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  • Patrick Littorin

Time to test the test

In just a few years, the use of tests has increased significantly. Nowadays, digital technology makes it easy to quickly send a test link to a candidate. Perhaps you therefore believe that this technology has led to new tests emerging on the market? Think again! A sleek layout and design do not make the test itself modern. In practice, technology has only digitized old tests. Creating new tests is, in fact, both complex and time-consuming.

Nowadays, tests are even used for relatively simple jobs. In the past, it was expensive and time-consuming to test a candidate. Today, most job seekers are tested, sometimes somewhat routinely. There are now even test providers that do not require any training for users. Additionally, candidates rarely receive any feedback on why they didn't get the job. But which tests are good when applying for a job? Here are some criteria you should always demand from reputable tests:

  • Who is the test developed for? A fundamental requirement should be that the test is validated on the groups that are intended to use it. Selection tests should be normative; the candidate's test results should be comparable to a relevant comparison group and adapted for individuals in today's working life.

  • Scientific documentation. You have the right to know how the test is constructed and the scientific research behind it. Feel free to request research materials; how has the test's claims been substantiated?

  • The test must be stable. To be reliable, a test must provide roughly the same test results if the candidate were to retake the test multiple times. Simpler personality tests can be easily manipulated and yield different results depending on how the candidate chooses to respond.

  • The test must have predictive validity. Companies that use tests want to know if the candidate is more likely to succeed in the new job. Otherwise, there's no reason to test a candidate. Reputable test providers should be able to present various studies that demonstrate the test's documented predictive validity.

But don't believe that the test solves all your recruitment problems. Increasingly, testing seems to be done routinely. This damages the reputation of the entire testing industry. Because there are good - and less good tests. And there are reputable - and less reputable test providers. Good tests provide a more structured view of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. The result should then be used as a kind of hypothesis testing before the interview or during reference checks. However, this naturally requires that the user of a test is interested in listening to how the candidate thinks and reasons. Don't expect the test to tell the absolute truth about a person!

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