[IPAC-List] When does a test become a test...

Reindl, Kevin KReindl at semprautilities.com
Thu Feb 17 12:15:42 EST 2011

Since most of the subscribers to this list likely oversee the policies related to testing/validation in their organizations, I thought this might be a good place to get other's thoughts on an issue that I have been struggling with for quite some time.

I know that legal/professional guidelines consider any selection procedure as open to scrutiny in terms of job relatedness/validity, and our company policy states that any "test" that is used for selection in our company must be validated [by our research group] according to acceptable legal/professional guidelines. In our organization, however, we tend to draw a line (albeit not a very clear line) between what our I/O folks should "validate" and what should be left to hiring managers/recruiters/staffing professionals. For example, if someone wanted to implement a cognitive ability test to screen out applicants for a high-volume entry level position, we would definitely conduct a validity study to ensure the test is job related, predictive and defensible. On the other hand, while we provide advice and a process, we leave interview questions up to our staffing professionals/hiring managers to decide.

My struggle is that we have some staffing professionals and hiring managers who request our "validation services" for every selection procedure (including specific interview questions, etc.), but at the same time others folks will develop tests that should obviously have some validity documentation (e.g., a scored job simulation that is given during an interview process) and will avoid the "red tape" of having to go through more formal validation. With only a couple I/O's involved in selection here, we really don't have the resources to take on all of the requests we receive...so...

My question is this: At what point, or under what circumstances do you undergo validation and documentation related to the validity of a selection procedure in your organization? What criteria do you use to draw that line (e.g., is it structured/scored, does it result in a pass/fail, will it likely result in adverse impact, will it be used for large-volume jobs, etc.)?

Kevin Reindl
Senior Human Resources Research & Analysis Advisor
San Diego Gas & Electric
Human Resources
8306 Century Park Court, CP41A
San Diego, CA 92123-1530
Tel: 858-654-1823
Fax: 858-654-1515
Email: kreindl at semprautilities.com<mailto:kreindl at semprautilities.com>

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