posted 09-27-2007 07:51 PM
My only criticism is exactly what you allude to--who decides on the questions?
What is your opinion and why? How do you know what a given question / answer might predict?
I'll give you an example: I began a study on sex offenders for a thesis I was contemplating. (I soon got bored and shifted to something else, but that's another story.) I learned that the proportion of "normal" people and sex offenders who admit to fantasizing about sex with children is equal. Equal! I asked a couple psychologists, one with direct experience in the area, how that could be, and she gave me the simple answer I overlooked: offenders can't draw the line at fantasy - non-offenders can. One acts, the other doesn't.
Our pre-employment book (currently anyhow) requires us to ask if the candidate has ever fantasized about sex with children, or something along those lines. (I don't ask it. Instead, I ask the direct questions, but let's pretend I'm a conformist.) Somebody somewhere believes that question is a good one. (It is for offenders, I understand, but it tells us nothing about the non-offender population. It just encourages a lie, as you point out.)
My point is that the question's validity (or lack thereof) is based upon research, not divination on the part of the examiner, and not much has been done in every area we probe. We could do that (research) with every question. When do we know that an offense is "minor" or "major"? I asked for such guidance as a new examiner, but I later learned the chief must make a decision based on a totality of the information he receives about the candidate. For some, a "minor" offense will be forgiven; for others, it's the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
In other words, we can better educate ourselves, but in the end, the HR department must have some say in what we ask as they set the standards. Otherwise, we, the examiners set them.
Does this mean we should not be cognizant of the issue you raise? No, but as Jack pointed out, there are other options.