We are a small business (6-9 People). We have recently had to fire an employee for serious integrity issues (taking commissions from suppliers). This seems to be a common problem in East Asia where we are based. In order to minimise hiring such candidates, we are look to incorporate at least some form of Integrity testing into our system. 

I was able to find this test online however I am not too sure if it would be financially feasible for us as a small company to be able to pay for these tests. I notice there are some other free tests online but I wonder if they would be effective? I would love to know your thoughts on the effectiveness of the online tests as well as other "non-tests" strategies that could be employed for integrity testing pre-employment as well as post-employment (Especially during the probation period).



mattpalmer's picture

I'd want to see pretty solid, statistically valid evidence of efficacy before I forked out big bucks for any sort of online assessment tool to judge anything as subtle as "integrity" or "honesty".  I'll wager they don't provide a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee (let alone any sort of actual insurance) if someone they say is honest turns around steals from you.  That alone should be enough to tell you how effective their test is.

To screen for honesty and integrity, frame some solid behavioural questions.  I'd be surprised if the Manager Tools Interview Creation Tool didn't have some relevant questions in there somewhere (I haven't seen them, but I've never hired for a financial role, so it's not to say they're not in there).

A question I'd ask might be, "I'd like you to think back to a time in the past where you've needed to exercise ethical judgment.  Tell me about the situation, and describe what you did."  Like all good behavioural interviewing, the value isn't really in what they first say to answer the question.  You get the real benefit when you start asking probing questions.  If something feels a bit "off" to you about their answer, dig in there.  Ask lots of "why" questions -- "why did you do that?" -- and "what else" questions -- "what other options did you consider?  Why did you reject those in favour of <whatever they did>?"

While you almost certainly won't manage to get a dishonest person to break down and admit their only intention in applying for the job was to embezzle from your firm, I believe that you should be able to get enough of a picture of a person's true character to at least be able to say, "something doesn't quite feel right about this person".  Since the point of interviewing is to find reasons to say "no", that bad feeling should be enough to knock someone out of the running, especially if they'll be in a situation of being able to effect significant malfeasance.