[IPAC-List] Using tests for higher level jobs

Madigan, Jamie J HMadigan at ameren.com
Wed Jul 29 16:53:55 EDT 2009

Hi all,

I've got a question that I've been gnawing on and thought it might be worth tossing it out to the listserv. We currently have a job that we consider a "feeder job" because it's entry level and we hire a lot of people out of it into higher level positions. Because of this, we administer a test to candidates for this entry level job that isn't necessarily valid for that job, but HAS been validated for some of these higher level jobs that they feed into.

This is, of course, perfectly legit given certain circumstances. Here's what the EEOC's Uniform Guidelines have to say on the topic:

[Start Quote]
I. Use of selection procedures for higher level jobs.

If job progression structures are so established that employees will probably, within a reasonable period of time and in a majority of cases, progress to a higher level, it may be considered that the applicants are being evaluated for a job or jobs at the higher level. However, where job progression is not so nearly automatic, or the time span is such that higher level jobs or employees' potential may be expected to change in significant ways, it should be considered that applicants are being evaluated for a job at or near the entry level. A "reasonable period of time" will vary for different jobs and employment situations but will seldom be more than 5 years. Use of selection procedures to evaluate applicants for a higher level job would not be appropriate:

(1) If the majority of those remaining employed do not progress to the higher level job;(2) If there is a reason to doubt that the higher level job will continue to require essentially similar skills during the progression period; or(3) If the selection procedures measure knowledges, skills, or abilities required for advancement which would be expected to develop principally from the training or experience on the job.
[End Quote]

So I interpret that to mean that if job progression is automatic or if a majority of candidates move into the higher-level job within a "reasonable" period of time (say 5 years max), then no problem.

I recently sat down to examine exactly how many people hired into these feeder jobs are actually promoted up into the higher level jobs for which the test was validated, but quickly ran into a couple of logistical questions:

1. If you have multiple jobs for which the test is validated, can you lump them all together in determining if you satisfy the "majority of candidates" rule? For example, say you have jobs X and Y, for both of which the test is valid. Say 25% of all hires into the feeder job go on to job X and 26% go to job Y. Can you take those two together to argue that a majority of candidates go on to a job for which the test is valid?

2. When counting people who do NOT get promoted to higher level jobs, do you omit those who quit or were terminated?

Anyone want to weigh in with thoughts or point me to other resources addressing this kind of thing? The time I spent with Google earlier today didn't lead me anywhere.

Jamie Madigan
Assessment and Metrics Specialist
Talent Acquisition
Ameren Services
jmadigan at ameren.com

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