In order for a selection test to be useful, you should be fairly sure test scores relate in a predictable way to performance on the job. Thus, other things being equal, students who score high on the graduate admissions tests also do better in graduate school. Applicants who score high on a mechanical comprehension test perform better as engineers. In other words, you should validate the test before using it by ensuring that scores on the test are a good predictor of some criterion like job performing. In other words, demonstrate the test’s criterion validity.
This validation process is usually done by an industrial psychologist. The human resource department coordinates the effort. The supervisor’s role is to describe the job and its requirements so that the human requirements of the job and its performance standards are clear to the psychologists. The validation process consists of five steps: analyze the job, choose your tests, administer the test, relate the test scores and the criteria and cross validate and revalidate.
Analyze the job: The first is to analyze the job and write job descriptions and job specification. Here, you need to specify the human traits and skills you believe are required for adequate job performance. For examples, must an applicant be verbal, a good talker? Is programming required? Must the person assemble small, detailed components? These requirements become the predictors. These are the human traits and skills you believe predict success on the job.
In this first step, you also must define what you mean by success on the job since it’s this success for which you want predictors. The standards of success are criteria. You should focus on production reacted criteria (quality, quantity, and so on), personal data (absenteeism, length of service, and so on), or judgments of worker performance (by persons like supervisors). For an assembler’s job, your predictors might include manual dexterity and patience. Specific criteria then might include quantity produced per hour and number of rejects produced per hour.
Some employers make the mistake of carefully choosing predictors (such as manual dexterity) while virtually ignoring the question of how they’re going to measure performance (the criteria). One study involved 212 gas utility company employees. The researchers found a significant relationship between the test battery that was as a predictor and two performance criteria – supervisor ratings of performance and objective productivity induces. However, there was virtually no relationship between the same test battery and two other criteria, namely an objective quality index or employee self ratings.
Choose the Tests: next, choose tests that you think measure the attributes (predictors, such as mechanical comprehension) important for job success. Employers usually base this choice on experience, previous research and best guesses. They usually don’t start with just one test. Instead, they choose several tests and combine them into a test battery. The test battery aims to measure an array of possible predictors, such as aggressiveness, extroversion and numerical ability.
What tests are available and where you get them? Given the EEO and ethical issues involved, the best advice is probably to use a professional, such as a licensed industrial psychologist. However, many firms publish tests. Psychological assessment resources, Inc., in Odessa Florida is typical. It publishes and distributes many tests some are available to virtually any purchaser but many are available only to qualified buyers (such as those with degrees in psychology or counseling).
Some companies publish employment tests that are generally available to anyone. For example, Wonderlic personnel test Inc., publishes well known intellectual capacity test, and also other tests including technical skills tests, test batteries, interest inventories and reliability inventories.