Job Hunt Haunted by SAT
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 01:09
Perfidious. Deleterious. Capacious. Miss these three common SAT vocabulary words as a senior in high school, and your score could drop 50 points. These days, it might also cost you your first job after graduation.
It has become a rising — and troubling — trend for employers to request the SAT scores of recent college graduates applying for jobs. The SAT is indeed an effective tool for sorting through college applicants, but it’s inappropriate to consider high school test scores when evaluating job candidates in their 20s. In a struggling economy, prospects for post-graduation employment are getting worse, and in this respect, so is the fairness of hiring.
In today’s competitive job market, employers are understandably searching for new ways to distinguish between applicants. But asking for SAT scores isn’t a reasonable way to do that. The SAT is designed to gauge high school students’ preparedness for college, but that’s much different than college students’ professional competence for entry-level positions. A successful college career should discredit bad SAT scores, not the other way around.
Furthermore, there is no conclusive evidence that SAT scores serve as an accurate indicator of intelligence or potential job performance. Employers in the financial sector who want to see quantitative skills should focus on the most recent examples of a candidate’s proficiency in that area, which demonstrate current ability in a more comparable environment to the prospective job. A standardized test taken four or more years ago says little about the skills a college graduate can bring to a position.
A disappointing SAT performance might be a lifelong sore spot, but it should not haunt a student’s financial future. Although the job hiring process may not be perfect, taking into account outdated and imprecise test results solves nothing. These employers should remember that they are hiring people, not test scores.