As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, many employers are resorting to pre-employment testing to determine the best candidate for the job. While resumes provide employers with some insight into the capability of applicants, a relevant test can really help narrow the field. Unfortunately, there are also several disadvantages to pre-employment testing. Additionally, there are strict laws prohibiting discriminatory or disrespectful questions from being asked.
Pre-employment tests provide employers with a number of advantages. Some such perks, include:
Employers can identify positive traits within candidates, such as integrity, competence, motivation, and reliability
Employers can identify negative traits within candidates, such as substance dependency and inclinations toward theft
Provides further insight into candidates
Can help determine differences between candidates who seemed equal after evaluating their resumes and undergoing an interview.
Unfortunately, pre-employment testing is also disadvantageous for many employers. Some drawbacks include:
Test results are only one factor of the hiring process. Employers should base their decision on other factors, such as their experience, qualifications, and interview.
All tests administered by employers must be certified for validity and reliability
Test results are not necessarily indicative of applicants' ability to perform their job. Instead, tests focus on applicants' potential.
Testing conditions must be fair and consistent for every candidate
Testing may eliminate some candidates who are highly qualified, but do not perform well on tests
Applicants may react poorly to the test. Additionally, if they believe the test was discriminatory, they can legally challenge the test.
When writing tests, employers must be aware of the laws pertaining to employment testing. Any questions which require applicants to divulge something about themselves that could result in discrimination is illegal. For example, employers cannot ask about an applicant's:
Age-Some employers discriminate against older applicants because they assume that the older they are, the more pay they will request.
Race/Ethnicity-Race and ethnicity are irrelevant factors when applying for a job. This law protects minorities from discrimination.
Disability status-Some employers will discriminate against persons with disabilities, even if they will not impede the applicant's job performance. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from asking questions pertaining to an applicant's disability status.
Sexual preference-Because sexual preference is private and irrelevant to one's job performance, employers are prohibited from inquiring. This law protects members of the LGBT community who might otherwise be discriminated against.