The staffing process of firefighters involves spirited applicant assessment, especially because of the intricate nature of the services they are required to offer. This calls for a number of tests to be performed on aspiring candidates so as to establish their appropriateness for the job. In this paper, three types of job applicant tests will be discussed together with their legal and ethical impacts. The specific employment law and the adverse impact created by each test will also be discussed.
Cognitive ability test
This is the test that looks into the ability of the candidate to reason (Hunter & Hunter, 1984). Applicants who successfully pass the physical dexterity test are issued with this test. Use of number test, reasoning, figures and shapes, and long and short term memory are included in the criterion that is used to measure cognitive ability.
Legal and ethical issues
The cognitive ability test issued is uniform to all candidates. However, past studies have shown that there exist differences among individuals based on grounds such as sexes and racial groups. As such, a common test for the whole population may not produce reliable and consistent results that are in line with the state legislations regarding just employment opportunities, such as affirmative action and minority discrimination.
Improving cognitive ability test
Much room exists on how to improve on both the administration and analysis of cognitive ability tests. Different tests can be administered to different candidates based on their area of origin, sex and racial groups. Similarly, use of non-cognitive measures can be employed. These have the advantage of exhibiting a small or no differences at all by means of subgroups.
Motor and physical ability tests
This is a recruitment test modeled to assess the aspiring candidate’s physical and motor capacity in performing important tasks while in job. This will show the individual capacity to function as a firefighter. The candidates are placed in a chain that best simulates fire scene events while allowing an 85-foot walk between them. In this test, the candidates are required to wear heavy vest to imitate the weight of self-contained breathing machines and firefighter shielding cloths (Schmitt, Clause, & Pulakos, 1996).
Legal and ethical issues
The motor and physical ability test may contradict the legal requirements on grounds of being discriminative on persons with physical disabilities. However the nature of the responsibility that the candidate is expected to undertake for that matter as a firefighter automatically outdo the requirements of the law.
Improving the Physical and Motor tests
Motor and physical accuracy can be improved and accuracy of results ensured. This can be done by employing use of two stopwatches to time the physical test. One stopwatch can be used as the bureaucrat to assess time stopwatch and the second one used as the backup stopwatch. In addition, the current technologies especially those that improve accuracy of the data collected from the candidate’s performance can be used.
Personality and interests tests
These tests are a common pack when hiring fire fighters. This is because they help the employer to identify as well as gauge the uniqueness and traits in individuals that remain established over time. However, past studies have shown a big number of candidates who are hired after being taken through personality test deliberately manipulate their response in an attempt to appear better (Jensen, 1980).
Legal and ethical Issues
The bone of contention of personality test and law is the fact that the test may evoke asking of questions that may infringe the privacy of the candidate as stipulated by the privacy laws. This is brought about by the kind of questions asked to the candidates by the human resource management team. As such, questions that are too personal can be avoided to eliminate the risk of qualification as infringement on the candidate privacy rights.
Improving Personality and Interests tests
There is still a big space for improvement of tests assessing personality and interests. A good example can be improving personality predictor tests through incorporation of current approaches for conducting meta-analysis of the information.
Comparison of the Legal and ethical implications of the three Tests
Considering the essence of each of the discussed test that are used for measuring the suitability of a candidate to be recruited as a firefighter, no test would have major implication because the state of affairs and working environment of firefighters requires that candidates be thoroughly screened before being recruited into the forgiven jobs. As such, there is no strict adherence to the equal opportunity employment legislations when recruiting personnel to work as firefighters.
Impact of advancement in Technology in Job Applicant Suitability Tests
Technology has made the work of human resource department much quicker, safe and expedient. Organizations that get large number of applicants for vacant post may get the advantage of using technology to minimize the applicant numbers, maybe by use of e- screening of resumes.
The most appropriate job applicant assessment test for fire fighters would be the Motor and Physical test. It is better to have candidates who are physically fit instead of those having excellent cognitive ability. This is because of the physical involvement of their work.
The other tests however should not be disregarded. If anything, personality and interest tests need to be undertaken on candidates to ensure that the candidates can cope with the many possibilities of potentially emotionally destabilizing and disturbing situations as they serve as fire fighters. On the same note, cognitive ability of fire fighters needs to be assessed to ascertain their capacity to handle events and situations that call for critical reasoning.
Hunter, J. E. & Hunter, R. F. (1984). Validity and utility of alternate predictors of job performance. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 72-98.
Jensen, A. R. (1980). Bias in mental testing. New York, NY: Free Press.
Schmitt, N., Clause, C. S. & Pulakos, E. D. (1996). Subgroup differences associated with different measures of some common job-relevant constructs. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 11, 115-139.