I listened to another great Freakanomics podcast this morning. It was The Maddest Men of All. In this podcast Michael Housman, chief analytics officer for Cornerstone OnDemand, talks about employment testing. It seems that about 2/3rds of employers use some type of assessment in the hiring process.
First I want to come right out and say that I do not believe in testing. Sure, some tests may be valid in assessing current skill levels (typing, programs, etc…) but they do not predict potential. GPA’s sure don’t. Thank goodness for some of us, me included.
But if you are in a job search, you need to be aware that often times what you think they are testing is not the thing they are testing. Housman talks about how they have measured honesty in the past. Just asking people if they are honest does not seem to work well, shock! But Housman goes on to say that asking an applicant to rank their skill level and then later in the process test their skill level to compare the two worked very well to check for honesty. Or at the very least it tests self-awareness, in my opinion.
So if you are confronted with a pre-employment survey, answer as honestly as possible. Just remember, you don’t have to be little-kid honest.
Testing is overrated.