Psychometric measurement is the basis for the safe and predictive use of pre-employment testing. Any tool associated with the job fit appraisal of an individual is considered an assessment by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These include not only pre-employment tests but interviews, resumes, applications, and background checks.

The process of appraising people is highly complex and it has traditionally been a very subjective process. We tend to appraise others based on our own feelings, observations, value judgments, and life experiences. Psychometric testing attempts to provide an objective method of appraisal. By giving the same series of questions or tasks to each individual being tested, employee assessment is standardized providing a more equitable and accurate employee selection process for companies.

Criteria of a “Good” Pre-employment Test

But not all pre-employment tests are created equal. If you want to use objective, psychological assessment for hiring or promotion you must be confident that the test itself is fair and accurate: test results are only meaningful insofar as the test itself is “good” and “fair.”

What are the main qualities of a good test?

1. Standardized

For a test to be standardized the administration and scoring of the test are the same each and every time the test is used. The instructions are clearly written out, the physical surroundings and materials and equipment should be as similar as possible, and the test is scored by predetermined answers. Standardized tests also have established norms against which individual scores can be compared.

2. Objective

If a test is objective, the results for an individual will be the same regardless of who is scoring the test. (This is an inherent problem with interviews and the primary reason that interviews are so ineffective.)

3. Reliable

A reliable test is one that produces consistent results on repeated trials. Reliability is demonstrated through test-retest results – if a test is repeated one week later the results should be approximately equal.

4. Valid

A test is valid if it actually measures what it is intended to measure. Because psychological characteristics (interests, motivations, personality, etc…) can’t be measured directly, it is important to gather evidence that the test really represents what it appears to represent.

To learn more about how to select the right pre-employment test, click here for a free download about how to hire top performers.