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Here in the UK, it's not uncommon in large companies.



What would be awesome would be taking a variety of (cheap, painless, ideally totally passive) tests on a control population, your applicant population, your offer population (specifically those who turn you down), your new hires, and your ongoing employees (especially if you can sort your employees once hired into good/bad).

It would ideally be descriptive vs. prescriptive, so you could uncover things like "we get mainly recent-college-grads applying, but our strongest employees are those who joined mid-career", or "we have very few minorities who apply, but those who apply and are offered positions tend to be strong and stay with the company a long time".

Pretty meaningless unless you are hiring at Google scale, though.


In the UK a lot of otherwise sensible organisations seem to include these daft wee tests into their hiring process (including at least one large US tech giant and one fairly successful VC funded startup that I know of).


HR must do something to got paid, let's do a stupid test to each candidate!


It's common with big companies in South Africa as well. It may have to do with how difficult it is to fire someone under our laws, but a few months probation is usually good enough, and fairer.


And here I thought my company was one of the few doing it in SA...


Software consulting places and body shops (unfortunately the line is increasingly blurry) don't generally do them. There was small software company in Jhb that used to send candidates for invasive IQ and personality tests to a psychologist, but they don't exist anymore.

Many big corporates have psychometricians on staff. At least one even has a department dedicated to psychometric testing.

There's plenty of demand for skilled developers so I don't understand why people put themselves through the humiliation. I expect that a lot of skilled people self-select out of these sorts of psychometric processes if they can, to the detriment of potential employers.

I also wouldn't be surprised if many of the tests contain an element of uncorrected racial/cultural bias, and the psychometric industry has been exploiting the inability of the government to enforce the law (Employment Equity Act), which makes discriminatory testing illegal.


"I also wouldn't be surprised if many of the tests contain an element of uncorrected racial/cultural bias, and the psychometric industry has been exploiting the inability of the government to enforce the law (Employment Equity Act), which makes discriminatory testing illegal."

Bingo! The way it actually works is you organize everything with the assumption that applicants will fail 20% of tests. A different failure mode each time, but the odds are excellent if you give an applicant ten tests, and they fail 1 in 5, every applicant will fail at least one. Then you remove all the undesirables (skin color, sexuality, that kind of thing) and declare the fact that the bosses nephew being the only guy to fail the 360 interview with the janitor turns out to be not relevant, so lets hire him.

In the original article the only reason the 1% test result mattered In That Particular Case is the HR person didn't like that asian's nationality, or race, or religion, or something like that. Guarantee if I was the candidate it would be swept under the rug (unless the HR lady hates me because of my race, politics, religion, of course)


"I also wouldn't be surprised if many of the tests contain an element of uncorrected racial/cultural bias, and the psychometric industry has been exploiting the inability of the government to enforce the law (Employment Equity Act), which makes discriminatory testing illegal."

Why would the psychometric industry want to exploit such a lack of enforcement by vending a discriminatory test? Do you think their customers are interested in using tests that give bogus results?


Perhaps I was unclear. I don't think that they deliberately bias the tests, I do think that they don't rigorously validate the tests to prove that they are non-discriminatory, perhaps because of laziness, or because they lack the statistical know-how.


Or just use the Employment Equity Act to discriminate directly if the candidate fits...

The Employment Equity Act doesn't make discriminatory testing illegal, it legalizes discrimination.


Section 8 of the Employment Equity Act: “Psychological testing and other similar assessments of an employee are prohibited unless the test or assessment being used— a) has been scientifically shown to be valid and reliable; b) can be applied fairly to all employees; and c) is not biased against any employee or group."


That's big companies for you. Enterprise!


Or even in medium sized ones




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