Lots of business use tests prior to hiring a new employee. These can be skills tests such as math; aptitude (which are frequently done for sales positions); or personal instincts). Done properly, these tests can greatly reduce turnover and improve chances for a successful hire.
But there is a significant downside, if these tests are done improperly, not employment-related, or have the possibility of generating a pattern of discrimination. The classic example of the latter is Federal Express, which in 2007 reached a $55 million settlement as a result of a lawsuit that alleged FedEx used a ‘basic skills test’ for promotions. 86% of white employees passed the test, compared to 47% of blacks and 62% for latinos.
Make sure you use the following guidelines when evaluating or considering pre-employment testing:
- Know when to administer the test (pre-job offer or post-job offer)
- Make sure the company you use to conduct the testing has validity – they have proof that the test is non-discriminatory
- Make sure the test is employment related for the position (for example, you don’t want to administer a math aptitude test for a dockworker).
Finally, make sure to review your program frequently with your HR Department or employment attorney.