Character Tests for Job Seekers Employers Use Method to Avoid Costly Errors, but Experts Doubt Validity of `Honesty Tests'

By Laurie Ann Peach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 1, 1992 | Go to article overview

Character Tests for Job Seekers Employers Use Method to Avoid Costly Errors, but Experts Doubt Validity of `Honesty Tests'


Laurie Ann Peach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


EMPLOYERS lose $40 billion to $50 billion a year in stolen merchandise and cash register money, says Dan Dalton, a management professor at Indiana University.

Thirty-eight percent of this is taken by dishonest employees rather than shoplifters, according to a National Retail Federation survey. In addition, billions of dollars are lost on unreliable employees - those with unproductive behavior, high absenteeism, or who leave or are fired after a short time on the job.

To beat these problems, more than 5,000 United States firms turn to "integrity" or "honesty" tests to weed out undesirable job applicants. Between 2.5 million and 5 million pen-and-pencil tests are administered each year to screen prospective hires.

Though these written tests have been on the market for decades, use has boomed since 1988, when Congress declared the polygraph (lie detector) test illegal, says George Paajanen, vice president of PDI, a human resources consulting firm in Minneapolis.

Dr. Paajanen criticizes vendors of such tests, saying they "expect dishonest people to take this test and answer it honestly."

Gerald Borofsky, president and founder of Boston's Bay State Psychological Associates Inc., another consulting firm, agrees. He says firms have marketed these tests for 25 years, trying to convince employers that honesty is quantifiable, but it is not.

The tests examine a person's attitudes toward theft, as well as past activities. The results are used to predict future behavior. But "nothing suggests that we will continue to do what we have done in the past, especially if it is a questionable activity," Professor Dalton says.

Honesty tests are illegal in two states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and legislatures in other states are considering the issue.

Many businesses nationwide are using an alternative form of pre-employment test that tries to determine a person's potential productivity, job commitment, and dependability. These tests explore a person's background, opinions, and attitudes.

One such exam, PDI's Employment Inventory (EI) test, includes three sections of questions. Some examples of true-false questions:

* "At this time in your life, a job is a job, not a career. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Character Tests for Job Seekers Employers Use Method to Avoid Costly Errors, but Experts Doubt Validity of `Honesty Tests'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.