The validity refers to how useful the tool is to measure a person’s attributes for a specific job opening. A tool may include any and all of the following:
- Résumé-scanning software
- Reference checks
- Cognitive ability tests
- Work samples
- Credit reports
- Biographical information blanks Weighted application forms
- Personality tests
- Interview questions
Biographical information blanks (BIBs) are a useful part of the application process. A BIB is a series of questions about a person’s history that may have shaped his or her behavior. The BIB can be scored in the same way as an interview or a résumé, assuming the organization knows which types of answers are predictable for success in a given job. Similarly, a weighted application form involves selecting an employee characteristic to be measured and then identifying which questions on the application predict the desired behavior. Then scores are assigned to each predictor. Of course, the development of the scoring should be determined before any résumés and application forms have been reviewed. In other words, any tool you use to determine someone’s qualifications for a job should have validity to determine they are the right fit for the job.
Reliability refers to the degree in which other selection techniques yield similar data over time. For example, if you ask the same interview question of every applicant for the project management position, and the “right” answer always yields similar, positive results, such as the hiring of a successful employee every time, the question would be considered reliable. An example of an unreliable test might occur with reference checks. Most candidates would not include a reference on their résumé who might give them a poor review, making this a less reliable method for determining skills and abilities of applicants.