment Test
- Ask the Headhunter: Employment Tests: Get an Edge
- taking test image by Petro Feketa from Fotolia.com