Why Pre-Employment Test Scores are Job Specific

How important are job specific cut scores? Very. A cut score is the lowest score a candidate can achieve on an assessment to receive further consideration in the hiring process.  Frequently, people assume that positions with similar titles or levels will require similar scores based on their location in the organizational hierarchy. However, this is not the case.

Consider a starting professional defensive lineman and a quarterback. Both are football players. Both are exceptional athletes. Both are on the starting line. They have gone through the same draft and necessary tryouts. They could even be on the same team. However, the necessary skills, abilities and personalities for each position are very different. What a team needs out of their quarterback is not the same as what they will need out of their defensive lineman. This is why setting a job specific cut score when you’re assessing potential employees is so important.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Every position within an organization requires a unique set of competencies, skills, and personality traits. Even though two positions may be at the same level within an organization, they often still require different skill sets and other characteristics to perform the job successfully. For example, you could be hiring a manager for sales and a manager for marketing. Both are managerial positions and some skills will overlap (i.e., ability to lead, communication, etc.). However, the type of individual who is going to be successful in a sales role is very different than one who will be successful in a marketing role.

Even if two positions do require a similar ability level, the ideal personality characteristics for those positions may be different. For example, a successful managing editor for a women’s health magazine will probably have a very different personality than an effective managing editor for a construction magazine. Their different personalities and interests are what make them effective in their positions. If you were to place one in the other’s shoes, they might not be successful. The more specific you are in setting the cut score to that specific job, the more you increase your chances of hiring someone who is the right fit for that job.

Understanding what you need from your employees before you hire them is key to ensuring overall success. 

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