Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting and Orienting New Employees

By Diane Arthur | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 11
Preemployment Testing
Following World War II, testing was used extensively as a means for selecting new hires. The popularity of testing as a selection tool continued for several decades, only to decline toward the end of the 1990s. However, due in part to a globally competitive economy, heightened security concerns, and a shortage of skilled labor, preemployment tests are once again becoming a favored means for selection. For HR practitioners, this may mean reexamining existing or previously used tests to support an increasing array of online test options, while remaining sensitive to certain applicant populations, such as older workers, who may be more comfortable with traditional paper and pencil tests. It may also mean revisiting areas to be tested: Quantifiable skills, such as computer knowledge, and personal qualities, like honesty, are among the most common testing categories; but also popular are interest tests, and tests that purport to measure learning and thinking ability. HR test givers must also be ever vigilant about possible adverse impact, job-relatedness, and overreliance on test scores as the basis for selection.Can tests accurately predict how individuals are likely to perform in any given job? Even the strongest supporters of tests will agree that not all tests are created equal and care must be exercised in their selection, implementation, and interpretation.
How Preemployment Tests Are Used
Employers typically use preemployment tests to accomplish two primary objectives: eliciting an applicant's undesirable traits and identifying characteristics that most closely match the qualities required in the available job. Specifically, tests given to prospective employees may help to:
Predict acceptable or unacceptable on-the-job behavior
Minimize or eliminate bias in the interview and selection process

Portions of this chapter are excerpted from Diane Arthur, Fundamentals of Human Resources Management, Fourth Edition (New York: AMACOM, 2004).

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