In psychological assessment, which is one of the final tests administered to a candidate for security employment? At what point in the selection process is psychological testing administered? Why?...

In psychological assessment, which is one of the final tests administered to a candidate for security employment? At what point in the selection process is psychological testing administered? Why? What five specific tests may be administered? What traits and conditions would screen out an applicant and prevent him or her from being employed?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Let's start by talking about psychological examination itself. While there are plenty of tools that can be legally used to assess the likelihood of an individual to be a good fit for a job, there is a fine line that may render testing as a violation to anti-discrimination laws. These laws are at the federal level and can make or break an entire organization if there is any evidence that the results of the tests are used to discriminate against anyone. In other words, the testing needs to be justified.

To find the official list of approved tests, only to be given within a work environment for the purposes of the organizational mission and vision, you must visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's site and check out their factsheet.

Also keep in mind that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) all protect employees against discriminatory practices and even against testing them, in some cases.

The time to tests individuals for employment purposes is at the discretion of the organization. However, in security jobs, it is important to administer tests PRIOR to hiring so that the company can see exactly the extent to which the individual pays:

  • attention to detail
  • basic problem solving skills
  • selective and divided attention
  • vigilance, focus, and concentration skills

In security jobs the test most often administered is the CAST, or Criteria Assessment Skill test, which determines the very factors addressed previously. Now, keep in mind that CAST is a commercial test and it is up to the private corporation if they want to rely on the validity of this tool.

In typical work environments there are five basic tests that are allowed to be given

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator- This test addresses four aspects of personality that are used to match employees to positions prior to hiring. It can also be given during employment (post hiring) to determine needs for on- the -job training.
  • IPIP NEO- This test checks for five categories including extraversion, friendliness, sociability, and activity level. With over 30 subcategories, it also taps on self-confidence and self-consciousness among many more. This test can be given post-hiring for employees who are about to change working conditions in the same company.
  • Kolbe Index - This is a problem solving test to look for precisely that: the way an employee is capable to find facts, complete tasks, collect data, organize, categorize, and schedule.
  • MMPI-2 -Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-This test is used pre-hiring for law enforcement agencies and it could be also given toward the end of academy training as a final indicator of employment.
  • Employee Integrity Testing - This test looks for the indicator for which it is named, and it is essential in fields such as law enforcement, banking, and other careers.

The screening of potential employees is done to determine eligibility to do certain tasks. When there are specific skills listed in the job description that are more abstract, then these tests may be the last factor to support whether it is a good idea to hire or not. Keep in mind that EEO is very particular about rationale and timeframes. All employers must provide evidence (ample evidence) of how the test matches the mission of the organization, and how the testing itself will be beneficial for the company as well.

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