SELECTION TESTS

human resource management management  SELECTION TESTS

After studying this chapter, students should be able to understand the following:

A. Explain Employee Tests

B. Describe Job Interviews

A. Employment Tests

I. Administration of selection tests: A personnel testing is a valuable way to measure individual characteristics. Hundreds of tests have been developed to measure various dimensions of behavior. The tests measure mantel abilities, knowledge, physical abilities, personality, interest, temperament, and other attitudes and behaviors. Evidence suggests that the use of tests is becoming more prevalent for assessing an applicant’s qualifications and potential for success. Tests are used more in the public sector than in the private sector and in medium-sized and large companies than in small companies. Large organizations are likely to have trained specialists to run their testing programs.

Advantages and disadvantages of using tests: Selection testing can be a reliable and accurate means of selecting qualified candidates from a pool of applicants. As with all selection procedures, it is important to identify the essential functions of each job and determine the skills needed to perform them.

Potential Problems Using Selection Tests Selection tests may accurately predict an applicant’s ability to perform the job, but they are less successful in indicating the extent to which the individual will want to perform it. Another potential problem, related primarily to personality tests and interest inventories, has to do with applicants’ honesty. Also there is the problem of test anxiety. Applicants often become quite anxious when confronting yet another hurdle that might eliminate them from consideration.

II. Characteristics of Properly Designed Selection Tests Properly designed selection tests are standardized, objective, based on sound norms, reliable and—of utmost importance—valid.

  1. Standardization: Refers to the uniformity of the procedures and conditions related to administering tests. It is necessary for all to take the test under conditions that are as close to identical as possible.
  2. Objectivity: Achieved when all individuals scoring a given test obtain the same results.
  3. Norms: Provide a frame of reference for comparing applicants’ performance with that of others. A norm reflects the distribution of scores obtained by many people similar to the applicant being tested. The prospective employee’s test score is compared to the norm, and the significance of the test score is determined.
  4. Reliability: The extent to which a selection test provides consistent results. If a test has low reliability, its validity as a predictor will also be low. To validate reliability, a test must be verified.
  5. Validity: The extent to which a test measures what it purports to measure. If a test cannot indicate ability to perform the job, it has no value as a predictor.

Types of Validation Studies There three main approaches that may be followed to validate selection tests: criterion-related validity, content validity, and construct validity.

a.Criterion-Related Validity It is determined by comparing the scores on selection tests to some aspect of job performance. A close relationship between the score on the test and job performance suggests the test is valid.

b.Content Validity

It is a test validation method whereby a person performs certain tasks that are actually required by the job or completes a paper-and-pencil test that measures relevant job knowledge.

c. Construct Validity It is a test validation method to determine whether a test measures certain traits or qualities that are important in performing the job. However, traits or qualities such as teamwork, leadership, and planning or organization ability must first be carefully identified through job analysis.

III. Types Of Employment Tests Individuals differ in characteristics related to job performance. These differences, which are measurable, relate to cognitive abilities, psychomotor abilities, job knowledge, work samples, vocational interests, and personality. Various tests measure these differences.

a. Cognitive Aptitude Tests It measures an individual’s ability to learn, as well as to perform a job. Job-related abilities may be classified as verbal, numerical, perceptual speed, spatial, and reasoning.

b. Psychomotor Abilities Tests This type of test is used to measure strength, coordination, and dexterity. It is feasible to measure many abilities that are involved in many routine production jobs and some office jobs.

c. Job Knowledge Tests This sort of test is designed to measure a candidate’s knowledge of the duties of the position for which he or she is applying.

d. Work-Sample Tests (Simulations) It identifies a task or set of tasks that are representative of the job. The evidence concerning these tests, to date, is that they produce high predictive validity, reduce adverse impact, and are more acceptable to applicants.

e. Vocational Interest Tests

It indicates the occupation in which a person is most interested and is most likely to receive satisfaction.

f. Personality Tests It is a selection tools, personality tests have not been as useful as other types of tests. They are often characterized by low reliability and low validity. Because some personality tests emphasize subjective interpretation, the services of a qualified psychologist are required.

g. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Basic purpose of the drug-testing programs contends that it is necessary to ensure workplace safety, security, and productivity.

h. Genetic Testing As genetic research progresses, confirmed links between specific gene mutations and diseases are emerging. Genetic testing can now determine whether a person carries the gene mutation for certain diseases, including heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, and Huntington’s disease.

i. Honest Test/Polygraph Tests For many years, another means used to verify background information has been the polygraph, or lie detector, test. One purpose of the polygraph was to confirm or refute the information contained in the application blank. Special tests have been constructed to measure the orientation of the individuals toward the issue of the honesty and personal integrity. Honesty tests are the most frequently used psychological tests in industry. These tests contain questions regarding such situations as whether a person who has taken company merchandise should be trusted in another job that involves handling company money. An individual’s response to the test statements indicates the individual’s attitudes towards theft, embezzlement, and dishonest practices. Extensive research has shown that some of these instruments not only produce reliable information that validly predicts dishonest behavior, but that they also are free from biases of age, race, and sex. These honesty tests represent a valuable selection tool for choosing employees who will occupy positions that involve handling company money.

j. Internet Testing

The Internet is increasingly being used to test various skills required by applicants.

B. Job Interviews

THE EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW: Interview is a goal-oriented conversation in which the interviewer and applicant exchange information. The employment interview is especially significant because the applicants who reach this stage are considered to be the most promising candidates.

I. Interview Planning Interview planning is essential to effective employment interviews. The physical location of the interview should be both pleasant and private, providing for a minimum of interruptions. The interviewer should possess a pleasant personality, empathy and the ability to listen and communicate effectively. He or she should become familiar with the applicant’s qualifications by reviewing the data collected from other selection tools. In preparing for the interview, a job profile should be developed based on the job description.

II. Content of The Interview

The specific content of employment interviews varies greatly by organization and the level of the job concerned.

  1. Occupational experience: Exploring an individual’s occupational experience requires determining the applicant’s skills, abilities, and willingness to handle responsibility.
  2. Academic achievement: In the absence of significant work experience, a person’s academic background takes on greater importance.
  3. Interpersonal skills: If an individual cannot work well with other employees, chances for success are slim. This is especially true in today’s world with increasing emphasis being placed on the use of teams.
  4. Personal qualities: Personal qualities normally observed during the interview include physical appearance, speaking ability, vocabulary, poise, adaptability, and assertiveness.
  5. Organizational fit: A hiring criterion that is not prominently mentioned in the literature is organizational fit. Organizational fit is ill-defined but refers to management’s perception of the degree to which the prospective employee will fit in with, for example, the firm’s culture or value system.

III. Types of Interviews

Interviews may be classified in two types by the degree to which they are structured.

a. The Unstructured (Nondirective) Interview Unstructured interview is an interview where probing, open-ended questions are asked. This type of interview is comprehensive, and the interviewer encourages the applicant to do much of the talking.

b. Behavior Description Interviewing A structured interview that uses questions designed to probe the candidate’s past behavior in specific situations. It avoids making judgments about applicants’ personalities and avoids hypothetical and self-evaluative questions. Benchmark answers derived from behaviors of successful employees are prepared for use in rating applicant responses. Questions asked in behavior description interviewing are legally safe because they are job related.

c. The Structured (Directive Or Patterned) Interview An interview consisting of a series of job-related questions that are asked consistently of each applicant for a particular job is known as structured interview. A structured interview typically contains four types of questions.

  1. Situational questions: Pose a hypothetical job situation to determine what the applicant would do in that situation.
  2. Job knowledge questions: Probe the applicant’s job-related knowledge.
  3. Job-sample simulation questions: Involve situations in which an applicant may be actually required to perform a sample task from the job.
  4. Worker requirements questions: Seek to determine the applicant’s willingness to conform to the requirements of the job.

IV. Methods of Interviewing

Interviews may be conducted in several ways.

a. One-On-One Interview In a typical employment interview, the applicant meets one-on-one with an interviewer. As the interview may be a highly emotional occasion for the applicant, meeting alone with the interviewer is often less threatening.

b. Group Interview

Several applicants interact in the presence of one or more company representatives.

c. Board Interview

One candidate is interviewed by several representatives of the firm.

d. Stress Interview

Intentionally creates anxiety to determine how an applicant will react to stress on the job.

V. Realistic Job Previews RJP Conveys job information to the applicant in an unbiased manner, including both positive and negative factors

VI. Legal Implications of Interviewing Because the interview is considered to be a test, it is subject to the same validity requirements as any other step in the selection process, should adverse impact be shown. For the interview, this constraint presents special difficulties.

VII.How To Avoid Common Interviewing Mistakes

a.Snap Judgments:

This is where the interviewer jumps to a conclusion about the candidate during the first few minutes of the interview. Using a structured interview is one way to help avoid this, as well as properly training the interviewers.

b. Negative Emphasis:

When an interviewer has received negative information about the candidate, through references or other sources, he or she will almost always view the candidate negatively. The best way to avoid this is to keep references or other information from the interviewer. If possible, have different people do the reference checks and the interviews and not share the information until afterwards.

c. Poor Knowledge of Job:

When interviewers do not have a good understanding of the job requirements, they do not make good selections of candidates. All interviewers should clearly understand the jobs and know what is needed for success in those jobs.

d. Pressure to Hire:

Anytime an interviewer is told that he or she must hire a certain number of people within a short time frame, poor selection decisions may be made. This type of pressure should be avoided whenever possible.

e. Candidate Order

(Contrast) Error: When an adequate candidate is preceded by either an outstanding, or a poor candidate, by contrast he or she looks either less satisfactory or much better. This can be countered through interviewer training, allowing time between interviews, and structured interviews with structured rating forms.

f. Influence of Nonverbal Behavior:

Candidates who exhibit stronger nonverbal behavior such as eye contact and energy level are perceived as stronger by the interviewers. This can be minimized through interviewer training and structured interviews.

VIII. Guidelines for Conducting an Interview

  1. Plan the interview.
  2. Establish rapport.
  3. Ask questions. HR in Practice gives do’s and don’ts of interview questions.
  4. Close the interview.
  5. Review the interview.

Key Terms

Standardization: Refers to the uniformity of the procedures and conditions related to administering tests. It is necessary for all to take the test under conditions that are as close to identical as possible.

Objectivity: Achieved when all individuals scoring a given test obtain the same results.

Norms: Provide a frame of reference for comparing applicants’ performance with that of others. A norm reflects the distribution of scores obtained by many people similar to the applicant being tested. The prospective employee’s test score is compared to the norm and the significance of the test score is determined.

Reliability: The extent to which a selection test provides consistent results. If a test has low reliability, its validity as a predictor will also be low. To validate reliability, a test must be verified.

Validity: The extent to which a test measures what it purports to measure. If a test cannot indicate ability to perform the job, it has no value as a predictor.

Snap Judgments: This is where the interviewer jumps to a conclusion about the candidate during the first few minutes of the interview.

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