Psychological tests in hiring essay

Companiesuse psychological tests to sample people’s behavior so as to makedecisions regarding performance, costs of hiring and the legalobligations. When employees lack the required skills, the company isat a loss as they will only act as obstructionists. Also, a companyhas to understand that incompetent workers have implications for thecompany as a court holds the company liable.

Psychologicaltests are based on reliability and validity. A company that canintegrate these two measures is fair and hires competent workers. Areliable test should yield consistent scores when a person takes twoalternative forms of the test or if the same test is taken ondifferent occasions. Hiring companies are advised to measureconsistency by using test-retest estimates, test-equivalent estimatesor use of internal comparison estimates.

Areliable test does not mean that the test is valid. This is importantfor any hiring committee to remember. Reliability only shows thatwhat is being tested is consistent. A valid test shows whether or notyou measure what you are supposed to measure. A hiring committee mayuse a Thematic Apperception Test and ask an applicant to describe acertain ambiguous picture. The hiring committee draws conclusionsfrom the response of the applicant. The problem with such kind ofquestioning is that the test may not be valid and applicants havedifferent points of view. A committee, therefore, is required to useboth reliable and valid tests.

Ifa test is not valid, there is no logic or any legal reason to usethese tests to screen job applicants. A hiring committee shouldconsider both content validity and criterion validity. CriterionValidity means that if an applicant does well in the test, then, heor she has the required skills to handle the job. Content Validityshows that the test constitutes a fair sample of questions related tothe job they are applying for.


Ann,M.R., and Marja L., (1991). Negligent Hiring and Defamation: Areas ofLiability Related

toPre-employment Inquiries PersonnelPsychology,44,293–319.

Steven,M.S., (1993). Fifteen Steps to Protecting Against the Risk ofNegligent Hiring Claims

EmploymentRelations Today,23, 313–320.