Selection tests have been used to screen applicants for more than one hundred years. An
effective testing program can improve accuracy in selecting employees; provide an objective
means for comparing candidates; and provide information about training, development, or
counseling needs. These advantages must be carefully weighed against the disadvantages: the
fallibility of tests, the fact that tests can never measure everything, and many tests discriminate
against minorities. Each small business owner must decide whether employment tests make
sense for his or her business. However, Daniel Kehrer of Work.com claims that employee testing
is essential to reducing employee turnover for small businesses because preemployment screens
are four times greater at predicting employee success than interviews. He notes further that high
turnover rates are much more expensive for small businesses than large companies. Just be
sure that all employment tests can be linked to a business necessity.
Checking references is a much more difficult proposition. It is a good idea to check references
after the interview to objectively evaluate the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and other
information presented during the interview. Not checking references can result in poor hiring
Unfortunately, many former employers are reluctant to reveal anything other than an
employee’s date of hire and departure and job title, but others may be willing to discuss an
employee’s job performance, work ethic, attendance, attitude, and other things that may be
important to the prospective employer.
As important as it is to check references, it is a process that is fraught with legal risk, so check
with an attorney before moving forward.