Neither Congress nor the Courts has said that pre-employment tests are illegal. They just say that any tests, inventories, or procedures used for selection must test for job-specific and job-related skills or traits. It’s also important to note that selection activities include internal promotions and succession as well as bringing new employees from the outside.

As you can see from the list below of what the Department of Labor and its agencies consider to be employee assessments (source: An Employer’s Guide to Good Practice, U.S. Department of Labor), personality tests are no more illegal to use in selecting the best employees for a job than the interview.

1. interviews
2. observations
3. resume evaluations
4. application blanks/questionnaires
5. biodata inventories
6. work samples/performance tests
7. achievement tests
8. general ability tests
9. specific ability tests
10. physical ability tests
11. personality inventories
12. honesty/integrity inventories
13. interest inventories
14. work values inventories
15. assessment centers
16. drug tests
17. medical tests

The issue of legal or illegal is based on job relatedness, not the tool itself. The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures states that a thorough job analysis is needed for supporting a selection procedure. As a result the job analysis can be the proof an organization needs to defend its use of tools and techniques that screen out mis-matched, unskilled, or disruptive employees and select in the very best people for the job.