Case 9.2 Testing for Honesty

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Psychological tests assess and evaluate information that you give to the examiner; you give this information either in the form of answers to interview questions or as answers on paper or on a computer to specific questions. Ultimately, a test’s accuracy depends on how carefully and seriously you answer the questions you’re asked. Employers have the right to perform physiological test to applicants, however, must be justified by a convincing interest. According to the case study these tests will generally identify an individual personal characteristic such as dishonest, emotional instability, regular drug use, tendency to steal, and even sympathy to unions. When it comes to Pre-employment screens, any test that is done in order to determine if a person is eligible for employment infringes employee privacy. Moreover, their accuracy and underlying assumption are open to question.

Case study says “if you are a particularly kind-hearted person who isn’t sufficiently punitive, you fail” (Shaw, (2010) p.374). Many psychologists do some level of assessment when providing services to clients and may use for example, simple checklists to assess some traits, but psychological assessment is a more complex, detailed, in-depth process. Let’s take casino as an example, if they are hiring for the positions where an employee would transfer money from one casino to the other. Obviously one would want to prescreen the applicants with psychological tests. Wouldn’t you want to know if the employee you are being hired is honest or not? Have tendency to steal or not? So these tests are necessary for jobs where sensitive information is easily accessible for the employees and constantly dealing with money.

I partially agree with the utilitarian approach because it is not appropriate to make psychological tests standard as pre-employment screens for every job out there. One can use this test for the job where there is much exposure to the sensitive information such as patient’s...
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