Validating employment tests

Validating employment tests

Deciding whether a test is the right solution in a given situation may require professional advice from someone with knowledge of both testing and employment situations.

Industrial-organizational psychologists may be helpful in such a situation.

Employment tests can be a cost effective way to pare down the applicant pool.

Tests can make the decision process more efficient because less time is spent with individuals whose characteristics, skills, and abilities do not match what is needed.

While any selection procedure may show score differences that result in exclusionary effects upon a group, some types of tests (e.g., physical ability, cognitive ability) are more likely to show such score differences.

The preliminary interview, job history check, in-depth interview results and evaluation of education, experience and other pertinent factors should be considered as well. EXAMPLE: Out of 120 job applicants (comprised of 80 white and 40 minority), 48 whites were hired and 12 minorities were hired. Many were very far off target but all of them were supposedly validated instruments. Let's say that a company has designed a test that measures communication styles and that the personality assessment is very effective.Employers often turn to testing because of the unfairness of less standardized processes, in which individuals are not all treated in a similar way and similar information is not gathered on all individuals.Subjective biases can easily creep into decisions if the process for making decisions is unstandardized. While tests vary in their costs (e.g., developing customized tools costs more than purchasing off-the-shelf products, extensive assessments typically cost more), the cost of testing may be easily offset when considering costs of low productivity, errors, retraining times, and turnover.By doing this, a company has the data to support the use of the test. Employers should have clear documentation regarding any tools they use in employment decision-making. Tests may not be the best choice if not many individuals are being considered in a particular employment decision, if the resources to properly administer the test are not available, or if the timing and logistics of the decision-making process preclude the use of an appropriate test. Employers may believe they already have a quality decision-making process in place and a test would simply add costs and time with no gain in decision accuracy.Often, however, this belief has not been well-assessed, as organizations do not always track the information necessary to actually evaluate how well their employment decision-making processes are working.

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One important advantage of using employment tests is that they can often provide information about an individual that is not easily obtained using other methods, or that would be much more costly to obtain by other means..

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