Many hiring managers have heard about validation studies when it comes to employee selection and testing tools. However, most people are unclear about what employment test validation studies are and why – or if – they’re really necessary.
Let’s take a brief look at what employment test validation studies are and how they relate to the hiring process.
Validity is a measure of effectiveness. Therefore, validation and reliability in hiring tools are present if tests accurately and appropriately measure what they’re supposed to measure AND if tests are shown to produce consistent results over time.
From a legal perspective, selection procedures are valid if an employer can prove that they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Therefore, employment test validation is inherently proven if the skills or material being tested are necessary for that particular role.
For instance, if you need to hire a new member of your finance team, you might want to make sure that candidates are familiar with particular software programs – such as Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks or Sage Peachtree – before you hire them (or before they come in for an interview). To do that, you’d want to select a tool that would help you consistently, accurately and objectively measure whether your candidates knew how to use the software or not.
As an example, Hire Success’ Custom Test Builder allow you to create tests on any job-related subject you choose, which can be given to all applicants online prior to interviews. These tests allow you to verify their level of knowledge and skills in subjects appropriate to the job.
Some hiring managers think that a formal, internal or third-party study is required in order to establish validation and reliability in hiring tools. However, a key Supreme Court case decision in WATSON v. FORT WORTH BANK & TRUST (1988) stated that employers don’t need to provide validation studies that are predictive of job success:
“Employers are not required, even when defending standardized or objective tests, to introduce formal ‘validation studies’ showing that particular criteria predict actual on-the-job performance. In the context of subjective or discretionary decisions, the employer will often find it easier than in the case of standardized tests to produce evidence of a 'manifest relationship to the employment in question.'"
If you're using a professionally-developed, well-defined method of testing your current employees and applicants in job-related areas, you’re establishing the necessary level of pre-employment test validation. Hire Success® offers you the tools to do just that, while helping ensure that you hire the right people every time.
By objectively demonstrating differences between your most and least successful employees through testing and the creation of baseline files – and assuring the traits are applicable to the job – your organization will meet the necessary legal requirements for "business necessity" and "job-relatedness” without needing a third-party pre-employment test validation study.
Note: If you have additional questions about the legality of any testing method for employee selection, transfer or promotion or about pre-employment test validation in general, we urge you to speak with legal counsel.