Preemployment Honesty Testing: Current Research and Future Directions

By John W. Jones | Go to book overview
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impressive bottom line figures and document the expected utility of the EPI-3. (Of course, the expected financial gain would be much higher for larger retail corporations that screen tens of thousands of applicants annually.)


The EPI-3 is a scientifically sound personnel selection instrument with useful levels of validity and utility. Moreover, it exhibits no adverse impact against protected groups.

The EPI-3 has several useful applications. This instrument is appropriate where theft is not a major concern for employers, yet improved productivity is. The EPI-3 can provide employers with invaluable information about their applicants that has been shown to be predictive of employee retention, work performance, and productivity in general.

Use of an instrument such as the EPI-3 raises several ethical issues. The role of personnel psychologists in our society is not to pass judgement on the character of an individual. That role belongs to the courts, the judges, and juries. The duty of personnel specialists is to assess job applicants' attitudes accurately and to determine, through research and scientific investigation, the degree to which those attitudes are predictive of successful performance in the workplace. This goal can be achieved only through rigorous efforts to determine the validity of the EPI-3 or any psychological inventory for its specific purpose. Fair administration of the instrument to applicants of all racial and sex groups, as well as the consistent application of uniform standards (cutoffs) to all individuals, is also of key importańce. These goals can be consistently achieved through training of those who use the EPI-3. Users need to be trained in test interpretation, handling of individual test results, and confidentiality issues. Only through intensive efforts in these areas can we maintain our ethical code and our high standards for the practice of psychology in organizations.


Ash P. ( 1988). A history of honesty testing. Paper presented at the 1988 convention of the American Psychological Association, Atlanta, August 13.

Alvord G. ( 1985). "Validation of the Personnel Selection Inventory as a screening test for bus operators". Journal of Security Administration, 8( 1), 37-47.

Berte D. L., Moretti D. M., Jusko R., & Leonard J. ( 1981). An Investigation of a combined withdrawal and counterproductive behavior decision process model. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Academy of Management, San Diego.

Brown T. S., Jones J. W., Terris W., & Steffy B. ( 1987). "The Impact of preemployment integrity testing on employee turnover and inventory shrinkage losses". Journal of Business and Psychology, 2( 2).

Brown T. S., & Joy D. S. ( 1985). The predictive validity of the Personnel SelectionInventory in the grocery industry


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Preemployment Honesty Testing: Current Research and Future Directions
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