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    Nov 09, 2023    |   Camille Labrie

So, What is an Integrity Test?

Integrity Test Identifying Selecting Employees

3 minute read

Written by John Russell, I/O Psychologist

Many organizations have begun searching for tools to help with hiring and re-hiring employees in industries that have been affected by the pandemic. A topic that comes up often in these conversations is the use of integrity tests and how to effectively use them.

What is an Integrity Test?

An integrity assessment is a specific kind of psychometric instrument used in a selection context to identify a job candidate’s tendency to be honest and trustworthy. In other words, they are used to predict potential displays of counterproductive work behaviours. These counterproductive behaviours may include things like absenteeism, theft, deviance, impulsive behaviours, safety incidents, time-wasting, and cyber-loafing.

Overt vs Covert Items

Integrity assessments usually come in two categories: overt assessments, and personality-based assessments. Overt integrity assessments typically have questions that directly ask candidates about their honesty and any past deviant behaviour. These tools are fairly transparent in what they are measuring. Personality-based assessments tend to operate more covertly, and are designed to subtly measure traits related to counterproductive work behaviour. An example of a personality-based integrity assessment is our Employee Reliability Inventory.

The link between personality and integrity

Integrity is closely linked with the personality factors of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability, and these factors are great predictors of job performance and counterproductive work behaviours. In fact, when integrity testing is used in combination with cognitive ability tests, they provide more predictive power than any other type of measure, such as interviews, reference checks, and biodata.

Reducing turnover

The most common use for integrity assessments by organizations is for hiring entry-level and high-volume positions where reliability is a key requirement for employment and performance. Jobs where it is critical that the employee shows up consistently, is mature, safe, responsible, and can be trusted with organizational assets. Clients using assessments such as the Employee Reliability Inventory can be found in retail, manufacturing, hospitality, customer/technical support, security, construction, and transportation.


Why incorporate an integrity test into your hiring practice?

  • Easy administration and interpretation – They are usually short assessments, so there isn’t a large time commitment required for job candidates, and results can easily be interpreted by administrators.
  • High return on investment (ROI) – A cost-effective, easy to interpret assessment for your talent acquisition team to improve and speed up decision making. Here is a case study about a large US manufacturer using an integrity test to reduce employee turnover by 44%
  • Low adverse impact – Compared to other assessments integrity tests are typically less prone to differences in results by gender or race.
  • Less faking – Covert personality-based assessments are very difficult for job candidates to fake their way though.
  • Best predictors of performance – Integrity testing, in combination with cognitive ability assessments, have been shown to be one of the best predictors of future job performance.
  • Reducing employee turnover – Post implementation our clients have reported reducing first year employee turnover by up to 70% resulting in significant cost savings in recruitment and training.

As with most psychometric instruments, integrity tests should be used in conjunction with other predictors of job performance like work samples and structured interviews. When used in combination with these more traditional hiring systems they add a great deal of predictive power. Remember, when using any psychometric instrument, the most critical component is using the right tool for the job.

Filed under: Selection