How Can HR Ensure Pre-Employment Tests Are Unbiased and Inclusive?

How Can HR Ensure Pre-Employment Tests Are Unbiased and Inclusive?

In the quest for fair hiring, we’ve gathered six best practices from industry leaders, including CEOs and recruitment experts, to ensure pre-employment tests are unbiased and inclusive. From the use of non-verbal reasoning tests to choosing standardized tests fairly, our contributors provide a range of strategies to enhance your recruitment process.

  • Use Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests
  • Review Tests with Diverse Experts
  • Conduct External Validation Studies
  • Revise Tests with Occupational Experts
  • Align Tests with Job Requirements
  • Choose Standardized Tests Fairly

Use Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests

General mental ability (GMA) is the most valid predictor of an employee’s on-the-job performance and learning ability. Within the purview of mental ability, non-verbal reasoning tests are widely accepted as being unbiased, since they are agnostic to language, culture, and educational differences.

Deepti ChopraDeepti Chopra
Co-Founder, Adaface

Review Tests with Diverse Experts

One best practice for ensuring that pre-employment tests are unbiased and inclusive is to regularly review and validate the tests with a diverse group of experts. This involves analyzing the tests to ensure they are relevant to the job requirements and do not unfairly disadvantage any group based on gender, race, age, or disability.

Additionally, soliciting feedback from candidates about their testing experience can provide insights into any unintentional biases or barriers. Regularly updating the tests based on these reviews helps maintain their relevance and fairness, contributing to a more inclusive recruitment process.

Ana AlipatAna Alipat
Recruitment Team Lead, Dayjob Recruitment

Conduct External Validation Studies

In my experience, you’re going to want to have an external validation study. Bring in an independent third-party assessor to analyze the test’s effectiveness in predicting job performance across different demographic groups to ensure that it does not disproportionately advantage or disadvantage any particular group. Doing this in-house would, naturally, be pointless, so by having a third party examine the test’s validity and fairness, organizations can identify and address any potential biases in the assessment process. I’d recommend vetting your assessor while you’re at it, as you’ll want someone with a track record of diverse stakeholders and employees from various backgrounds.

Kate KandeferKate Kandefer
CEO, SEOwind

Revise Tests with Occupational Experts

One best practice we use for ensuring that pre-employment tests are unbiased and inclusive is continually reviewing and updating our testing materials.

For starters, it’s essential to work closely with occupational psychology experts to ensure that these tests accurately measure the skills they’re supposed to measure without cultural, educational, or socioeconomic bias.

We recently revised our problem-solving tests to eliminate industry-specific jargon that could disadvantage candidates unfamiliar with the food and beverage sector. Based on candidate feedback, this change has improved the fairness of our selection process.

It has also helped us identify the best candidates and uphold our commitment to diversity and inclusion by fostering open communication about the effectiveness of our testing methods and being receptive to feedback.

Laurie HyllbergLaurie Hyllberg
Vice President, Kinsa Group

Align Tests with Job Requirements

One best practice for ensuring that pre-employment tests are unbiased and inclusive involves regularly reviewing and updating the tests to align with current job requirements and industry standards. This approach helps mitigate the risk of inherent biases by ensuring relevance and fairness, focusing on the skills and knowledge that are truly essential for the job.

By conducting periodic reviews in collaboration with experts in the field and diversity and inclusion specialists, we can identify and eliminate any elements that may inadvertently favor one group of candidates over another, ensuring a level playing field for all applicants.

Amit DoshiAmit Doshi
Founder & CEO, MyTurn

Choose Standardized Tests Fairly

I’d recommend focusing on using standardized tests that are fair across diverse groups. This will help you maintain a level playing field for all candidates, regardless of their background. It means choosing tests that have been rigorously checked and proven to assess the skills and abilities of people from all demographics.

The tests should be designed with the input of human resources—and maybe even psychologists—to ensure they measure what they need to without giving an advantage or disadvantage to any particular group.

For example, if you’re hiring in the hospitality industry, your test would assess the relevant skills for the job rather than background or personal experiences. Rather than including questions that might require knowledge of specific high-end dining experiences, test for fundamental hospitality skills instead. These could be customer service scenarios, an understanding of basic food safety, or the ability to handle common front-of-house situations.

By doing this, you can show that you are committed to diversity and inclusion right from the start of the hiring process. It can also protect your business against accusations of bias.

Thomas AmosThomas Amos
CEO, Sidekicker

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