Employment Testing

By Dr. Monique Marie Chouraeshkenazi  Photo Source: Debra Kabalkin

By Dr. Monique Marie Chouraeshkenazi

Photo Source: Debra Kabalkin

Employment testing is based on the knowledge and experience of individual prior to hire. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology website, employment testing can be based on two concepts: assessment and legal. The assessment portion is based on standardized testing to examine an employee’s skills, capabilities, and aptitude for a certain position (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology [SIOP], 2018). The legal aspect of employment testing is understanding guidelines to make an employment decision (SIOP, 2018, para. 1). It is important for organizations to know that their employees are qualified and legally within the realm of their jobs and responsibilities. 

            After conducting some research on interview questions, I found the following would be appropriate to ask a manager (assuming me—the interviewee, asking the hiring manager of an agency). Check out my hypothesis:

1). What is the history of this position?

Good answer: Give a background of when the organization was started and when the position in question was formalized. Also, the manager can discuss some of the significant milestones accomplished from this position to give a since of responsibilities not only expanded the job, but increased the overall effectiveness of the company. 

Bad answer: To give a vague, short answer that only discusses the previous individual’s responsibilities. 

2). What do you want to see accomplished in the first six months? 

Good answer: Give the interviewee a precise description of the expectations for the job (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly tasks) and certain projects that need to be completed, and a timeframe that all projects should be completed. 

Bad answer: “Based on your qualifications and experience, I have no doubt that you will be able to soar and figure out the responsibilities required.”

3). Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly (Autenrieth, 2018). 

Good answer: Give a solid answer about some of the challenges and what previous employees in the position had to deal with. Also, give some examples of what they did to overcome the learning curve and give them some guidance on what they can do to quickly progress and become effective while not overwhelming the individual and rushing their progress (i.e. quality over quantitative). 

Bad answer: “There really isn’t any challenges with the position and since you’re qualified for the position, you shouldn’t have any issues tackling those hurdles.” 

            Identifying the competencies for understanding the history of the position would be is simple. If an individual is interviewing for a position that he or she is qualified for and/or has been in, then it is a matter of understanding the description of the position of the agency since it can differ from company to company. Therefore, the competencies should be measured on the nature of the position. For example, if one is interviewing to be a Professor or Chair of a Department within a university, the competencies to be measure would be: academic ability, verbal ability, word knowledge (Aiken & Groth-Marnat, 2006). 

            What should be accomplished in the first six months is predicated on statistical and numerical ability when it comes to the position. For example, there are timelines and milestones that should be accomplished for a job. I have seen many jobs work in a “systematic,” way, doing the same responsibilities daily, weekly, annually, and not doing anything outside the box that will revolutionize the position to increase productivity. For this position, competencies would be based on academic ability, verbal ability, math ability, work knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematics knowledge (Aiken & Groth-Marnat, 2006). 

            Understanding the most difficult task of the position is very important because if there are expectations to advance the organization, it is important that an individual understands such challenges to overcome them. Such competencies would be the same as the first two: academic ability, verbal ability, math ability, work knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematic knowledge (Aiken & Groth-Marnat, 2006). 

There are many factors when considering what information should be included in interview questions. I believe wording and length should be consistent with the job position, along with mitigating bias. Pew Research Center states creating questions that are biased or do not lay foundational information can negatively impact answers and/or skew the answers (2018). The key is writing good questions that are neutral in nature and that can capture the most suitable information based on the purpose/position/outcome. Writing good questions, in my opinion, would be based on annotating outlines and covering topics the subject matter. For example, if an individual was to be interviewed for a fellowship program in national security at a distinguished university or "think-tank" organization, I would tailor specific questions to grasp an idea on the one's knowledge of the historical background of national security, specific treaties/agreements, and conflicts that have led up to the conceptualization of national security. Using this methodology, I believe I can mitigate bias or personal statements because focusing facts and historical information. With that said, fellowships are elite positions, so the questions might be wordier and a little lengthy to see how an individual could answer to show he or she skill set within the field. 

Understanding that there are many jobs that people do for the passion and interest and not the money are those I believe will excel because they have an invested interest. I found an article on LinkedIn that discusses the importance of interview questions and the author mentioned interviews are not necessarily based on the person's abilities when hired, it is predicated on a gut instinct (Halper, 2015). I can agree with that because I believe hiring managers and HR reps, who interview, are not only looking for qualifications and experience, but are looking for the "whole person concept." What are his/her mannerisms? Facial expressions? How does the person presents himself/herself? The appearance. They answer the interview questions well and seemed to be prepared, but how do interact with other people? I actually just spoke with a person, who is a HR rep, and she discussed that people can be highly qualified for a position, but if it is not a good fit (i.e. the personality and social skills), they will pass up on a person because they do not feel the person could integrate well with other employees and cultural environment. She said her company has passed up distinguished interviews who gave excellent responses to their interviews, but were not a good fit because of their social skills and did not think it would be conducive to their modernized environment. I found that very fascinating. In most corporate environments, what would be more important: having solid interview questions or the whole person concept? Is there an importance to how interview questions are formatted to be an integral part of the interview process?

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discusses the importance of having strong questions that are relevant to the field of interest. What is your management style can be considered a complex question because maybe some individuals do not know how to describe and/or convey style, but it is one that you can see through experience. In addition, the organization states there are two types of leadership styles: autocratic and permissive. Autocratic leadership is predicated on an individual making all the decisions for an organization. Permissive leadership involves those in leadership positions to give responsibilities to their subordinate as well as the autonomy to make decisions for a business. I do believe it is important for those to discuss their leadership styles and abilities. I also believe it is intuitive by sharing an example/scenario or personal experience within the workplace (during the interview) to discuss their management styles, which gives HR representatives and hiring teams some insightful about the type of person their working with. This also determines whether a person is a good fit for the position, no the positioning of interview questions and qualifying capabilities. 


Aiken, L. R. & Groth-Marnat, G. (2006). Psychological Testing and Assessment. Boston, MA: 

            Pearson Education Group, Inc. 

Autenrieth, N. (2018). 13 of the smartest questions to ask a hiring manager. Top Resume. 

Retrieved from https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/13-of-the-smartest-questions-to-ask-a-hiring-manager (accessed on 16 July 2018). 

Halper, M. (2015). The importance of asking good interview questions (interviewer). LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-asking-good-interview-questions-michael-halper/ (accessed on 19 July 2018). 

Pew Research Center. (2018). Questionnaire design. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/questionnaire-design/ (accessed on 19 July 2018). 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (n.d.). Management styles. Retrieved from https://www.rpi.edu/dept/advising/free_enterprise/business_structures/management_styles.htm (accessed on 22 July 2018). 

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2018). Employment testing 

overview. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/Workplace/employment%20testing/overview.aspx#What%20is%20an%20employment%20test (accessed on 16 July 2018).