Dust off your SAT Scores–Companies Hiring Want Them!

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The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a number of companies, including elite banks and consulting firms are starting to ask job applicants for their SAT scores in addition to GPAs, extracurricular activities, and work experience. While the effort is aimed primarily at new college hires, some companies are asking for scores from candidates with 10 to 20 years experience under their belts.

Research indicates that SAT is limited to predicting a student’s early college performance, while some critics claim that the decision to use SAT scores as a factor in hiring is misguided.

“It’s a terrible idea. Even according to the test designers, this is supposed to predict, at best, grades in the first year of college,” says Joseph Soares, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University and author of SAT Wars. “This not supposed to be a test that captures how well you’re going to do in life.”

According to Glen Elert, who wrote The SAT: Aptitude or Demographics (http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/sat.shtml), “For 88% of the applicants, an SAT score will predict their grade rank no more accurately than a pair of dice.”

How’s that for an endorsement for using SATs to screen job applicants!

Here are a couple of questions that should be addressed by any organization considering the use of SAT scores in hiring candidates:

  • What about applicants who opted to attend a community college and didn’t require an SAT score for admission? Are they bypassed simply because they don’t have an SAT score?
  • What about applicants with 15-20 years of valuable experience and expertise–how does that factor weigh against an SAT score in the hiring decision?

While an SAT score may be good for determining a sense for general aptitude, it doesn’t do anything for evaluating ethics, emotional intelligence, executive leadership ability.

As I write in my upcoming book, The Art of the Unfair Advantage: Make Yourself the Hiring Manager’s Candidate of Choice for ANY Job in ANY Economy, hiring managers continue to rely more on their intuition and the personal chemistry that often develops between them and a candidate during interviews that can sway a hiring decision.

Companies need to remove administrators out of the hiring process and hiring decision. The one person best suited to know what expertise, experience, and skills are required for the position is the hiring manager.

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