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Pre-employment tests are becoming increasingly popular hiring tools, as they are seen to be a reliable and effective method of narrowing down the best candidate for the job. However, as they can be used to discriminate against certain groups, they are subject to the laws set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  

Employers need to understand what these laws have to say about pre-employment tests and how they should be used to ensure fair hiring practices. This article will discuss the legal implications of using pre-employment tests in the hiring process and the steps employers should take to ensure compliance with the EEOC. 

What are pre-employment tests? 

Pre-employment tests are assessments that are used to evaluate a job candidate’s skills, abilities, and traits before an employment offer has been made. These tests are most often administered via computer, but they can also be administered via paper and pencil. They are used to assess everything from a candidate’s personality traits to their knowledge of certain job-specific skills. Pre-employment tests are most often used in technical fields where there are specific competencies required for a position. In addition to assessing skills and abilities, these tests can also be used to assess a candidate’s personality traits. For example, an employer may administer a personality test to determine if a candidate has the right fit for the position and the company culture. 

EEOC and pre-employment tests 

The EEOC is an organization that was established to ensure that all candidates, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. are treated fairly when applying for a job or are employed by an employer. The EEOC has two very important pieces of legislation that pertain to pre-employment tests. The first is the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, which was established in the 1970s.  

The second is the Revised Enforcement Guidance on the use of Acceptable Employment Screening Tools, which was established in 1999. These two pieces of legislation are very important for employers to understand, as they dictate how pre-employment tests can be used and what types of tests can be administered. 

Understanding EEOC’s laws 

The first piece of legislation, the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, was designed to ensure that any tests used by employers during the screening process are valid and reliable. In other words, they must be able to accurately predict what will happen if a candidate is hired and put into the position.  

The second piece of legislation, the Revised Enforcement Guidance on the use of Acceptable Employment Screening Tools, was designed to ensure that employers are not discriminating against certain groups of people when administering these tests. The EEOC has specific guidelines that employers must follow when administering any type of test.  

Failure to do so could result in a costly lawsuit or even a hefty fine. Once employers understand the law, they can begin taking steps to ensure compliance with these laws. 

What types of tests are allowed? 

The first thing employers should understand is that there are certain types of tests that are prohibited. The EEOC has very strict guidelines on what tests can and cannot be used, so it is important to follow these guidelines.  

The first type of test that is allowed is what is known as “examinee-supplied data”. This is any type of information that a candidate voluntarily provides about themselves or their skills. For example, a candidate could voluntarily list the languages that they speak on a resume or include computer skills on their resume. Employers should not ask candidates to provide this information.  

The second type of test that is allowed is what is known as a “general aptitude” test. These tests measure a candidate’s ability in general, rather than measuring specific skills that are relevant to the job. An example of a general aptitude test would be a mathematics test. Employers should ensure that these tests are relevant to the position for which they are hiring. 

The EEOC’s guidelines for administering tests 

If employers follow the guidelines put forth by the EEOC, they are allowed to administer any type of test they choose. It is important to note that the type of test that employers choose must be relevant to the position. In other words, the test must be able to accurately predict that a candidate can perform the job if hired. Employers are also required to disclose any testing that they plan to do, as well as explain what the test is evaluating. 

Employers’ responsibilities when administering tests 

When administering a test, employers are required to make sure that the testing environment is free from any sort of discrimination. Employers must also take special care when choosing a test administrator. This person must be able to administer the test without discriminating against any group. Employers must also ensure that the test administrator is trained to properly administer the test. If a test is administered incorrectly, it could result in inaccurate results, which could result in discrimination against a particular group of people. 

Ensuring compliance with EEOC laws 

While employers are allowed to administer any type of test they choose, they must ensure that they are following the EEOC’s guidelines. This means that employers must determine what the test is measuring and if the test is relevant to the position. Employers must also be careful not to discriminate against any group of people when administering the test.  

Employers must also make sure that the testing environment is free from discrimination. Finally, employers must make sure that they are following the guidelines when choosing a test and making sure that it measures what it is supposed to. By following these steps, employers can be sure that they are complying with EEOC laws when administering pre-employment tests. 

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