As a business owner, the importance of hiring the right person for the right job is difficult. Even after proceeding cautiously, asking what you think are all the right questions, and extending an offer, you may still find that it wasn’t enough. That’s why many companies have taken it a step further and put their candidates through a more rigorous pre-employment screening. A pre-screening process which typically requires candidates to take some type of written test. The belief is that these types of tests can assist in identifying a particular skills set in a candidate that the employer requires.
Testing is popular. An American Management Association study found that 44 percent of its responding members use some type of tests to select employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of Fortune 100 companies include some form of psychological testing in their employment selection processes.
While there are benefits, employers need to proceed cautiously in terms of the type of tests they administer and how they use the information gleaned from these tests. For example, some tests, particularly personality tests, are used to determine if the candidate possesses specific traits inherent to the position. These types of tests should only be used for that specific purpose.
If a personality test were to in advertently reveal a mental impairment or a psychological condition to the employer, or the employer were to use that information to “pass” on the individual, that could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The significance? Barring certain exceptions, the law forbids employers from requiring applicants to undergo medical examinations and queries as a condition of employment.
The lessons to employers: make sure that the pre-employment screening methods you use do not violate the law by asking for, or inadvertently revealing, medical information. Secondly, do not make the outcome of these types of tests a stipulation of getting the job.