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Skills

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Updated: 4/13/2007 6:36 pm
Research has shown that pre-employment skills testing can often be a highly accurate method of predicting a job applicant's work performance. Consequently, more companies are using them to screen for qualified and competent workers. Skills tests are usually timed paper-and-pencil examinations consisting of a series of multiple choice, short answer, and yes and no questions. Since these tests are designed to measure specific skills, questions asked usually relate to specific aspects of a job. For example, a cashier might be asked to complete a test of mathematical ability. Generally, in order to use these tests effectively, companies must ensure that tests evaluate true job-related skills, and not general skills that are outside the scope of the position. Companies should also ensure that skills test treat all test-takers fairly. If women or minorities consistently score lower than non-minority applicants, the test may be biased and thus rendered useless. Furthermore, companies who deny employment to individuals who score badly on flawed tests may end up with a discrimination lawsuit in their hands. At some point, companies will also need to decide if the skills tests really work. In other words, do employees who score higher really perform better? If they don't, companies may want to stop testing altogether, or use another test that's clearly job-related and nondiscriminatory.
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