Today’s topic is integrity tests; what are they and how should they be used?
Well, the term integrity tests is actually used to describe a couple of different types of tests, but they all help employers manage risk by assessing the likelihood that an applicant will be a reliable employee who will follow the rules. So as I said, there are two main types of integrity tests: covert (personality-based) tests that measure traits linked to rule adherence; and overt tests which assess an applicant’s attitudes towards various counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) directly. Some integrity tests, like our Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP), combine elements of both to predict employee reliability.
What most integrity tests focus on is an applicant’s tendencies and attitudes with respect to rule adherence. Because of this, the tests can be used to predict behavior with respect to a wide variety of counterproductive work behaviors that employers want to avoid, ranging from tardiness, absenteeism, and time-wasting, to theft, fraud, drug use, and safety violations. Integrity tests are generally most widely used and are most effective for entry-level positions for which overall reliability and rule-following is particularly important. Some of the more common uses of integrity tests in specific situations are:
- To reduce risk of employee theft, for example in retail sales
- In positions where employees will be working in customers’ homes, such as home health care aides and field service technicians
- In manufacturing settings to assess risk for safety violations
In all of these cases, integrity tests can serve as a risk management measure, as they will determine that certain applicants represent a higher risk of engaging in these behaviors based on their responses and personality profiles. Often, employers will use background checks pre-hire for these positions, but background checks are expensive and only target people who have committed crimes in the past. By using integrity tests early in the hiring process, employers can save time and costs and help to minimize risk with respect to avoiding workplace behaviors that damage their organization.