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How an Employee Assessment can Improve Legal Defensibility of your Hiring System

May 1, 2012

So, you’ve noticed that assessments for selection purposes have become more prevalent over recent years, but you’re concerned about potential legal concerns with their use. Rest assured that a well designed assessment can improve the legal defensibility of your hiring system, for the following reasons:

  1. Assessments provide an objective data point in the selection process, as opposed to interviews, which are subjective. Assessments provide numerical scores and/or pass/fail statuses, from which you can clearly support a related selection decision. You know that you’re making an “apples to apples” comparison between candidates when using an assessment, as all candidates were measured against the same exact data points. Even with the most structured and well-developed interview process, you won’t get the same level of consistency in candidate comparisons as you achieve through an assessment.

  2. The traits measured in an assessment can and should be tied directly to the requirements for successful job performance, which bolsters the defensibility of your hiring process.

  3. If you conduct a criterion validation study on your assessments, which is recommended, you have quantitative data to demonstrate that the assessment is clearly predictive of actual job performance.  In addition to validation studies conducted with the target positions in your organization, assessment providers may have additional cumulative validity evidence from similar positions to support the appropriateness of the assessment.

  4. Assessment results are often easily tracked in applicant tracking systems and records, reports, and pertinent statistics can be obtained to help support the legal defensibility of the process.

In other words, fear not pursuing assessments for use in your hiring processes. When designed, implemented, and used properly, they can yield numerous positive outcomes for your organization such as improved prediction in hiring, reduced employee turnover, improved hiring process efficiency, and increased legal defensibility, just to name a few!

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Tracey Tafero, Ph.D. Tracey Tafero, Ph.D. was the Director of Consulting Services at PSI. She has extensive experience in designing, validating and implementing selection processes specific to clients’ needs. She has a proven record of successful selection and development project implementations from entry-level through professional and executive level processes, across a number of different industries.