Across the Board

In the latest edition of “Across the Board“, the article “Are Workplace Tests Worth Taking? (A) Yes, if you do them right. (B) No, because you’re probably doing them wrong. (C) Both of the above.” By James Krohe Jr., offers up some of Wendell Williams’ insight into the test-taking business. Some of Wendell’s quotes:”A good test applied to a task for which it was not developed becomes a bad test,” says Wendell Williams, managing director of, a Georgia purveyor of organizational hiring systems.

“HR types often do not understand the limitations of the test,” Williams insists. “Even its publisher says it is not for use for hiring.”

“They’ve committed a lot of the CEO’s money, and they don’t want to be wrong,” says Wendell Williams, managing director of

He [Williams] estimates that less than 10 percent of corporate America’s psychological tests actually measure job fit, actually predict performance, and were designed to be used for hiring purposes.

Usually in business, Williams insists, it is the “feel” or “flavor” of a test, not its formal validity, that determines whether companies elect to use it for pre-hiring screening. Or its popularity. Decisions about screening mechanisms are often made according to the “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong” principle.

“Motivational and psychological factors become more critical as a person gains more power in an organization,” says Wendell Williams of

But as Williams notes, “If you allow senior management to bully you into not giving tests simply because they are senior management, you’re taking a great risk.”

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