Hi, thanks for requesting me again.
Pre-employment testing most likely has increased in usage with the loose labor
market of the last few years and employer's access to various instruments and background check companies. Practically, with so many applicants, employers may simply be at a loss as to how to select the right employee. Employers' intent is probably neutral - their application forms and pre-employment checks, testing and interviews
are primarily intended to eliminate undesirable or unqualified persons and, perhaps less so, identify the ideal person for the job. Although many studies have shown little to no correlation between such pre-employment testing and job performance.
Personal experiences I have had with pre-employment testing have consisted of in-box testing (e.g., being given several mock emails voice mails and asked to sort and prioritize messages) , role playing based on a certain background and factual problem that was supposed to have occurred in everyday business, problem solving tests(multiple choice questions).
There are a couple of potential hazards
in testing and applications. Even though the intent of such instruments may not be to discriminate, they may have a disparate impact on certain classes of persons. As such they are regulated to some extent by state and federal law. Employers are prohibited from using preemployment tests or inquiries, and minimum requirements that disproportionately screen out members of protected groups and are not valid predictors of successful job performance or cannot be justified by business necessity. A practice that has a discriminatory impact, regardless of employer intent, is unlawful unless the employer can show it is necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the business, that it effectively carries out the purpose it intended to serve, and that no alternative practice would better or equally serve the same purpose. Many issues have arisen under this standard - IQ testing, height/weight requirements, ability/dis-ability inquiry, personality testing e.g., the wonderlic test), use of criminal record - that have been found to have a disproportionate impact on protected classes. Specifically, in the use of criminal background checks, employers have a duty to ensure safety
in their workplaces, however blacks and Hispanics on average have a higher arrest/conviction rate than caucasians. As such, making personnel decisions on the basis of arrest records may have a disproportionate effect on these groups. As such the courts and EEOC
have held that without proof of business necessity, an employer's use of arrest records to disqualify job applicants constitutes unlawful discrimination
. Another example is the the ADA
expressly prohibits pre-offer disability inquiry absent a glaring inability to do the job.
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