In the pursuit of hiring a great workforce, casting the net wide isn’t always the best tactic. The same goes for pre employment testing. Personalized testing tightly matched to specific jobs and tasks matters and can make the difference between a safe and successful hire and an issue waiting to happen.
Some companies that offer pre employment physical abilities testing take a broad approach to assessing candidates, often using a general “aerobic capacity test” or machine-based strength testing. They then use the results to make projections about a subject’s ability to work an eight-hour day. While these tactics likely do measure something about a candidate’s ability to perform a high-demand job for a period of time, they are not specific enough to really tell an employer what that person can do day after day, or how safely they can sustain the precise actions of their job over time. As the saying goes, close counts only in horseshoes and hand grenades. Hiring is definitely not a “close is good enough” activity, but choosing an effective test means choosing a provider willing to closely analyze the tasks specific to your positions and customize testing based on those criteria.
Here are a few reasons why searching out a deep level of specificity from your pre employment testing is optimal:
Every job is different.
While being healthy enough to pass a general capacity test is definitely good for a candidate (and any employer that might hire them), every job—and every task and even each movement needed to successfully carry out that job—can vary widely from industry to industry and even workplace to workplace. If a test only measures physical appropriateness in general terms, how can an employer really know if a candidate is suitable and safe? A thorough provider will base pre employment testing off of careful analysis of the specific job task to be performed—not a generality.
Every worksite is different.
Just as every job is different, so is every worksite. Without proper study of the ergonomics of a workplace and the job to be performed, pre employment testing becomes disconnected from the job itself. A thorough testing provider will visit a worksite to measure the specific demands of a job and observe/or videotape employees performing the task to create testing specific to those activities.
Specificity equals defensibility.
General testing is subjective testing. Specific, job-focused testing built from the actual requirements of the work is defensible testing. Employers with this level of detail behind their pre employment tests can be confident—and supported by quantifiable fact—if ever legally challenged.
Smart pre-employment physical abilities testing is specific testing; providing a level of thoroughness that helps take the guesswork out of employee selection.