There are many sources of information about employment testing and the list of sources below is far from exhaustive. Your state’s employment commission may have information that is relevant especially for you, in addition to theses sources. Other sources of information can be found in the local public library, and by contacting organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, or your state or local psychological associations.
American Psychological Association. STANDARDS FOR EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING. APA, 1200 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, 1985.
Anastasi, A. PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING. New York: Macmillian, 1988.
Association of Personnel Test Publishers. MODEL GUIDELINES FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTEGRITY TESTING PROGRAMS. APTP, 655 15th street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, 1990.
Guion, Robert. PERSONNEL TESTING. New York: McGraw Hill, 1965.
Rose, Robert G. PRACTICAL ISSUES IN EMPLOYMENT TESTING. Odessa, Florida: Psychological Assessment Resources, 1993.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. PRINCIPLES FOR THE VALIDATION AND USE OF PERSONNEL SELECTION PROCEDURES. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, 1987.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. UNIFORM GUIDELINES ON EMPLOYEE SELECTION PROCEDURES IN 29CFR1607. U.S. EEOC, 1801 L street NW, Washington, D.C. 20507, 1978.
Making the test is the relatively easy part. Validating the test must be done according to the E.E.O.C’s Uniform Guidelines, and that is the hard part. The test validation process is costly, time-consuming, and technically challenging. Making your own test is about as difficult as making your own airplane and, if your test is legally challenged, it is about as risky. Like the man said, “I like milk, but not enough to buy a cow. If I want milk, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy a quart.”
You should ask about the basic purpose the test was designed to serve. For example, was it designed to be used as an employment tests and, if so, for what positions and in what industries? You should ask to see a copy of the validation and reliability study. You should ask how the employment test is scored or evaluated, and what kind of customer support the company from which you but it provides.
“Validity” refers to how well an employment test measures what it is supposed to measure. A validation study is a systematic gathering of data and information to support a claim that an employment test is valid, or (in other words) that it measures what it says it measures. “Reliability” refers to the consistency in performance of an employment test: does it measure the same knowledge, skill, or ability every time it is used?
Employment test should be carefully documented so that people can companies that want to use them can examine the way they were developed and validated, and for what purpose they are intended.
There are professional guidelines and standards for how an employment test is validated. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission publishes Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures that includes standards that a proper validation study should meet. This does not mean the EEOC “approves” a validation study or an employment test. The EEOC does not review, approve, or give a stamp of approval to specific tests.
The American Psychological Association has published Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing that serve as guidelines for psychologists to use in the development and use of tests. These standards do not have the force of law, but psychologists who are involved in the development and use of employment tests should be thoroughly familiar with them.
Our Assurance To You: All of the employment tests that Helm and Associates, Inc. develop and market exceed the American Psychological Associations standards, and the EEOC’S Uniform Guidelines. Helm and Associates is dedicated to the proper use of employment tests to make hiring, placement, and promotion procedures fair and objective. It is our belief that both organizations and their employees benefit most when there is a good match between the job and the applicant who fills it.
There must be a demonstrable link between what the employment test measures and what the job requires. This means that the test publisher is responsible for making sure that the employment test measure the skill or attitude that it is designed to measure, through a process called validation, and the company that uses an employment test is responsible for making sure that the job description demonstrates the need for behavior or attitudes that the employment test measures.
It is always important to evaluate how accurately a person is reporting attitudes or preferences that grow out of general personality characteristics. Well-designed employment tests include questions about situations and attitudes that are widely experienced and agreed upon. People who answer most of these questions in an unexpected way raise a question about how accurately they are reporting their attitudes throughout the employment test. The most important thing to keep in mind when you suspect that an applicant has not told the truth on an employment test is to try to understand why they have done so. Some people who are new to the working population are apprehensive about making self-critical statements, and that can make them sound as if they are not being honest when, in fact, they are simply trying to make a good impression.
There are two kinds of bias that should be considered. The law forbids discrimination, sometimes referred to as bias, in hiring. According to the U.S. employment law as promulgated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, all aspects of the hiring process, such as interviews, application forms, reference checks, background investigations, physical examinations, drug testing, job-relevant test, etc., are to be fair and not biased against any individual or group.
Job-relevant tests provide specific information about knowledge, skills, abilities, or attitudes required by the job. They can help an employer learn in advance whether a job applicant has the knowledge, skills, aptitudes, or attitudes that are needed to do the job.
Employment tests help improve the match between the job and the person who will be placed in that job by helping the employer match the job’s requirements with the person or people who come closest to meeting those requirements.
Employment tests ask the same questions, in the same order, every time. They are scored and the results are presented in exactly the same way. This sameness lets the employer focus on the applicant’s responses. Even the best interviewer can have a bad day and forget to ask all the questions of each candidate. Test don’t have bad days.
Applicants can answer hundreds of test questions without taking up an interviewer’s time. Employment tests use the applicant’s time, not the company’s time. When there are many candidates for the same position, tests help an employer narrow the number of people who will be considered to those who meet certain job requirements–and do so in a time-and cost-effective way.
Employment tests give each applicant an opportunity to demonstrate their job-relevant skills or attitudes in a fair, unbaised way. Giving all applicants and employees this same opportunity is a demonstration of fair-mindedness and respect on the company’s part.
Yes, job-relevant, validated employment tests are a fast, fair, accurate, and legal means to better selection, placement, and promotion decisions. The better the match between a person’s skills, knowledge, abilities, and attitudes, and the requirements for the job, the more likely the person in that job will work productively and successfully. The proper use of employment tests is good for the employer and good for the employee or applicant. There are two legal criteria that employment test must meet. Employment tests must be (1) properly validated, and (2) job-relevant. If they meet these criteria, then it is legal.