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Testing for Honesty

Testing for Honesty

Case 9.2: Testing for Honesty


  1. Describe how you’d feel if you had to take a psychological test or an honesty test either
    as an employee or as a precondition for employment. Under what conditions, if any,
    would you take such a test?
    Every human being has personal privacy that he or she would not like exposed to any other party
    (Muchinsky, 2012). The questions asked during honesty test or a psychological test tends to
    infringe on private information of an individual. Take for example a question like “Are you
    strongly attracted to members of the same sex?” This is a very private information that I feel
    should not be disclosed to any other person. After all, it is none of his business to know whether
    I am or not. I would obviously feel beleaguered but then because it is a precondition for
    employment, I would assume my feelings and take the test to answer the question for the sake of
    the job.
  2. How useful or informative do you think such tests are? Is their use of a reasonable
    business policy? Assuming that tests like those described are valid and reliable, are they
    fair? Explain.
    Honesty tests are very informative to the employer. There are some questions that would lead the
    employer to automatically detect whether his prospective employee is honest or dishonest with
    his answers. In a question like, “Do you always tell the truth?” the answer should be
    automatically “NO” because anybody who has attained the employment age has lied at any one
    given point in his lifetime. Should the respondent say yes, then the employer would be informed
    that he is likely to be a dishonest employee.
    There is a business policy that states that personal privacy should remain confidential and they
    should only reveal them if they feel free to do so. In an honesty test, the employees or the

prospective employees are compelled to answer questions regarding themselves, which under
normal circumstances they would not reveal to anyone, not even their confidant, but because it is
a matter of survival, employment for that matter, they are forced to take the tests and answer the
questions as they come. This, therefore, implies that there is no use of a reasonable business
The honesty tests described above are actually not fair. Even if they are valid and reliable, they
are more of nagging to the employees and any other person would not want to take the tests if
they had an alternative.

  1. Do you think tests like these invade privacy and, if so, is this invasion justified? Explain
    why or why not.
    Tests of this kind actually invade privacy and the invasion is justified. Inasmuch as the privacy
    of the prospective employees is invaded, the invasion is necessary because it is not only
    important but also safe for the employee to know the real character of the individual he is
    employing. It has been in the public domain that some employees end up with some characters
    that would sabotage the organization and send it crumbling. Such characters like theft can be
    detected in a person through the tests and therefore the tests are justified.
  2. What ideals, obligations, and effects must be considered in using psychological tests as
    pre- employment screens? In your view, which is the most important consideration?
    Previously, it was the person taking the honesty tests that felt nervous, riddled with angst or
    tensed (Shultz & Schultz, 2010). To this day, the employers administering the tests to the
    employers or the job seekers would also find themselves suffering from anxiety or feeling tensed
    too. This is because there have recently developed a number of obligations, ideals and effects

that have to be considered when administering psychological tests (Shultz & Schultz, 2010). The
legal hurdles and threats to employment testing have been quite significant. The employer have
to consider whether or not he is infringing the employees’ or the applicant’s’ civil rights (Shultz
& Schultz, 2010). He also has to take into consideration the psychological effect that the person
undertaking the test would have after the completion of the test.
The most important consideration in this case is the consideration whether civil rights are being
violated. It is a universal human rights requirement that everybody’s civil right is to be protected
and from violation and anybody who violates it should be subjected to legal justice. The
employer should try as much as possible to respect the civil rights of the employees or the job
seekers as much as possible.

  1. If you were an employer, would you require either employees or job applicants to pass an
    honesty exam? Explain the moral principles that support your position.
    I would require job applicants to or my employees to pass an honesty test. Any other employer
    would want to have honest employees to be certain that their organizations are safe from
    vandalism by dishonest workers (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012). As an employer, I would not
    expect anything less either. Even if not all the questions would enable the employer to identify
    honest workers, most of them will and, therefore, if they are passed, then the employer would be
    sure to have a very honest team that would deliver to the organization through honest means,
    thereby assuring the success of that organization.


Fancher, R. and Rutherford, A., (2012). Pioneers of psychology. New York, NY: W.W. Norton
& Company, Inc.
Muchinsky, P., (2012). Psychology applied to work. North Carolina: Hypergraphic Press.
Shultz, J. and Schultz, D., (2010). Psychology and work today. New York: Prentice Hall.

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