Employers use various strategies to identify the best employees to hire, promote, and retain. Selection tests commonly are implemented as one of these strategies to increase the accuracy of employment decisions. Selection tests can be implemented to improve a range of job-related outcomes such as increased job performance or reduced employee turnover, injury costs, or internal theft.

The validity of a selection test is a critical consideration, as it refers to whether a test’s scores are useful for making predictions about a candidate’s potential job behaviors. Validity also is a legal requirement in many situations. When a selection test favors a protected subgroup disproportionally, even when the test is facially neutral (i.e., “adverse impact”), employers have a legal obligation under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 to demonstrate the test is “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity,” which is typically accomplished through validation. Title VII includes the principle of equal employment opportunity (EEO), which protects applicants and employees from discrimination and prohibits specific types of job discrimination in certain workplaces.

BRG experts work with clients on test development and validation in two ways:

  1. Develop customized selection systems that are fair, valid, and legally defensible
  2. Conduct independent reviews of existing selection systems to assess evidence of validity

We develop selection tests and design validation studies that are consistent with legal guidelines such as the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978), professional standards such as the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology’s Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (2018), and scientific and technical literature on personnel selection.

We commonly apply the following strategies to evaluate validity:

  • Content-oriented strategy: This strategy assesses the degree to which the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) measured by a test are job related.
  • Criterion-oriented strategy: This strategy assesses whether there is an empirical relationship between test scores and job-related outcomes (e.g., job performance, turnover, injury costs).
  • Other validation strategies also may be appropriate, such as construct-oriented strategies, validity transportability, and validity generalization.

We work with clients to consider and evaluate potential sources of validation evidence. Our validation process incorporates current theory and scientific research to provide robust and authoritative findings.

Examples of Employment Selection Tests Studied by BRG Experts

  • Public safety hiring and promotional exams
  • Physical abilities testing
  • Criminal history screenings
  • Employment interviews
  • Performance appraisals


Related Contacts

Chester Hanvey


San Francisco Bay Area

Elizabeth Arnold


San Francisco Bay Area

David Lewin

Managing Director

Los Angeles, Century City, New York

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