The Use of Intelligence Tests as Selection Tool in Hiring

Published: 2018-10-30 22:39:10
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Human resource management

Human resource executives are faced with the daunting and sometimes complex process of selecting the right talent and abilities to suit a particular job description and to actualize that selection in hiring. It is not only a challenging task to select the right candidate for the job from a multitude of applicants, but the process becomes more complex as most of the applicants may have similar academic and professional qualifications to suit the job. When this is the case, the human resources professional is supposed to decide who the first among equals is and this is a process that has many potential challenges such as claims of discrimination and disillusionment and discontent among applicants. This is compounded especially if the applicants are from within the organization and are therefore supposed to keep working together even after the selection process is done.

While selection processes for non-executive posts may be faced with all of the above hurdles, the human resource professional is on a somewhat easy field because the wrong decisions in selecting such applicants could be possibly reversed and the potential damage to the productivity of the organization easily mitigated. However, when selecting talent for executive positions, the human resource manager should tread with more care and should invest resources into precision to ensure that they get the right talent for the job. This is because such decisions are not as easy to reverse and the positions the applicants are selected to fill have more impact on the organization than non-executive positions. Picking the wrong or the least ideal candidate for an executive position could be detrimental to the organization as the candidate is supposed to make decisions that affect the operations of the organization. In addition to professional and academic qualifications, industries and organizations are now turning to a battery of tests including personality, attitude, integrity and intelligence tests to determine the most suitable candidate especially in the selection of candidates to fill executive level positions. This paper is aimed at evaluating intelligence testing as a means of evaluating applicants/ candidates for executive positions. The first part of the paper will entail views of the Society for Human resources management, the premier organization for Human resources practitioners in the country. The second part of the paper will examine views and sentiments of a Scholar in management studies at the University of Iowa. The penultimate part of this paper will contain the author's views about the relevance, propriety, and impact of intelligence testing as a means of candidate selection. The final part of the paper will be the summary of all the above different views and the conclusion of the topic in the author's view.

An intelligence testing as a means to select suitable candidates for a job position

According to the society of human resource management, there has been no full consensus for human resource practitioners about the suitability or even the fairness of intelligence testing as a means to select suitable candidates for a job position. One of the major concerns about the suitability and fairness of these tests arises from the perception that they are discriminatory towards certain groups and may unfairly favor other groups. Some of these concerns were that intelligence tests discriminated against minority groups because of the cultural bias in their design and because the minorities were less academically exposed than their counterparts. However, intelligence tests have been evolving, and the science of general cognitive ability assessment has developed with it too. Evidence has also proven that meticulously designed and administered Intelligence tests are not culturally biased, and thus the concerns that intelligence tests are discriminatory to minorities have been allayed. The assessment of general cognitive ability has evolved considerably, and the standardized tests administered today are free from concerns of discrimination (Frase, 2007).

Intelligence tests are used as one in a catalog of best practices that are used in recruiting human resource. As the organization becomes more complex and evolves, more of these best practices are integrated and employed in the selection of new prospects. These tests can be used to predict the success of prospects in the industry but are not often used to eliminate applicants from the selection process. Used as one in a set of industrial and organizational best practices, intelligence tests are just another tool ion the kit, sometimes used as some tie breaker. The intelligence tests are also a measure of how the newly hired employee will respond to real life work situations and how they will react when faced with spur of the moment decisions. While other measures of the employee's breadth of capability still need to be used, the intelligence test is a meaningful way to gauge the employee's aptitude and cognitive ability and how these factors will relate to their work performance and productivity. The intelligence test is a realistic way to measure and evaluate the prospect's leadership style and their learning ability. This could especially be useful if the new position being offered requires a steep learning curve and if the new employee will be making decisions that are outside their normal area of expertise. This occurs mostly when the new employee is transiting industries or is in a junior position seeking promotion.

Intelligence tests as a useful way to determine a candidate's suitability

The general tone of the article reviewed and according to the Society of Human Resource Managers representatives quoted, the Society of Human Resource managers is in qualified support of Intelligence testing. The body advocates and approves their use as a selection tool when recruiting candidates as long as they are not used exclusively and as long as they are administered fairly and have no room for bias against any segment of the population. Intelligence tests have been proven to be fair and non-discriminatory, and as the article claims, there are hardly any legal complaints from applicants who have been disqualified by this measure. The use of intelligence tests has been found as a fair way to choose between two equally qualified and attractive prospects hence the society's support for the use of tests. Their view is that though intelligence tests may be utilized in the selection process for executive level positions, they should not necessarily be used to disqualify applicants since the applicant's qualifications had been attractive enough in the first place to warrant such interest. Therefore, though intelligence tests can be utilized as a means to predict or project the future market performance of a prospect, it should not be the only tool used in the selection of applicants but rather that the recruiter should incorporate other industrial best practices to ensure that the company lands the best possible candidate for the job.

According to the Ralph L. Sheets Professor in the Department of Management and Organizations in Iowa University, Frank L. Schmidt, measuring mental ability is the best way to measure predicted job performance and Schmidt is convinced that there is a movement to convince companies to take up testing in their selection process as a reliable way of assessing prospects aptitude and cognitive abilities. According to Schmidt's research, general cognitive ability impacts on a person's job performance because of the role that cognitive ability plays in the acquisition, retention, and application of information about one's job. Those who have a higher cognitive ability are thus better at acquiring, retaining and applying the knowledge and information that is needed to make better decisions at work than those who have lesser cognitive capabilities and aptitude.

According to my point of view, intelligence tests are a useful way to determine a candidate's suitability for a certain job. This is because intelligence can be broadly defined as an individual's ability to adapt to new situations mentally. A person with a higher intelligence is, therefore, better suited for new positions since they will take considerably lesser time settling in and acquiring the information that they need for success in the organization. While with time even the individual with a lower intellect can adapt and gain mastery of a field, it will take a relatively lesser time for the individual with a higher intellectual ability to achieve that mastery and therefore posing the organization for a greater success in the industry. I also support the view of the Society for Human Resource Managers that intelligence tests should not be administered as an exclusive measure to determine suitability for employment but that they should rather be employed alongside other selection practices to ensure fairness, minimize bias and discrimination and to select a wholesome candidate for the position being filled.

Work Cited

Frase, Martha J. "Smart Selections". SHRM, 2007, https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/1207agenda_empstaffing.aspx.

sheldon

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