In an interview with First Business's Bill Moller on 4-9-2014, Scott Sargis, the president of Strategic Search Corporation, talked about why The SAT is not developed as a job-screening tool.
Due to the poor U.S. jobs recovery, which has netted only a miniscule average of 121,000 new jobs per month for the first three months of 2014 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), executive recruitment teams have a wealth of talent to choose from. As a result, their internal management recruiters are employing even more tools to screen out candidates. One increasingly being used, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, is the candidate’s SAT scores.
The SAT is the most widely used college admissions test. It is typically offered to high school students to predict literacy and writing skills needed for college academic success. The College Board (developers of the SAT) states that it assesses how well the test takers analyze and solve problems, which are essential skills for succeeding in college. However, the test is administered under very tight time constraints. As a result, some brilliant students, who are slow test takers, may not perform as well on their SATs!
Furthermore, the main purpose of the SAT is to predict college success, not future overall achievement or job performance! As a result, most of my R&D recruiters, engineering recruiters, scientific recruiters, IT recruiters and technical recruiters are shocked at this recent development.
I, too, find this very disheartening because I spent a major part of my early years, including while pursuing my Master’s at Duke, researching interest, behavioral, psychological and aptitude tests. This was done in hopes of finding a better way to predict star performers, including the engineers, scientists and R&D, IT and technical professionals that I currently place as a technical recruiter.
Additionally, Buros Center For Test Measurement (the leading authority in the field) accurately reports, there is no Holy Grail for human testing. Instead all tests are flawed having very low coefficients of both reliability and validity. This means that employers should not rely upon any test to predict job success let alone the SAT!
Therefore, I advise against the use of the SAT as a recruiting tool. As I shared in several previous articles, including: a)Hiring Errors Prove The Need For Thorough Background Investigations! and b)Three Steps To Successful Technical Recruiting! adopting an investigative approach to screening candidates still remains the most advantageous. I realize that it is very tempting, especially for a scientific recruiter trying to differentiate among several outstanding R&D and scientist candidates, to gravitate to an in-vogue test like the SAT. However, if you thoroughly research its drawbacks, including that the SAT was not developed as a job-screening tool, you will agree to abandon its use of for executive recruitment decisions.
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