News & Events

Schmidt Comments on Exams

From more standard fare, such as skill tests, to specialty tactics, such as personality assessments, pre-employment exams are a popular way for employers to determine whether someone is qualified for a job and will be a good fit with their organization. While personality and integrity exams may seem interesting and valid in theory, they may not be accepted as so by candidates, says FRANK SCHMIDT, a professor in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. "Studies of applicant attitudes show that they can vary depending on whether it's an ability test, which evokes a more positive attitude than something like a personality test," Schmidt shares. "Those tests that have more face validity are accepted better. All ability tests are looked at more favorably than non-cognitive tests." Although there are no guarantees, most people agree that pre-employment tests, if used properly, can be a helpful tool in the hiring process. In fact, instead of turning candidates away, assessments may actually boost a company's desirability in the eyes of applicants. "There are a lot of ways that an applicant evaluates a potential employer," Schmidt explains. "There are hours and earnings, of course, but another is how hard it is to get a job there. It becomes an achievement to get hired."

Return to top of page