Pre-Employment Testing Aligns Worker Ability to Job Requirements and Avoids Injuries

[fa icon="calendar'] May 22, 2015 9:35:48 AM / by Deborah Lechner

Pre-employment testing to determine the physical abilities of an applicant adds a level of verification into the hiring process that self-reported data from a job candidate simply can’t provide.

A 2005 report by ADP found that when actively checking references, 49% of their investigations revealed a difference in the information the applicant provided and what the reference actually reported.[1] There are a lot of reasons why this could be (including out-and-out lying), but when it comes to presenting an accurate assessment of their physical abilities, many applicants just don't know their capabilities, and overestimate accordingly. While inflated salary histories and fake degrees are not to be taken lightly, when someone overestimates their ability to perform a physically demanding job it can spell disaster for both the candidate and their employer,dramatically increasing the likelihood of on the job injury.

Inflated Skillsets

This particular issue comes up over and over again in “top 10” lists of employer concerns when hiring for physically demanding jobs. If an applicant states they can lift a certain weight or has previously operated a piece of machinery requiring specific expertise or bodily force, a properly implemented post-offer screen can make sure it’s true. Preventing a candidate from accepting a job they are physically unable to perform protects the employer today and the candidate for what could be the rest of his career.

So what leads a candidate, even one with the best of intentions, to overestimate their abilities and unwittingly put themselves at risk of serious or life- threatening injury? It’s probably not just the desire for a paycheck, it’s the Dunning-Kruger effect, a well-documented psychological phenomenon where a person simply isn't well enough aware of the skills required fora given task to accurately estimate their ability to perform it. In short, some job candidates simply don't know what they don't know. They cannot accurately estimate their ability to perform some tasks associated with a job, so they guess based upon their (inaccurate) understanding of it.

Removing the Guesswork

A custom-designed pre-employment testing program, where candidates are screened by trained healthcare professionals in a controlled setting that closely

matches the actual requirements of the position, can employers accurately assess the true capacity of candidates to do physically demanding jobs.

Not only does this approach protect the employer from lost down time and a variety of legal ramifications that can result from on the job injury it also helps the job candidate learn more about their actual capabilities. After all, it’s better to lose out on a job that provides a paycheck today but ends a career tomorrow. Pre employment physical abilities testing can be as valuable as a traditional background check when screening candidates for physically demanding jobs. Take the time to explore the best resources for developing a comprehensive pre-employment testing program.

So, check twice, hire once. Your ability to create a safer workplace might just depend on it.


Learn steps to developing pre-hire testing

Topics: Pre Employment Screening

Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.