Work Samples and Simulations (Employment Testing)

These tests typically focus on measuring specific job skills or job knowledge, but can also assess more general skills such as organizational skill, analytic skills, and interpersonal skills.  Work samples and simulations typically require performance of tasks that are the same or similar to those performed on the job to assess their level of skill or competence.  For example, work samples might involve installing a telephone line, creating a document in Word, or tuning an engine.  (For more information on this topic, see the article entitled, Work Samples and Simulations).

Advantages of Work Samples and Simulations

  1.  Have been demonstrated to produce valid inferences regarding the ability to perform the job.
  2.  Can reduce business costs by identifying individuals for hiring, promotion or training who possess the needed skills and abilities.
  3.  Are less likely to differ in results by gender and race than other types of tests (depends on particular skills being assessed).
  4.  Maybe more accepted by test takers due to the obvious link between the test and the job.
  5.  Less likely to be influenced by test taker attempts to impression manage or fake responses.
  6.  Can be used to provide specific developmental feedback.
  7.  Can provide test takers with a realistic preview of the job and the organization.

Disadvantages of Work Samples and Simulations

  1.  Does not assess aptitude to perform more complex tasks that may be encountered on the job.
  2.  May not assess the ability to learn new tasks quickly.
  3.  Often not conducive to group administration.
  4.  May require some level of job knowledge and therefore may be inappropriate for jobs where knowledge may be obtained via a short training period.
  5.  May be difficult to keep updated.
  6.  Maybe expensive to administer.
  7.  Maybe time-consuming to develop and to administer.

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