Proper Use of Employment Testing


The position of Hire Success is that if any of our tests are to be used as a pre-employment testing tool, the following procedures should be followed by each employer administering the tests:

  1. Test all applicants who apply for a particular job and meet all other minimum requirements for the job. The application of the test should not be used selectively as a means for either justifying a candidate when another has not had the opportunity to take the test(s), or to adversely effect someone who has taken the test(s) in favor of another applicant who was not required by the employer to take the same test(s).

    We are not suggesting that all applicants must be tested if they are not otherwise qualified. For example, if an applicant for a chemical engineering position had no education, background, or experience in chemistry, and having that background was a job requirement, we do not believe it would be necessary to provide them with pre-employment tests as they would be disqualified by some other means. We are, however, suggesting that all employees, regardless of race, age, education, etc., who share similar qualification for the job must be offered the same opportunity to take the pre-employment test(s).

  2. Each test that will be administered in a pre-employment environment by an employer should be administered to employees currently holding the same or similar position, especially with the employer administering the test, in order to establish a "baseline" from which to compare test results of job applicants. We believe that developing this "baseline" information, if done fairly and properly, will meet the criteria in number two above prescribing "… giving them controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance.".

What will be important is to identify the job-related attributes available with a particular test and apply the test results fairly using that data as a consideration for employment.

Chief Justice Burger said, in the delivery of the Supreme Court's opinion (Griggs vs. Duke Power) that "… Congress has placed on the employer the burden of showing that any given requirement must have a manifest relationship to the employment in question. [401 U.S. 424, 433]"

Hire Success believes this pivotal point is why it is so important that each employer use each tool responsibly by testing existing employees, where possible, to develop valid "baseline" criteria. For example, if a company was hiring for a sales position selling ads in a local magazine, the company may be easily able to determine that the most successful sales people in their company may have a particular primary personality type and have strong traits in areas like "Persuasiveness", "Extroversion", "Independence", "Aggressiveness", etc. However, if it can not be established that it is important to the job to be literate in computer terminology, then administering the computer knowledge aptitude test would not have the "manifest relationship" to the job and thus using that test in a pre-employment environment would be inappropriate.

If, however, the person was hired and later applied for a different job within the company where computer knowledge was important to the successful completion of the job, then administering the test when considering people for promotion, transfer or another job would be appropriate.

Chief Justice Burger's concluding statement from Griggs vs. Duke Power included: "Nothing in the Act precludes the use of testing or measuring procedures; obviously they are useful. What Congress has forbidden is giving these devices and mechanisms controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance. Congress has not commanded that the less qualified be preferred over the better qualified simply because of minority origins. Far from disparaging job qualifications as such, Congress has made such qualifications the controlling factor, so that race, religion, nationality, and sex become irrelevant. What Congress has commanded is that any tests used must measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract."

We believe the Hire Success Personality and Aptitude tests are a valid and accurate tool for measuring the person for the job and not in the abstract, and thus provides employers with an efficient, simple, accurate and cost-effective tool for general employment testing.

The 80/20 Rule

Most people have probably heard how the "80/20 rule" applies to many things. For example, it is often said that "80% of the sales are made by 20% of the sales force", "80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the people", etc. There is a similar 80/20 rule that is applied to employment testing to assure that a test is not discriminatory.

Using a reasonable sample size, minority groups must pass a test at least 80% as often as majority groups. This is most readily applied with the Hire Success system in its Aptitude tests. For example, if a math test were administered to accounting candidates, and say 60% of white male candidates passed the math test, at least 48% or more of minority candidates must also pass the test in order for the test to be considered non-discriminatory.

Therefore, employers may want to keep data about test applicants which includes at least race and gender information, in order to show that their tests do not have "adverse impact" in minorities. However, if kept, it must be noted that such information may not be used in the employment selection, development or promotion of any individual.