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Dear Workforce How Can Psych Tests Help In Assessment

How could I use psychological tests to assess the personality and communication skills of candidates?
April 3, 2004
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Dear Cognitive:

More and more companies are realizing the value of using psychological tests as part of their employee selection process. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the most common pre-employment tests used by U.S. companies measured candidates' cognitive abilities. The general consensus at that time was "smart people are more successful." We now know there is more to work success than being bright. Implementing good ideas requires influencing people around us. Seeing projects to completion demands persistence and self-confidence. Today, managers are looking closer at job applicants' personality characteristics and how they fit with the job and company. Professionally developed psychological tests can provide your company with objective and reliable measures of these personality traits.
When considering a pre-employment test, don't assume one size fits all. Some test marketers would like you to think certain psychological tests can be used for all positions. It's good to have healthy skepticism in this case. For a testing program to be effective, companies first must identify the specific personality attributes associated with success in the position being filled. Only then can the right test be chosen and integrated into your selection process.
When filling a sales position, for example, assessing sociability, persistence, and energy level may be more important than looking at analytical skills or conformity. Similarly, one may ask what kind of communication skills are needed for successful job performance. A publications editor may need strong writing and editing abilities as well as close attention to detail, whereas a customer service representative may need to think clearly under pressure and be able to articulate with clarity and respect the company's policies and procedures.
In any employment situation, it's important that assessment programs be designed and supervised by a professional with expertise in the construction and interpretation of psychological tests. When administered in the United States, these instruments should be used in compliance with federal and state employment laws as well as ethical guidelines established by such professional organizations as the American Psychological Association. You should also be aware of employment regulations and codes of professional conduct (such as those established by the International Test Commission) in other countries where you plan to use psychological tests. Test results should be considered in conjunction with multiple sources of information about an applicant. When combined with information obtained from work history, structured interviews, reference checks, and skill-specific evaluations, psychological tests can be a very valuable tool.
SOURCE: Linda B. Greensfelder, Ph.D., consultant and David E. Smith, Ph.D., president,EASI Consult LLC, St. Louis, Missouri, April 13, 2003.
LEARN MORE: SeePutting Job Candidates to the Test.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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