Understanding Validation

What is validation and why is it important?

Broadly speaking, validation is an expression of how well a test actually measures what it claims to. In the case of pre-hire assessments, how well does a test demonstrate that a candidate is a good fit for the role in question?

In addition to verifying that an assessment is non-discriminatory, and, as such, is EEOC compliant, selecting a validated test will ensure that you receive an accurate picture of whether or not someone is likely to succeed on the job.

The HireArt assessment has been developed and is continuously revised to achieve three types of validity:

Content Validity describes how comprehensively an assessment tests the candidate. In the case of pre-hire assessments, that means the test needs to measure a representative sampling of the skills, traits, tasks, or knowledge necessary for the job.

The HireArt assessment relies heavily on work sample questions, which require candidates to perform realistic tasks similar to those they would encounter on the job. Our question sets are constructed to bring out as many skills as possible to provide a comprehensive picture of the candidate’s relevant abilities.

Criterion Validity is a measure of a test’s predictive value. At HireArt, we keep track of hires and follow-up on their job performance after a significant amount of time has elapsed. Our assessment team reviews completed tests for both high- and low-performing hires to verify that their scores were in-line with our recommendation to the employer. We also engage in continuous improvement of the scoring rubrics where discrepancies have occurred.

Construct Validity indicates how accurately an assessment measures individual skills or traits, based on an established understanding of what each of those are. HireArt questions and grading rubrics were developed in partnership with subject-matter experts to ensure that high scores correlate with successful demonstration of a given skill or trait. For example, on our assessment, a high or passing score for “detail-orientedness” means that the person has behaved or answered the way we expect a detail-oriented person to.

During the development of each assessment, we implement redundant grading across multiple evaluators to ensure that the rubric produces consistent results. We also calibrate the graders scores against scores determined by an expert to ensure that we achieve accurate results.

Preserving Assessment Validity in Practice

Selecting a validated assessment is just one part of ensuring a fair and objective hiring process. Employers that want to employ pre-hire assessments are also advised to follow best practices to maintain the integrity of the test.

  • Hiring managers should review assessments before they are administered and double check that the test measures only what is applicable to their specific job.
  • We recommend that employers establish baselines of performance by having current employees in similar roles, including high- and low- performers, take the assessment as well.
  • ALL applicants that meet the minimum requirements for the job should be tested so that they can be fairly compared against one another. High scores on the assessment do not justify hiring one person over someone who has not had the opportunity to prove themselves in the same way. The reverse is also true—a poor score should not be used as justification for not hiring someone in favor of a candidate who has not completed the assessment.