The inherent limitations of criminal background checks (discussed in the August 27th blog) and other considerations leads many companies to use employment screening questionnaires or tests.  Criminal background checks are a prudent due diligence approach to protect your employees and company assets from harm or theft.  Employment screening tests take this a giant leap forward to not only identify proclivity for criminal conduct but also to provide some comparative measure of dedication, loyalty, aptitude, ethics and attitude by which to assess candidates.  So waht is the relationship of employment screening and loss prevention?

Employment Screening and Loss Prevention

Employment Screening and Loss Prevention
photo by sdezzi https://flic.kr/p/4xEEHm

Employment screening tests should not be a surprise.  All candidates should be advised in the job posting or other communication that screening tests are part of the process.  There should also be a description of the nature of this testing.  Describe the test and if it is a test related directly to job knowledge or a psychological screening test like ones discussed in this blog.  The company is looking for candidates of high ethical character so it just makes sense to demonstrate high ethical character in the employment screening process by making candidates aware of all steps they will need to complete as part of the screening process.  If the tests are contracted from an outside service provider, that should be disclosed as well.  In addition, the American Psychological Association (APA) publishes “Questionnaires Used in the Prediction of Trustworthiness in Pre-Employment Selection Decisions: An APA Task Force Report” (http://www.apa.org/science/programs/testing/test-clearinghouse.aspx) which should be incorporated into your company process and used as a standard for any 3rd parties used.  From a prospective employee perspective, it is important to know that you can choose not to take such a test, although the company may disqualify your candidacy.  For your rights and responsibilities as a test taker according to the APA, see this link http://www.apa.org/science/programs/testing/rights.aspx .

The types of screening tests are cognitive ability (intelligence), personality, job ability, job samples, personal integrity and situational judgment.  These target everything from ability to perform a specific job to determining if the candidate is just looking to make enough money to buy a guitar and will then quit.

Mistakes in hiring are a huge cost to organizations.  Managing out an ineffective worker is disruptive to the workplace.  Hiring a misplaced worker that does not enjoy their job responsibilities leads to inefficiencies.  These tests are used as one tool to better select persons that are more likely to be both productive and happy in the culture of the company.  Thus the questions and interpretations of the questions must necessarily vary by company to reflect uniqueness in their culture.  Hiring the right fit for both the company and the employee is the obvious goal.

The employment screening test that are not specific to a particular job must be very carefully crafted by internal and likely external experts.  This introduces a standard within the recruitment process that cuts across function and location which supports building a culture and workplace characteristics that the human resource function overseen by company executives has set as strategic goals.   From a Loss Prevention perspective, requiring all employees to answer questions that explore the candidates’ propensity to steal is a major benefit.  Although no questionnaire is perfect, a finely crafted one certainly reduces risk of loss and should pay for itself many times over.

There are many types of employment screening tests.  The tests that are targeted at personality, integrity and ethics are most beneficial to reducing actual theft and unproductive behavior (i.e., theft of time).  Given a thoughtful approach that addresses all the ethical concerns about testing and informs candidates in advance of the required tests, these tests are an effective tool for companies to…leverage compliance.

 About the Author

Glenn Murphy, the co-founder of BestGRC and founder of GRC Management Consulting, primarily focuses on empowering entities to leverage their compliance activities through the BestGRC “cloud” software, his consulting work, publications and the “Leverage Compliance” blog.  Find Glenn’s full profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/glenntmurphy/ , follow him @GlennMurphyGRC and subscribe to the Leverage Compliance blog at http://www.bestgrc.com/blog/