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What are the downsides of personality tests?

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Q. We are thinking about using personality tests to evaluate whether applicants would be friendly and communicate well with our customers. Does using such a test expose us to potential lawsuits?

A. If the personality test has an adverse impact on the employment opportunities of members of a race, color, religion, sex or national-origin group, don’t use it unless it is validated pursuant to the EEOC’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Validation is the demonstration of the job-relatedness of a selection procedure. The Uniform Guidelines recognize the same three validity strategies recognized by the American Psychological Association:

  • Criterion-related validity: a statistical demonstration of a relationship between scores on a selection procedure and job performance of a sample of workers.
  • Content validity: a demonstration that the content of a selection procedure is representative of important aspects of performance on the job.
  • Construct validity: a demonstration that (a) a selection procedure measures a construct (something believed to be an underlying human trait or characteristic, such as honesty) and (b) the construct is important for successful job performance.

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