The practice of selecting employees based on one-to-one interview has proved to be an ineffective hiring practice. All over the world, the companies are trying to develop the new techniques for identifying the right candidates for the existing positions. The factors that urge the implementation of new practices include high turnover rate occurring at the first year of employment, high cost of drug-related issues and discrimination-related cases, the need to increase productivity, and the shift from individual work to team building.
Testing a skill or a set of skills is acceptable and the employer does not violate any laws or personal rights of the candidate if decides to test him/her. Testing helps to evaluate the individual’s ability to perform the job, integrate into company’s culture and cooperate with others. Knowledge and proficiency tests are the easiest and the most common tests. They might take the form of the typing test, the performance of the actual task or oral explanation of the processes necessary to accomplish the task. Knowledge testing provides the general ability of the candidate to perform the job at the basic level without further training involved. For example, if the candidate applies for the position of a secretary – the pre-employment testing will include the knowledge of different computer systems, office routine, working with several phone lines and office equipment.
Literacy and math testing is not used very often because it is not necessary to check the reading abilities of the person if he has graduated from the college or university – it is obvious that the candidate is able to read and write. However, if the position is of low level (such as garbage collector or loader), which does not require proficient math skills, the testing might be used to find out whether the applicant has basic knowledge in bath and is able to read.
Personality testing has become the most popular testing over the last 10 years due to the high turnover rate within the first year of employment. Very few positions are based on the individual work while the company’s success depends on the cooperation of all employees, their teamwork. For this reason, it is vital for the employer to learn about the attitude to discrimination, ability to cooperate with others, work under pressure and so on, at the pre-employment stage. “The psychological, attitude, or personality tests are usually in a multiple choice format and are designed to learn more about the personality and/or psyche” (“Truth about pre-employment testing”, 1).
For example, the Myers-Briggs assessment provides the information about the applicant being an extravert (motivated by outside and communicative) or an introvert (inner motivation and thinking more before acting), sensing (integrating past experience and clear minded) or intuitive (imaginative and future-oriented) (What is your Myers Briggs Personality Type?”). The employer might prefer to hire an intuitive extravert for the position of brand manager and sensing introvert for the position of a technical specialist. Knowing the personality type helps to understand whether the individual will be able to comply with others and fit into the organizational culture.
Honesty and integrity testing is part of the personality testing and is usually conducted in the written form. For example, the candidate might be asked to express his attitude to thefts at work, stealing and lying. The analysis of the expressed attitude helps to decide whether the applicant is trustworthy and honest. All of the employees to some extent have access to the financial, material and informative resources of the company and the employer want to have confidence in the security of these resources. Honesty testing helps to predict the possibility of resources misuse.
The testing of physical ability is the tool to find out the strength, weaknesses, and flexibility of the candidate. For example, if the work requires the individual to travel intensively, the employer would look for the individual without physical disorders. However, the hiring decision should not be based on the physical abilities if the job to be performed is not related to physical power: for example, the position of sales manager does not require the weight-lifting skills, however, the desire and ability to work overtime require flexibility from the candidate.
Mental ability and aptitude testing are two of the most important and helpful tools at the candidate identification stage. The I.Q. score can be used by the employers to predict the learning ability in the future and, therefore, the future growth in the company structure. The success of the company is directly related to the employee’s ability to adjust to the changing business world including new technologies, working patterns and systems. The ability of the candidate to think thoroughly, react quickly and find solutions are of high value to employers. Even though I.Q. score is not used very often, many big companies have developed the similar tests to analyze whether the candidate is able to reason, to think logically, to analyze and to memorize.
Background checks are also done at the pre-employment stage of the selection process because in practice the information candidates present in resumes does not always correspond to the real facts. Very few would openly share the information about being arrested twice for thefts or that the reason of leaving the previous work was anti-social behavior. The employer might also check the driving record and credit history of the candidate.
Medical and drug testing are two related tests and care usually done at the final stage of the selection process. The employer wants to know what can prevent the potential employee from performance of duty. In addition, the healthcare and drug-related costs are very high and the employer prefers to minimize these costs through hiring the healthy individual. In addition, the physical fitness is the basic requirement for those handling the difficult equipment or driving commercial vehicles (Sofsian, 1). Drug abusers are a huge problem for employers: they come to job irregularly, are irresponsible and not able to handle even elementary tasks. For these reasons, the drug testing is conducted at the pre-employment stage to minimize the chance of hiring a drug user and potential negative outcomes of this decision.
In conclusion, the pre-employment testing has become an integral part of the hiring decision. Employers no longer trust the words of candidates and want to have an expert opinion about the trustworthiness of the information presented. Despite the benefits the pre-employment testing has, more and more candidate consider these compulsory tests as the intrusion into private life. The hiring decision is not based on the skills and abilities of the candidate to perform the task, but rather on his personality type, cooperation skills and resistance to drugs. The cost of turnovers and health services are driving the company’s profits down and with the help of pre-employment testing the employers are able to identify the individuals who would not add up to these costs.
Works Cited Sofsian, Damian. “The need for pre-employment drug testing.” Article Alley 18 Aug 2005. 12 Aug 2006 <http://www.articlealley.com/article_5664_23.html> “Truth about pre-employment testing.” Think Energy Group.Com. 12 Aug 2006 <http://www.thinkenergygroup.com/Think.nsf/InfoNFR/TruthAboutPre-EmploymentTesting?OpenDocument> “What is your Myers Briggs Personality Type?” Personality Pathways. 12 Aug 2006 <http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html>
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