When employers use SATs to screen job applicants

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Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:38 pm

As colleges look more toward an applicant's high school grades and other indicators than the SAT to determine who gets in, some employers cling to the test in making hiring decisions.

Shaila Dewan at the New York Times writes about how businesses use people's SAT scores: "The simplest answer is that the SAT, in what is still a seller's market for employers, is a handy screening device that helps them weed out candidates without too much effort."

He adds, "High scores can also be a matter of corporate culture: If the company you're applying to is full of brainiacs, chances are the recruiters are looking for scores above the 95th percentile. Companies say a lower score will never automatically disqualify a candidate, but that can be more true in policy than in practice."

Using SAT scores is also quicker for a company than having to develop its own test.

Alison Griswold at Business Insider tells the story of one person who uses SAT scores in evaluating potential hires: "Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon, is one of the most famous proponents of using SAT scores in hiring decisions. Bezos scored highly on a standardized IQ test when he was only 8 years old, and in his early days as a manager, he liked to ask candidates for their SAT results in interviews he conducted. He has said that 'hiring only the best and brightest was key to Amazon's success.’ ”

The Learning Network at the New York Times asked students if they thought employers should be able to review job applicants' SAT scores. Comments by students were overwhelmingly against the idea. For example, "Jane" writes: "Employers are hiring new professionals, not students. Why in the world would they need a SAT score? This is abusive and intrusive and I daresay, if an employer asked the response should be — this is not the place I want to work. Bye-bye."

"Jackie" writes: "A standardized test doesn't measure how well you can do your job. Let's say you have a fish, a bear, a dog, a cat, a cow and a squirrel. They will only pass a grade if they can climb a tree. It's not fair to everyone. This is basically what a standardized test is."

"Sarah" writes: "No they should not have to check your SAT scores at all. Because they are trying to make sure nobody gets a job and they don't have the right to do that."

One student, who perhaps did well on the SAT, agrees with the practice. "Kirsten" writes, quite simply, "Sure."

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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