Deciding Whether to Test
Testing of job applicants is supposed to help you pick the best candidate by
giving you information that is valuable to your selection process. Here's a good
rule to apply: If you feel that the information that you can get from a test
outweighs the cost, you should administer the test; otherwise, you should not.
Consider these questions when deciding whether to test:
- Do you have enough applicants to justify a test to choose the best one?
If you have 200 applicants, testing could be helpful in narrowing the field.
If you have two, it may not be worth the time.
- Is the particular test required? In some industries, specifically
in cases where there may be driving, drug tests are sometimes mandatory. If
not required by law, do you really need the test?
- Do the results really matter? If you need someone who can read and
write at only a basic literacy level or someone who can make change, do you
really care if that person can write an essay or perform complex
calculations? If you go to the trouble of testing, is the information going
to sway your decision about a candidate? Some people say that things like
personality tests are about as accurate as picking a name out of a hat.
- Is it worth the cost? Buying tests, scoring tests, and paying for
doctor and lab fees for medical and drug testing can add up fast, and if you
test, you're footing the bill. Make sure the results of the testing are
worth it, and be sure you need it.
- Will giving these test mean I have to keep records and post notices?
In some cases, as with lie
detector tests, you will have to comply with federal requirements. Make
sure you're prepared to keep the necessary records before you start testing.
If you do test, make sure that you check out our guidelines
for administering tests.
If you have fewer than 15 employees. Unless your business is covered
antidiscrimination laws, the repercussions of testing are mostly in terms of
the time that it takes to administer them and the money needed to pay for the
medical and physical tests. Chances are, you aren't going to want to get too
deeply into many of these tests, particularly since the costs usually outweigh
If you have 15 or more employees. You are subject to specific federal
antidiscrimination laws, and testing conjures up plenty of opportunities to be
accused of discrimination and creates recordkeeping duties. Before testing,
check with your attorney.