How to handle pre-employment assessments

personality test assessment


If requested, do companies need to release Caliper assessment results to applicants?

– KW


Caliper is the brand name of one of a number of pre-employment screenings that can be used to apply behavioral science and objective measures to provide some additional data on whether a job candidate would be a good hire in general or a good fit for a particular position. Some employers swear by assessments like these and take the results very seriously in making hiring decisions, while others use it as one of a number of data points in hiring decisions or don’t use a tool like that at all, in favor of traditional methods like interviews. The rationale for using these screenings, of course, is that the cost of the assessment is far less than the costs incurred by a bad hire, the resultant damage to the organization, and the cost of turnover. These types of assessments can also be used by current employees to make them more self-aware of strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development and reflection.

Pre-employment screenings can be controversial. There is concern that the results of some tests may not be reliable or valid as a predictor of workplace success, may ask personal questions violating equal employment opportunity protections, or may discriminate against applicants with disabilities, to name a few objections. It is important to use a trusted vendor and confirm the legality of the screening in your area.

To your question, the User’s Guide for Caliper specifically advises, “You should not share Caliper results with applicants, particularly if the feedback is negative. Sharing the results opens you up to potential liability, especially if the individual is disgruntled about not being selected, as well as if results are shared with some candidates and not with others.” This advice applies to any brand of pre-employment test. My advice is not to get into detail about the reasons for not selecting a candidate for a position, but to simply say, “You were not selected.” There are good reasons for the dreaded, impersonal, “We regret to inform you…” letter. That said, it is always best to manage expectations by telling the applicant when they take the screening what sort of feedback they can expect to receive, if any, and when. To cover your bases, you may even want to have your attorney draft some language when you give the assessment asking the applicant to read and sign that they understand the parameters of the screening, and that they will not be provided with results.

As always, check with your attorney to confirm the regulations and legality of pre-employment screening in your state. More on pre-employment screening here.

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