Steps to Assessing the Validity of Integrity and Honesty Testing in Job Recruitment

Attitude, Honesty & Integrity iconIn a previous blog, “The Validity of Integrity and Honesty Testing in Job Recruitment” I explained the common mistakes employers make when using integrity and honesty testing in their job recruitment process.

To expand further, there are some important steps to take to make sure you are using honesty and integrity testing safely. The goal in using such tests is to identify counterproductive behaviors and attitudes of applicants before they are hired:

  1. First, look at the policies you have in place at your company—Is there anything within your current policies that would concern you about using an honesty and integrity test?For example, there a few states like New Jersey and Rhode Island that have laws around using honesty and integrity testing in the hiring process.So if you’re thinking about using this kind of testing, you should first check to see if there is anything specific to your state that would either prevent you from using them or identify special requirements for using them.
  2. Conduct a predictive blind study—What a blind study would do is to allow you to determine if an honesty and integrity test can help predict counterproductive behaviors in your workplace. The way this works is that you would begin to ask applicants to take the honesty and integrity test, but you wouldn’t score them or report the results.That way you can continue to hire on the same criteria that you have now. It is important at the beginning of this process to document your current statistics for turnover, theft, shrinkage, worker’s compensation, safety issues, etc.Then after six months or more, you can work backwards to figure out “if” you had used the statistical information provided by the honesty and integrity test results, how accurately would it have predicted issues you are finding with the newly hired employees.So you have actually documented the validity of being able to use the tool in your recruitment process to predict the counterproductive behaviors such as those listed above. While this process requires some time and attention, it can be the safest and most reliable way to ensure you are using these tests properly and can defend your use of them if challenged.You would continue to document issues such as shrinkage and safety issues over time to ensure the tests are having a positive impact.

An Example

We recently heard from a staffing client in the healthcare industry that recruits and places direct home healthcare workers.

Three years ago, they incorporated honesty and integrity assessments, as well as behavioral assessments, into their recruiting process and have seen some dramatic results.

Their retention rates rose from 60 percent to 70 percent in year one to 81 percent a year later! This is resulting in huge savings in turnover costs for their clients.

Not only have the retention rates risen dramatically, but they are also finding that the attitude and integrity test results are helping them in the behavioral interview process.

One example shared was when they had an applicant that scored poorly on the hostility scale, and in using the behavioral interview questions provided in the report, the applicant admitted to using “force when necessary with a patient who was uncooperative.”

They shared many of these stories with us of “flushing out the issues in the interview” since the test had pinpointed potential problem areas.

Final Thoughts

Here are some final thoughts on the subject of the validity of integrity and honesty testing:

  • Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that they did a poll of companies and an alarming percentage—24 percent—said theft of supplies and products was up. Eighteen percent of the companies said that cash theft was up, as well.I talked about honesty and integrity testing in my last post and above, but that is only part of the overall hiring puzzle. You also need to, at the very minimum, make sure you are not bringing people into your organization who already admit to having these kinds of issues.But secondarily, companies really need to pay close attention to their policies and procedures so they make it more difficult for people to do dishonest things.For example, don’t make it easy for employees to get their hands on cash and supplies without you knowing about it.
  • As time goes on, there are new issues in the workplace. Two current issues are employees who have counterproductive attitudes and behaviors around sexual harassment and computer misuse. For this reason, in 2004 we implemented new scales on our honesty and integrity test to measure counterproductive attitudes and behaviors around these two issues.Now we can actually measure people’s attitudes toward inappropriate ways to interact with other people on the job, as well as, inappropriate ways to use the computer, confidential information as well as the Internet while at work.

It is important to consider safely utilizing tools such as Honesty and Integrity tests to measure counterproductive behaviors and attitudes of applicants.

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One Response to Steps to Assessing the Validity of Integrity and Honesty Testing in Job Recruitment

  1. Pingback: The Validity of Integrity and Honesty Testing in Job Recruitment | PeopleViews – the PeopleClues blog

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